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Specialised education programmes in key capacity areas - Advanced digital skills analysis


21 maart 2024





Link naar deze call

Expected Outcome and Deliverables:

Consortiums of higher education institutions, vocational education and training institutions, research organisations and businesses delivering advanced digital technology programmes and multi-disciplinary courses for users of advanced digital technologies. At least, supported to equip, 2 fully interoperable higher education institutions per consortium, e.g., transnational (virtual) campuses, shared equipment and libraries of learning content, automatic recognition of ECTS for students. At least 500 students supported with scholarships or other financial support measures. As a separate deliverable this action entails a coordinated and support action which will provide an analysis of skills need in key digital areas and continue to support the networking among the organisations part of the digital consortia, building a brand of excellence.


This action aims at contributing to the target of 20 million ICT specialists in the economy by 2030, as set in the Digital Decade Policy Programme. Gains from major EU investment cannot materialise if there are not enough people to develop, deploy and use digital technologies and applications. Evidence from the Structured Dialogue on digital education and skills with Member States shows that, while a number of activities are in place to equip people with general digital skills, only few Member States devote attention to the challenges related to advanced digital skills and ICT specialists. Even in Member States that are digital frontrunners, there is a persistent shortage of people able to develop and deploy key digital technologies. For example, over 70% of enterprises looking for ICT specialists in the Netherlands, Finland and Luxembourg found it extremely difficult to recruit them69. There also is a significant increase in the demand for professionals combining sectoral knowledge with digital skills enabling the use of digital solutions for specific business cases. This is for example the case of employees in the manufacturing sector able to use automated reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) tools to repair engines remotely, software developers and engineers with specific automotive expertise, or professionals in green transition industries who are increasingly relying on advanced digital technologies in the development of renewable energy or clean and smart mobility solutions. These profiles can be referred to as users of advanced digital technologies and they are crucial to enable the digitalisation of traditional industries from agriculture and finance to manufacturing, automotive and medicine. Looking at the related education offer, the 2022 JRC report shows that the offer of specialised education programme in AI, cybersecurity, HPC and data science has slightly improved in the EU 27, in particular in AI, where the number of Master’s has increased by 20% compared to the previous year. However, it remains lower than in the US. For cybersecurity the UK alone continue to offer as many programmes as the whole EU 2770 . The actions in the skills pillar aims at tackling this challenge, while triggering a new way of delivering these courses, building partnerships between academia, businesses and research across the EU.


The first calls for Master’s in the Digital Europe programme have supported the development of excellent consortia delivering education programmes and multi-disciplinary courses in some of the key digital technologies addressed by the Digital Europe programme, mainly AI and cybersecurity71 . They also provided inter-disciplinary opportunities and equipped with advanced digital skills professionals in sectors such as health, agriculture or business. The call in 2023 will build on the experience of the first WP72. It will address the latest initiatives to support the development and deployment of key digital skills and capacities in digital technology areas, such as AI, Internet of Things, as other trans- or multi-disciplinary areas, and their applications in strategic sectors (e.g. automotive industry). Projects financed under this action are encouraged to build synergies with actions on technology deployment supported by other pillars of the programme. This new call will also strengthen synergies with Erasmus+, European Universities Alliances, and with the Deep Tech Talent Initiative, as well as the Large Scale Partnerships under the Pact for Skills. It will boost investment into related digital solutions, equipment and infrastructure, with a special focus on interoperability of ICT systems in higher education to facilitate a seamless joint delivery of opportunities and the attraction of talent (both students and teaching staff). As for previous calls, the chosen projects should design and deliver a tertiary degree education programme(s) (at ISCED LEVEL 6, 7 or equivalent – hereafter education programmes), in digital areas such as AI, data science, cybersecurity and augmented and virtual reality. Higher education institutions in consortia with relevant competence and excellence centres and industry will receive funding to set up and strengthen excellent programmes and courses. Partners in these consortia will be encouraged to share expertise, facilities, staff and learning materials. Inter-sectorial mobility between Higher Education Institutions and the private sector is also encouraged.


Digital Europe is het nieuwe EU-programma dat gericht is op de opbouw van de strategische digitale capaciteiten van de EU en de bevordering van een grootschalige inzet van digitale technologieën. Het programma heeft als doel om de digitale transformatie van de economie, het bedrijfsleven en de samenleving in de EU te ondersteunen en te versnellen.

Het programma investeert in vijf onderdelen: 

Het doel van Digital Europe is ervoor te zorgen dat onderzoeksresultaten op het gebied van digitale technologieën daadwerkelijk worden omgezet in verkoopbare producten. Er wordt speciale aandacht besteed aan het MKB, maar ook overheden worden aangesproken op specifieke onderwerpen. Het programma richt Europese Digital Innovation Hubs op, die overheden en bedrijven kunnen helpen beter om te gaan met digitale uitdagingen en in contact te komen met bedrijven die digitale oplossingen bieden. In Nederland is de DSIH (Dutch Societal Innovation Hub) specifiek gericht op overheden.

Voor individuele projecten die onder de eerste en derde doelstelling vallen, is geen directe financiering beschikbaar. De EU-gerelateerde entiteiten die gespecialiseerd zijn in high-performance computing en cyberbeveiliging zullen acties rond deze thema’s uitvoeren.


In sommige gevallen is Europese samenwerking nodig om in aanmerking te komen voor subsidie.

Het programma is voor mkb’ers, bedrijven, kennisinstellingen en overheidsorganisaties die:


50% – Simple Grants

75% – SMEs support action

100% – Coordination and support actions

Info & Aanvraag

Aanvraagprocedure gaat via de EU-portal Funding & Tender Opportunities.

Website: Digitaal Europa