At the end of January 2021, the EDIH Conference (European Digital Innovation Hubs) was held online. South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency (hereinafter STRIA) also participated in the plenary sessions of the event, which can provide guidelines for the implementation of the Regions 4Food Interreg Europe project, in which STRIA participates as a partner.
The event was opened with a welcome video by Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, followed by a greeting from European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton. The first meeting closed with a speech by Francesca Bria entitled “Cooperation between science, technology and the arts in promoting digital innovation”.
In the plenary session, the invited speakers touched on various topics. Firstly, Mario Grotz (Director General for Research, Intellectual Property and New Technologies of the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy), Sebastiano Toffaletti (Head at the Brussels secretariat of the European DIGITAL SME Alliance), Bianca Muntean (Manager of the Transilvania IT Cluster), prof. Dr. Kristina Simenus (Hessian’s first Minister for Digital Strategy and Development) and Anne-Marie Sassen (Head of Unit, DG Connect) spoke about state aid through European digital innovation centers, which provide SMEs with the innovative framework they need to digitize. These public investments take into account national and European funding, such as the Digital Europe program and cohesion policy. The meeting discussed the expected services and the number of SMEs to be reached with basic digital services such as awareness raising and more advanced innovation services.
The aim of the second presentation was to inspire participants in the European network of cooperating EDIHs and to activate them to link their regional activities to strengthen Europe. Maurits Butter (Senior Researcher in Dutch Industrial Innovation Policy), Giovanna Galasso (Director of PWC), Pierre-Damien Berger (European Director of MinaSmart-EDIH) and Andreas Ocklenburg (CEO of cloudSME) spoke at this meeting. EDIHs are key in building European cooperation, which is critical to ensuring the optimal use of advanced digital technologies. This European cooperation encourages the use of regional strengths for Europe. But this cooperation is not easy to achieve. The role of EDIHs in setting up a network of regional cooperation units in support of digital transformation and European cooperation was discussed.
In the rest of the two-day event, the areas of digital innovation were touched upon through various working groups.
The Regions 4Food project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Hungary.