skip to main content
European Commission logo
en English

EU countries

The turning point: digital innovation in education and training

The European Research and Innovation Days 2021 take place this week on 23 and 24 June. Since COVID19 struck more than a year ago, innovation and access to digital tools for education and training have become important priorities across Europe and offered new opportunities for the EdTech sector.

 
Cyprus’ broadband voucher scheme connects 3000 households

“In our journey to digital maturity, affordable high-speed broadband is key for a dynamic digital economy and an accessible and inclusive digital society” states Stelios Himonas of Cyprus’ Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy. Only 2.7% of households in Cyprus, however, have fixed connections above 100 Mbps. In this video, Mr Himonas explains how Cyprus implemented a ‘good practice’ voucher scheme, inspired by the European Broadband Competence Offices Network. By reducing the cost of access for end users, the scheme successfully stimulated take-up by around 3,000 households.

 
Achieving agricultural sustainability through the Farm Advisory System and rural digitalisation

The Farm Advisory System makes innovative knowledge and practices accessible to all farmers. “We are facing a major transformation of the agricultural sector that requires a shift towards more environmentally-friendly practices without undermining economic sustainability” explains Tassos Haniotis, Director of Strategy, Simplification and Policy Analysis in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development. Digitalisation and rural broadband are crucial, enhancing knowledge exchange and creating multiplier effects, such as new jobs and services in rural areas.

 
Spain’s nation-wide State aid scheme to connect 430,000 people in grey areas

“Spain is the first European country to develop a broadband scheme for grey areas with a geographical scope covering all the nation” states Elena Galindo from Spain’s Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda, in this video. Ms Galindo, representing Spain’s national Broadband Competence Office, explains that the scheme is needed as approximately “8-10% of the population living in isolated rural and remote areas could not be covered with fast broadband”. It aims to cover 3.5 million people, of which 430,000 in grey areas, with minimum speeds of 300 Mbps symmetrical, upgradeable to 1 Gbps.

 
Rural connectivity for the health and management of beehives

In rural Latvia, an EU-funded start-up is using digital connectivity to promote healthy bee colonies and modern hive management. Thanks to €15,000 in LEADER funding covering two thirds of the total budget, Jānis Kronbergs developed the BeeKing app, which aims to help beekeepers – and especially newcomers – to learn from others, implement best practices and become more efficient. In this video, he explains the tool as well as its motivation, saying that “bees are very important for our nature, for pollination and biodiversity” and digital technologies can help beekeepers stay competitive.

 
Call for proposals on Alliances for Innovation 2021 is open

Alliances for Innovation aim to strengthen Europe’s innovation capacity by boosting innovation through cooperation and flow of knowledge among higher education, vocational education and training, and the broader socio-economic environment, including research. To boost innovation, the focus will be on digital skills, including in the Health sector.

 
Malta joins the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking

Malta becomes the 33rd member of the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking, rejoining the other 26 Member States and 6 Associated Countries in this strategic initiative, which is pooling EU and national resources to build world-class high performance computing (HPC, also known as supercomputing) and data infrastructures in Europe. Supercomputing is one of the essential pillars of the Digital Decade, the Commission's vision for the digital transformation of Europe by 2030, and an indispensable strategic capability for achieving EU digital sovereignty. Europe’s ambition is to become a world leader in high-performance computing and in quantum computing, the next technological frontier, in the coming years.

 
Europe Day 2021 goes Virtual

Join in and discover this year's virtual Europe Day: explore a virtual Berlaymont, find out about the work of other Institutions, Services, and Directorates-General, and and see what’s going on around Europe to mark #EuropeDay celebrations.

 
Guifi.net: Catalonian citizens’ broadband initiative reaches 100,000 rural inhabitants

As part of the Catalonian citizens’ initiative, Guifi.net, volunteers have helped install over 40,000 nodes, connecting 100,000 rural inhabitants. In this video, Ramon Roca, Guifi.net founder, explains how, since its foundation, the project has driven demand as well as rural development, becoming both a “local ecosystem” and a business model, and growing increasingly affordable as it expands. Driven by volunteers, Guifi.net focuses on building the infrastructure and cooperation between public administrations, local entrepreneurs and ISPs, among others.

 
Calais: The Netherlands’ first CEBF-funded broadband project

Calais is the first Dutch broadband project funded by the Connecting Europe Broadband Fund (CEBF). The province of Groningen approached CEBF when they recognised their need for additional funding as well as a more strategic partner to reach the most remote areas. The resulting partnership will bring NGA access to over 100,000 inhabitants, combining fibre with a fixed wireless network for the hardest-to-reach areas. In this video, Jan Peter de Groot, Rodin Group CEO, explains that the pandemic made it very clear that people in all areas need to be able to “connect with the whole world”.

 
EU countries celebrate first European Girls and Women in ICT day

The first annual European Girls and Women in ICT day takes place on 22 April 2021, as a part of the commitment EU countries made in the Ministerial Declaration on Women in Digital of 9 April, 2019. In this first edition, several member states have organised online events to showcase the opportunities and challenges for girls and women to study technology, enter and stay in the job market of the digital sector, despite a difficult year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 
Vega: launch of the first world-class supercomputer in the EU

The European Commission together with the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking and the Government of Slovenia have inaugurated the operation of the Vega Supercomputer at a high-level ceremony in Maribor, Slovenia on Monday. This marks the launch of a first EU supercomputer procured jointly with EU and Member State funds, with a joint investment of €17.2 million.

 
Open market consultation: detection of unauthorized mobile devices in correctional facilities

The Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security invites potentially interested bidders to participate in the open market consultation for its procurement to buy innovative solutions for the detection of unauthorized mobile devices. Aim is to immediately detect any form of mobile calling (3G, 4G and 5G) in custodial facilities such as cells or recreation areas, in idle mode or when it is turned on or called with it. Deadline to reply to questionnaire: 12 May 2021. Dialogue meetings: 20-28 May 2021.

 
Final report available - Benchmarking of innovation procurement investments and policy frameworks across Europe

Want to know how much the public sector in your country invests in adopting innovations and in which sectors they invest most (health, ICT..)? Keen to find out if your country has an action plan, target, financial incentives and a competence center for innovation procurement? Check out the results of the EU wide benchmarking of national policy frameworks and investments on innovation procurement across Europe. Now available: Final report, executive summary, country profiles of all 30 benchmarked countries as well as presentations and video of the final workshop that presented the results.

 
Call for tenders open: Spanish national cybersecurity institute launches pre-commercial procurement

The Institute for Business Competitiveness and the Spanish national cybersecurity competence center (INCIBE) invite interested bidders to submit offers for their first pre-commercial procurement in the cybersecurity field. The aim is to develop tools that can discover and eliminate websites or domains where hidden illegal activities happen, not only on the regular Internet but also on the Deep Web. The procurement receives funding from the European Union's European Regional Development Fund. Check out the video presentation of the tender scope. Deadline for submission of offers: 14 May 2021

 
Coronavirus: First EU disinfection robots arrive in hospitals

Today two Slovenian hospitals received two of the first robots purchased by the Commission to disinfect patient rooms, thus helping reduce and contain the spread of coronavirus. A further 29 disinfection robots are deployed to hospitals in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. These robots can disinfect a standard size patient room in as quickly as 10 minutes by using ultraviolet light and disinfect over 18 rooms in one charge.