Europes digital sector

Europe´s digital sector

Europes digital sector

The Commission’s digital single market plan promises to transform Europes digital sector. One of their pet projects is to “digitize” the traditional industry in a global fight to lead the knowledge economy and keep jobs in Europe.

The Commission says its Digital Single Market strategy could contribute up to €415 billion per year to Europe’s economy. So far, it has invested €6.8 billion in smart manufacturing and digital industry projects. It poured €4.4 billion into innovation projects under the earlier FP7 funding scheme, which ran from 2007 to 2013 and was hoped to boost Europe’s research and development. The Commission’s latest scheme to pioneer new technologies, Horizon 2020, invested €2.4 billion in a smarter industry in Europe.

Here’s a guide to where EU euros go and who benefits:

EU’s flagship initiatives

Factories of the Future
The Commission teamed up with industry giants like Siemens, Bosch, Airbus or Fraunhofer help promote the invention of new technologies to make factories more sustainable and competitive.

  • Money: Projects have received a combined total of €1.27 billion from the EU’s FP7 and Horizon 2020 funding so far.
  • Top project: The European Robotics Challenge, worth €22 million (including €16.5 million from the Commission itself), will have the best EU engineers compete again one another to create the best new tools for factories. The winner will be announced at the end of 2017.


The ICT Innovation for Manufacturing Small and Medium-sized Enterprises fund is aimed to help SMEs over the hump when it comes to adopting technologies.

  • Money: Nearly €110 million in EU funding went into projects linked to I4MS.
  • Eyecatcher: Tagging kegs. That’s what Hobsons Brewery is doing with money from the Commission, thanks to the CloudSME project that got €4.5 million in funding. The brewer worked with researchers to optimize its production system to ensure that its beer is consumed at the optimal moment.

Smart Anything Everywhere

The SAE initiative sets up research and development hubs spread across — mostly central and western — Europe where SMEs can meet through events, set up projects and use the hubs’ expertise and equipment to test technologies.

  • Money: €32 million was distributed to grant-winning projects so far.
  • Eyecatcher: The SAE scheme is investing in making smart street lights to help municipalities manage maintenance and help manufacturers see the light.