The Dutch European Digital Innovation Hubs are a fact. At the Smart Industry Annual Event today, Minister of Economic Affairs Micky Adriaansens signed a cooperation agreement with five "hubs.
The establishment of the five hubs involves an investment of 30 million euros, provided by the European Commission, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate and a number of provinces. Over the next three years, about 3,500 companies and 200,000 people will be supported in applying new digital technologies.
Digitization is now the linchpin of business innovation strategy. The deployment of technologies such as AI, the Internet of Things, or 3D printing are increasingly the norm. While large companies are investing heavily in these, this is more difficult for Small and Medium Industry (SME) companies.
The European Union has therefore set up a European network to help companies discover and test digital technologies, gain digital skills and help them obtain funding to implement these technologies. The Netherlands has chosen to establish five of these "European Digital Innovation Hubs" (EDIHs). Through European cooperation, the best examples from Europe can serve as inspiration for Dutch companies, Dutch companies have easy access to unique knowledge from other countries and companies can profile themselves on a European stage.
Currently, similar support is provided through the so-called "Smart Industry Hubs. These five regional support hubs have therefore served as models for the five new Dutch EDIHs. The EDIHs will start working from the fourth quarter of 2022 to support companies in a wide range of economic sectors in the digital transformation of their business operations.
EDIH North Netherlands: focus on autome systems and sustainable economy
EDIH North Netherlands is centered on the four transitions that must be gone through to achieve a more sustainable economy. These are Smart Agro, Factory of the Future, Smart Health and Smart Utilities (energy, built environment and mobility). In addition, the Northern EDIH is putting additional effort into autonomous systems technology. For example, 20 northern innovation organizations have agreed to use the EDIH network to showcase themselves as a European testing ground for Autonomous Systems. Other components of the EDIH program include an entrepreneur desk, setting up demo sites, assisting companies in seeking funding for their digitization plans and additional education.
The plan for the northern EDIH was set up by the Investment and Development Company for the Northern Netherlands (NOM). About 40 organizations are involved in the launch of the northern EDIH, from employer organizations to educational institutions.
Additional information EDIHs by region
The Dutch EDIHs each have their own regional focus and expertise and make this expertise available throughout the Netherlands through each other's network. In the coming years, the Smart Industry program will continue to seek and further intensify cooperation with the EDIHs, allowing the knowledge and expertise from the regions to be shared on a national scale.
The regional focus of each EDIH is:
EDIH-NN profiles autonomous systems and focuses on Smart Agri, Factory of the Future, Life Science & Care and Built Environment, Utilities and Mobility.
EDIH-BOOST profiles robotics and sensor technology in cyber-physical systems and the application of AI and cybersecurity particularly in the manufacturing, agri-food and MedTech sectors.
EDIH-SNL profiles itself on digitization & data sharing in high-tech supply chains and relevant technologies such as AI, cybersecurity, digital twinning, and on AR/VR for highly complex, mixed applications in e.g. semiconductors, MedTech, agri-food, automotive and chemical industries.
EDIH-SMITZH profiles XXL-scale robotics, 3D printing, IoT and connectivity and cybersecurity within the manufacturing, port and maritime sectors and greenhouse horticulture.
EDIH-NWNL profiles AI and High Performance Computing (HPC) within all economic sectors.
Role of EDIHs in Smart Industry.
The EDIHs fulfill an important role within the new digitalization agenda 2022 -2026 of the Smart Industry program and in the coming years the cooperation will further intensify. Either in offering their own offerings directly, or coordinating and referring to activities carried out within field labs and by ambassadors and solution providers increasing the joint reach.
With the EDIHs, we are looking at adjacent sectors and what joint communication, examples and partners can be used to capture the imagination of entrepreneurs. Together with solution providers and OEMs, we are looking at how to set chains in motion. By forming clusters of companies, the aim is to allow companies to learn from and with each other.