An ambitious new initiative has been launched to boost Europe’s digital competitiveness

Written by Martin Banks on 13 October 2016 in News

€1bn “Strategic Innovation Agenda” will be spread over the next three years.

Willem Jonker, CEO of EIT Digital and Michał Boni MEP at the launch of  the Strategic Innovation Agenda | Photo Credit: EIT Digital

The strategy, which is 25 per cent funded by Horizon 2020 and 75 per cent funded by EIT Digital’s industry partner organisations including Bosch, Airbus and Huawei.

The money will go towards a series of incubation programmes designed to stimulate digital start-ups in Europe’s five strongest digital areas: digital cities, digital infrastructure, digital industry, digital finance and digital wellbeing.

Part of the investment will also go towards supporting digital skills, through EIT Digital master programmes geared to prepare Europe for the jobs of the future and creating a workforce "capable of sustaining the growth of a digital European economy."


The strategy was launched by Michał Boni MEP a former Polish minister for digitalisation.

Aims of the ambitious three year strategic plan include the creation of 200 innovative products and services in addition to the 100 already created so far; and the enrolment of 3,500 students in MSc and PhD programmes and 100,000 in online programmes.

Willem Jonker, CEO of EIT Digital, which is based in Brussels said part of the investment will also go towards supporting digital skills, through EIT Digital master programmes geared at “preparing Europe for the jobs of the future and creating a workforce, capable of sustaining the growth of a digital European economy.”

He said, “This will drive digital innovation and entrepreneurial talent needed to secure Europe’s digital transformation.”

Jonker said the Strategic Innovation Agenda 2017-19 consists of two main pillars of activities: generating significant innovations from top European research results and developing European human capital by sourcing and training entrepreneurial digital talents.

“Europe’s digital transformation could boost GDP by €2.5 trillion over the next decade and EIT Digital is at the forefront of this transformation,” he said.

Since the launch of its operations in 2010, EIT Digital innovation and education activities have successfully driven Europe’s Digital transformation creating a total of nine new companies and launching 50 products commercially in 2016.

Over 200 start-ups have been coached by the EIT Digital Accelerator and more than €77 million in capital has been raised for EIT Digital start-ups.

EIT Digital has a network of 130 educational and industrial partners with 19 of 20 added in 2016 industrial partners.

Speaking on Wednesday, Jonker said, “These figures are impressive and without them Europe’s digital industry would not be as strong as it is today. The years to date were time for EIT Digital to establish operations and infrastructure."

He added, "I would like to thank all our partners, students and employees for making this happen.

"Now we have a solid ground for executing our next three years’ Strategic Innovation Agenda and raise our operations into a totally new level as can be seen in our ambitious targets set for 2017-2019.”

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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