Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation is a horizontal pillar enshrined in Horizon 2020.  In its successor programme Horizon Europe, it evolves into a widening package, with increased budget and promising impact. It encompasses a variety of capacity–building and networking measures destined mainly at research-based institutions of low performing R&I countries. The widening package aims to bridge the disparity in R&I performance amongst EU member states. It is closely linked to strengthening the ERA and therefore European innovation ecosystems.

Digital transition is key to Europe’s competitiveness and its transition into climate neutrality.  In light of the next MFF 2021-2027 and through the Digital Europe Programme, Europe will be investing in strategic digital capacities and facilitate the deployment and adoption of digital technologies by citizens, business and public administration.  One of the instruments of Digital Europe Programme, the Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) will be instrumental in the fulfillment of this goal.

Currently, EU companies and public organisations are not making the most out of digital opportunities.  The level of digitization across the EU is uneven and varies according the organization’s size, sector and location. Digital Innovation Hubs in their capacity as innovation centers and one-stop shops will accelerate the uptake of digital technologies by SMEs and public organisations, ensuring that every organization, irrespective of size, sector and location fully exploits the benefit of digital innovation. Therefore, DIHs and the Widening Package underpinned by the inclusiveness element can have a synergistic effect to the benefit of the European Research Area.

In this respect, the NCP_WIDE.NET project organises an online event “Digital Innovation Hubs & Widening Participation” bringing together different actors that contribute to digital transformation of regions through Digital Innovation Hubs. The aim of the event is to highlight contribution to this initiative from two types of EU-funded projects namely a Teaming-2 project under Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation as well as dedicated DIH project funded under other parts of Horizon 2020.

Click <here> to download the agenda.

Luca Marsili, APRE (
Vassiliki Kalodimou, Praxi Network (

1. Ms. Katarzyna WALCZYK-MATUSZYK, Coordinator of the NCP_WIDE.NET project, IPPT PAN
“Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence in Horizon Europe and its contribution to the European Research Area” <presentation>

2. Ms. Anna PUIG-CENTELLES, PhD, DG CONNECT, European Commission
“Digital Innovation Hubs and Widening aspects” <presentation>

3. Mr. Sander VAN DER MOLEN, Coordinator of the BOWI project, CIVITTA
“Building a Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) network based on experience and practice sharing” <presentation>

4. Prof. Diofantos HATJIMITSIS, Coordinator of the EXCELSIOR project, Cyprus University of Technology
“A Digital Innovation Hub in a Centre of Excellence” <presentation>

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