Digitalisation in European research

Digitalisation in European research and innovation programmes is part of a broad EU strategy to develop (Horizon Europe – R&I), deploy (Digital Europe – strategic capacities) and connect (Connecting Europe – Fibre/5 -6G/WIFI, etc.) technologies and processes across all scientific, technological, economic and societal fields. Currently, Switzerland only participates in the Horizon Europe framework programme as a non-associated third country (see below).


European digital strategy

Towards the end of the H2020 programme, Europe had adopted the Digital Single Market strategy in order to create digital opportunities for individuals and business and to strengthen Europe's position as a world leader in the digital economy.

This EU digital strategy continues in one of its main objectives: A Europe fit for the digital age (also included in the Horizon Europe programme) whose aim is to ensure that this transformation benefits citizens and companies, while helping the EU achieve its other goal of climate neutrality by 2050.

The Commission is determined to make the coming decade Europe's "digital decade". It must now strengthen its digital sovereignty and set standards instead of following those of others, with a clear focus on data, technology and infrastructure.

On 26 January 2022, the Commission presented a European Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles EN: European Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles for the Digital Decade (.pdf) which aims to give every citizen a clear picture of the digital transformation that the Union promotes and defends. The statement will also serve as a guide for policy makers and businesses in new technologies.

As a result, the digital world no longer concerns only specialists, but is incorporated into almost all aspects of research and life in general. In this sense, several policies are drafted by the Commission on the digitization of strategic areas such as:

Health and care: eHealth

Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity

Digital infrastructure: Connecting Europe Facility — CEF Digital

Artificial Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence

 Arts and humanities: DARIAH – Digital research infrastructure for the arts and humanities

Technology designed to improve the quality of life of the elderly: AAL – Aging well in a digital world

and all issues related to the storage and management of digital data: European Open Science Cloud; European data strategy


Horizon Europe - digital research and innovation 

The omnipresence of digital technology is also reflected in the ongoing European framework programme for research and innovation (Horizon Europe). Thus, several calls for proposals are open, not only in the specific digital programme: Cluster 4: Digital, Industry and Space, but also in several other Horizon Europe programmes such as Health, Security, Research Infrastructure, Transport, Energy, etc.

As we communicated before, the 2021 and 2022 Work Programme for Cluster 4 of Horizon Europe (Digital, Industry and Space work programme) has been published by the European Commission with the significant budgets planned for digitalisation throughout the framework programme and the underlying programmes: Funding for Digital in the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework

The themes (called destinations) and topics have been carefully chosen to support the European digital strategy such as:

Climate-neutral, circular, and digitised production (30 topics);

World-leading data and computing technologies (10 topics);

Digital and emerging technologies for competitiveness and fit for the green deal (38 topics);

Human-centred and ethical development of digital and industrial technologies (31 topics);

Open strategic autonomy in developing, deploying, and using global space-based infrastructures, services, applications, and data (31 topics);

Increased autonomy in key strategic value chains for resilient industry (44 topics).

Calls for proposals – Cluster 4: Digital (European Commission – Horizon Europe):

Digital – Cluster 4 (Euresearch)

Topic Preview Digital 2022

For the other Horizon Europe programmes that contain elements relating to digital (Health, Security, etc.) please refer to the specific work programmes: Horizon Europe - The Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness pillars

Calls in all Horizon Europe programmes:

Open calls for proposals - Horizon Europe (Euresearch)

Poster Euresearch Digital in Horizon Europe

HE Transversal Topic Preview Digital 2022


Digital Europe and other European research programmes

The Digital Europe programme is a new EU funding programme focused on delivering digital technologies to companies, citizens and public administrations.

The digital aspect is strongly present in several other European programmes such as:

Connecting Europe Facility - Digital

Creative Europe MEDIA



Recovery and Resilience Facility


Swiss participation, search for partners, events

Currently, Switzerland only participates in the Horizon Europe framework programme, with certain restrictions linked to its status as a non-associated third country: Status of Switzerland in Horizon Europe

In view of the above and if your research topic could have a link or take on another dimension with digitization, we invite you to browse the lists of open calls and if one of the themes suits you, prepare a project proposal or join a consortium already formed. The following link on the Commission's IT platform can help you find potential partners: Partner Search

The major events organized by the European Commission are published and updated regularly on the IDEAL-IST website.


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