ERNACT network secures European Digital Innovation Hub

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ERNACT regions responding to Digitizing European industry challenge
10 January 2018 - DIGITAL REGIONS  project
Scenes from the "Last Jedi" were filmed on Europe's Atlantic in Co Donegal, Ireland
The ERNACT network of regions is rapidly adapting to the call from the European Commission for Europe's regions and cities to contribute to a pan-European network of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs). In recent months, ERNACT has begun to apply its digital skills to creating new digital hub proposals, developing alliances and connections with European-level hubs and competence centres.

"Already it is beginning to show tangible results," says General Manager, Colm Mc Colgan. "ERNACT played a key role in successfully pitching a proposal to the Irish government to develop a Digital innovation Hub in Donegal (Ireland) on Europe's North Atlantic coast. This will connect into the EUs initiative to develop a pan-European network of hubs with investment of upto €500 million over the next five years through Horizon 2020".

"It demonstrates a new approach to stimulate innovation in Atlantic and Northern Periphery areas that create new high-value jobs through combining the unique characteristics, culture and creativity of an area's people and the global demand for technology skills".

Following the lead of the EUs Digitizing European Industry (DEI) Working Groups, ERNACT is currently working with a number of central and peripheral areas on a new proposal to connect hubs across European regions and cities. The idea is to make the unique specialist services of a particular hub or competence centre available to enterprises in other regions via a secondary local hub.

Digital Innovation Hubs - EU Concept
Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) are one-stop-shops that help companies to become more competitive with regard to their business/production processes, products or services using digital technologies. They are based upon technology infrastructure (competence centres) and provide access to the latest knowledge, expertise and technology to support their customers with piloting, testing and experimenting with digital innovations.

DIHs also provide business and financing support to implement these innovations across the value chain. As proximity is considered crucial, they act as a first regional point of contact, a doorway, and strengthen the innovation ecosystem. A DIH is a regional multi-partner cooperation (including organisations like RTOs, universities, industry associations, chambers of commerce, incubator/accelerators, regional development agencies and even governments) and can also have strong linkages with service providers outside of their region supporting companies with access to their services.

The rationale behind this initiative is to help European Industry, small or large, high-tech or not, to grasp the digital opportunities. The Commission will focus 500M€ over the next 5 years from Horizon 2020 budget to support the development of DIHs. It is the Commission's ambition that all companies should have a DIH within their region, through which they should be able to access competences in order to digitise their organisations and their products and services. Furthermore, the services provision by existing Hubs can be strengthened by the establishment of a pan-European network of DIHs.

Click here to email  Eilis Mc Fadden at ERNACT for further information

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