The EU-wide Network of European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH)
To recover from the economic and social effects of the COVID-19 crisis and to meet our sustainable development goals, Europe must undergo a green and digital transformation, the so-called “twin transition”. Today, nearly 40% of businesses in the EU do not even have a basic level of digitalisation and adoption of advanced digital technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, is also only around 25%, though it is growing.
Businesses in rural and agricultural areas are some of these least digitalised, but the ones which have most to gain from digitalisation. Indeed, digital technologies have the potential to revolutionise agriculture by helping farmers to work more precisely, efficiently and sustainably.
To support this transition, as part of its Digital Compass, the Commission has set a number of goals to be achieved by 2030. For businesses, they include reaching at least 90% of SMEs with at least a basic level of digital intensity and 75% of businesses adopting advanced digital technologies. Furthermore, the new Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL) will provide EUR 7.5 bn to support the adoption of advanced digital technologies in Europe and at least 20% of the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), around EUR 136 bn, has been earmarked for digital investments.
Under the Horizon2020 programme, the Commission has been supporting the development of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) in Europe, including those specialised in the area of agro-food such as the SmartAgriHubs project. DIHs are an important tool to support the digitalisation of companies, especially SMEs, providing technical expertise, opportunities to “test before invest”, financing advice, training and more. These services are crucial to SMEs and businesses in rural areas.