I S S U E S E V E N
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA Lwww.horizon2020projects.com
D I G I TA L E C O N O M Y
With digitalisation helping to reduce the number of
people in work, to what extent is it the responsibility of
EIT Digital to create jobs?
Technology has destroyed as well as created many jobs. A key driver
should much more be to create economic value. There are many tasks
in society and nowadays they are packaged in a fairly traditional job
model. Technological innovation is not always aligned with this job model.
This is why we need technical innovation to go hand in hand with social
innovation. The nature of disruptive innovation is that it disrupts existing
business models and as a result has social consequences. When these
social consequences are not properly addressed, the result will be
resistance against the innovation. A shift of focus from job creation to
value creation will ease innovation under the condition that the created
value in one way or another flows back into society.
What are the developments regarding EIT Digital in
There is no disputing that Silicon Valley is the innovation hotspot of the
world. We need to be connected, and our hub in Silicon Valley is a
connection. We are not going to build a co-location centre and copy what
we are doing in Europe, but instead build a bridge.
By being connected, we can add value to our European ecosystem by
learning from the achievements in Silicon Valley. This way we can have
more critical mass and more experience through our partner network.
At present, there unfortunately isn’t a good balance when it comes to
exchange between Europe and the Valley in technology, human resources
and capital, especially in the digital domain. We want to try to rebalance
that by combining and joining forces. Through our strong partnership, as
well as the support from our national governments and the European
Commission, we are a recognised player in Silicon Valley.
Taking a concrete example, we were able to have a very collaborative
project with Coursera in online education; this was mainly due to a KIC
bringing together a high quality higher education group. It is very difficult
professional education and developing the
online platform together with the other KICs.
Finally, our innovation strategy is very important
as it is vital to invest in innovations that are
based on research results. Research feeds into
technology, and it is very important to focus on
those start-ups and those opportunities. We
have innovation activities and we have built a
business development infrastructure, a pan-
European business development accelerator.
We have eight action lines, and in each of these
areas we have so-called ‘innovation funnels’
where we bring together corporates, SMEs, start-
ups and scale-ups in specific domains like smart
energy, smart cities, security, clouds, network
infrastructures, etc. for our start-up funnel
because we measure our start-ups in terms of
growth in investment deals, customers, turnover,
valuation, and the number of employees. It is all
about scaling up; we are really focused on the
growth of these opportunities.
What are the greatest challenges
facing Europe in the digital world, and
how can ICT address these issues?
Our strategic innovation agenda is called
‘Blended Life’ – blending the ‘physical’ world
and the ‘digital’ world. We are focusing on
‘cyber-physical systems’, sometimes called
‘embedded systems’, and that is an area where
Europe is strong and where digitalisation
provides new opportunities.
In ‘health and wellbeing’, for example,
digitalisation will allow you to move from cure
to prevention because you can do much more
monitoring with sensor networks – there is
enough powerful computing power to do Big
Data analysis in order to prevent getting into
hospital, rather than being cured in hospital.
Nowhere else on Earth is the quality of the
health system so high and so equally accessible.
The European health system is an asset that can
be used as a basis for innovative healthcare
solutions enabled by ICT. This allows more focus
on prevention, thus offloading the financial
burden of cure. Here there are enormous
opportunities for Europe.
Jonker (far right) said
the KIC had made
great strides in
and innovation since