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Summary of Webinar on Collaboration between EDIHs

Active and fruitful collaboration between European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH) will be a key element in the network of EDIHs.On 13 April 2021, an on-line webinar discussed the various options for collaboration between EDIHs in the different contexts, and how the collaboration activities should be mentioned in the text of the proposals. Examples of different forms of collaborations were presented. 600+ participants attended the on-line event.

European Digital Innovation Hubs will be part of a broad network, and collaborations will naturally be developed over time to better support SME and public sector by tapping into the experience and know-how of other hubs. Several EDIHs can work together in structured manner, e.g. around a sector, a technology, demographical characteristics (sparsely populated regions), and for instance develop common services together which they will each provide to their own customers. This is sometimes referred to as “corridors”. There will be also forms of ad-hoc collaboration, based on match-making to offer the best support to stakeholders. Many other forms of collaboration are possible. The Digital Transformation Accelerator should support EDIHs with their collaboration among them by organising the right type of events and making the right information available to all the hubs. At proposal stage each EDIH is requested to provide initial plans on collaboration.

The structured collaboration in the network of EDIHs will also be compared to the situation of cross-border trans-national hubs, serving neighbouring regions in different countries tackling common challenges identified in the border regions and to exploit the untapped growth potential in border areas. In this case, the beneficiaries present one proposal, which will be co-funded by the countries involved. In the case of structural collaboration, all the EDIHs involved will present their own individual proposal, supported by their country

Agenda with linked presentations

10:00 – Sandro D’Elia – Introduction to Collaboration in the EDIH network

10:10 – Anne-Marie Sassen – How to include collaboration in your proposal

10:30 – Maurits Butter – Collaboration corridors explained

10:45 – 3 Practical examples of collaboration:

  • Presentation from a Hub in Luxembourg – Arnaud Lambert - Practical experience about collaboration at regional level, based on the principle of proximity.
  • Latvian DIH – Aiga Irmeja – Collaboration experience in their IT Cluster in Latvia, focusing on the different actions at different maturity levels and the need to build long-term trusted relationships.
  • IoTize project – Steve Gussenhoven / Alain Maillard - Example of an SME that benefited from the collaboration between a local hub and another hub in the network to complement their expertise.

11:15 – Sandro D’Elia – the role of the Digital Transformation Accelerator and the EDIH catalogue

11:25 – Question and answer session

11:50 – Conclusions and useful links - Anne-Marie Sassen

Recording of the Webinar

Summary of the main themes discussed during the webinar

Examples of different forms of collaborations were presented.

The exchange of best practices between EDIHs can evolve into a structured collaboration.

It is expected that the type of collaboration will change over time.

Draft timeline: call opening 27 May, deadline for submission 29 September, evaluation in October/November, outcome of the evaluation in December and signature of contracts early in 2022.

Almost all the Member States have finalised the pre-selection of the EDIHs candidates (at national level).

The EDIHs can update their own profile in the JRC Catalogue

The draft Proposal template was presented and is available for download. It includes a table to describe the planned collaborations with others EDIHs.

EDIHs needs to be based on specialization (key principle), which has to be described in the proposal.

The EC expects roughly this volume of activities for collaborations between EDIHs (on average)

  • Train the trainer events – 20 to 40 events (4h each) per year
  • Sharing of best practices – 2 to 4 times a year
  • Annual EDIH event – once a year, two-day event, combination of online and physical event
  • One-off collaborations – around 5 to 20% of your capacity

These numbers are just rough guidelines and must be adapted to the specificities of each EDIH, each region, each Member State. There is no one-size-fits-all.

Lessons learned from the Bowi H2020 project with possible activities that EDIHs could do together in the context of collaboration are attached here.

Discussion on the role of the DTA as service provider for hubs and central node of the network.

Presentation of EU survey to collect data on potential collaborations.  Participants are encouraged to send feedback by email. 

List of main topics addressed during the Question and Answer session:

  • Letter of intent on collaboration could be useful but the experts (in the evaluation) will judge the proposal as a whole, on the three evaluation criteria, so you do not get automatically more points in the evaluation if you have more letters of intent.
  • National collaborations are very valuable, however the EDIHs need to be open at European level as well.
  • Regions that do not have an EDIH – all the regions should be covered, possibly by a hub in a neighbouring region but within working distance. Should be in line with the national strategy of the MS.
  • Difference between DIH and EDIH. The EC expect that some DIHs will become EDIHs, but the EDIHs are only those ones that passed the EU evaluation in Digital Europe Programme.
  • Connection with EDIHs with the other part of the DIGITAL Programme – active collaboration on certain topics. Work on the principles: the EDIHs will be able to participate in the train the trainer projects and then transfer the knowledge to the local stakeholders.
  • Networking activities – EDIH and EEN should work together and provide a seamless service. There should be no double funding and no replication of the same work by the two organisations.
  • Specialisation is very important – matrix sectors / technologies.
  • Collaboration beyond MS and third countries – collaboration is possible, but the DIGITAL programme cannot support SMEs outside Europe.
  • It is certainly allowed to broker between technology companies and public administrations. Although public administrations are bound to public procurement rules, there is the possibility of market dialogues inviting local companies, organisation of hackathons, pre-commercial procurement etc. to prepare companies and the public administration in view of the procurement of a specific solution.

More information on EDIH.