The EDIH DIGI-SI consortium consists of seven partners, long-established Digital Innovation Hubs in Slovenia: University of Maribor (coordinator - DIH UM), Institute "Jožef Stefan" (Centre for Technology Transfer and Innovation), ARCTUR (DIH HPC5), Tool Cluster of Slovenia (DIGITECH-SI-EAST), Ljubljana Technology Park (DIH Health Wise), Digital Innovation Hub of Slovenia and Innovation Technology Cluster Murska Sobota (DIH AGRIFOOD). The web of services needed for a comprehensive digitalisation of operations covers four areas: pre-investment testing, skills and maturity development, help in finding investors and scaling up the innovation ecosystem.

EDIH's activities aim to give local communities and businesses access to the necessary information, skills and services that can help them in their digital transformation process. Our aim is to increase the digital maturity of our service users by 10% to 20%.

EDIH also provides a supportive environment for the future effective exploitation of high-tech equipment (HPC RIVR and RIUM) and the competences of DIGI-SI researchers and other stakeholders in this field in the region.

The Hub's greatest ambition is that businesses will recognise the services as useful

The vast majority of EU funding to support businesses in their digital transformation will be channelled and delivered through the so-called DIGITAL EUROPE programme. Through its services, the consortium aims to provide €3.3 million worth of digitisation support to 700 businesses.

EDIH DIGI-SI will act as a single entry point despite the geographically dispersed partnership. Due to the gap between the Western and Eastern Cohesion Regions of Slovenia, the majority (75%) of the consortium's activities will be dedicated to the digital transformation of the Eastern Cohesion Region. In this respect, the European Hub is not a project that will fade away at the end of European funding, but is designed for the long term. "The biggest ambition of DIGI-SI is that companies will recognise its benefits and that we will gradually contribute to a more efficient digital transformation of the Slovenian economy and public sector," emphasises the targeted and sustainable orientation of Prof. Dr. Muhamed Turkanović, Head of the EDIH DIGI-SI Consortium.

Complementarity of EDIH DIGI-SI services with other supporting institutions/initiatives
The guests of the round table, Prof. Dr. Muhamed Turkanović, Head of the EDIH DIGI-SI Consortium, Andrej Brvar, EEN, Nina Meglič, SRIP Circular Economy, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Marko Hoelbl, ATHENA, Damjan Harish, SLING, and Tilen Obradović, MGRT/OECD, gave their views on how they see the connection of their institutions with EDIH and how together they could provide an integrated service for companies. The moderator was Mojca Štruc from Government Office for Digital Transformation.

Digital transformation is accelerating economic and public sector development
The Minister in charge of Digital Transformation, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Emilija Stojmenova Duh, underlined that digital transformation will be a key enabler of development. Therefore, a supportive environment is important, especially for traditional sectors. She sees EDIH as a way to translate the ambitions of the European Digital Compass 2030 into concrete actions, highlighting a holistic approach: "To be truly successful, actions must comprehensively address, on the one hand, the strengthening of national research capacities and the transfer of new technological knowledge into better products and services, and, on the other hand, the strengthening of the capacity to rapidly deploy and use digital technologies, products and services, for both business and the public sector."

Prof. Dr. Dean Korošak, Vice-Rector for Scientific Research at the University of Maribor, who acts as the coordinator of the consortium, hopes that EDIH DIGI-SI will also act as an accelerator for the university and its digitisation, and will connect it even more strongly with the environment: "I would like to see EDIH make the University of Maribor breathe with Maribor at the top of its lungs."

Ireland's exemplary practice in supporting the development of the manufacturing industry

Lise-Ann Sheahan from the Irish Manufacturing Research Centre presented at the launch the Irish model of the European Digital Hub, which acts as an "all-in-one-place" support point for the manufacturing industry. Their offer covers eight areas, from industrial research to specialised consultancy and support in securing funding - all with the aim of accelerating the development of the next generation of smart manufacturing. To this end, they have developed the FactoryxChange model, which provides three things: infrastructure (digital and physical DIHs), trusted brokers to guide users to suitable providers, and relevant service providers.

Winner of the Digital Innovation Competition: startup mPor
The winner of the Digital Innovation Contest was announced at the event. The award went to the mPor startup team for their innovation L-POR, a more human-friendly electroporator that reduces muscle contraction and pain.

Photo: Tadej Bernik

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