EU's Digital Europe Programme eyes major funding boost for AI, cyber security innovation

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The European Commission has unveiled €762.7 million in funding for digital solutions including cyber security and artificial intelligence as part of its Digital Europe Programme.

The Digital Europe Programme is aimed at bolstering Europe's technological sovereignty and bringing digital solutions to market for citizens, public administrations, and businesses, while contributing to the objectives of the European Green Deal.

€7.5 billion will be invested through the scheme over the next seven years, according to EU lawmakers.

"The Digital Europe Programme is key for pooling EU and national funding to achieve ambitious digital projects that no member state can do alone," said executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager.

"It is crucial that Europe continues to support our digital decade targets with enhanced focus on digital skills, excellence in artificial intelligence, and cyber security."

Under the new budget for 2024, nearly €549 million will go to projects that use digital technologies such as supercomputers, data, AI, cloud, cyber security, and advanced digital skills.

This will include support for various country projects, aimed at developing European common data infrastructure and services, next-generation low-power trusted processors, and the pan-European deployment of 5G corridors.

The money also covers acquiring supercomputers and quantum computers, connected with the European high performance computing (EuroHPC), along with developing and deploying an ultra-secure quantum and space-based communication infrastructure and deploying a network of security operations centers.

As part of this package, there will also be new support for the implementation of the EU AI Act and the development of a European AI ecosystem, including funding for small and medium businesses (SMBs).

In addition, the 2024 program will introduce new seed funding for a pilot aimed at demonstrating seamless integration and interoperability of Industrial IoT Edge with Telco Edge developments, the establishment of a 3D Competence Centre for the Cultural Heritage sector, and the provision of quantum-based metabolic MRI sensors for cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The second financial package, €214 million, goes to cyber security, with the aim of enhancing the EU's collective resilience against cyber threats.


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This funding will support pan-European cyber threat detection and sharing, implementation of cyber security EU legislation, emergency preparedness for cyber attacks and mutual assistance, and support for existing and new national coordination centers.

Work on this front will be carried out by the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre, with National Coordination Centres acting as the point of contact between member states and stakeholders.

"The Digital Europe Programme drives Europe's leadership and sovereignty in digital technologies. It will build on the recent agreement on the EU AI Act and boost the development of a thriving European AI start-up ecosystem," said commissioner Thierry Breton.

"It will also allow us to jointly scale up our capabilities in cloud, data and cyber security, including necessary digital skills."

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.