FAIR has been selected by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and Economy as one candidate for a European Digital Innovation Hub. The hubs will launch their activities in the second half of 2021.
The demand for environmentally sustainable cities and infrastructures is increasing, and so is the need for efficient health and wellbeing services. How can the industry and public sector utilize new technologies and opportunities for digital solutions in their operations? For this, the European Union has introduced a new concept, the European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH), and selects the best ones to work together as a European network for digitalization.
Technological capabilities and extensive data use are crucial for Finland and the whole of Europe. Large cities in particular have large datasets and infrastructure which could be utilised more, but private service providers with advanced digital skills are needed to make such utilization possible. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are only beginning to utilize large data sets and artificial intelligence in their operations and apply artificial intelligence. EDIH as a new instrument supports SMEs and the public sector across Europe in the development of digital competencies and innovation.
European Digital Innovation Hubs create a network of service hubs which support companies in utilizing digital solutions. The Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI), which is at the core of FAIR EDIH, has a key role in solving problems relating to efficient data use and AI methodology. FAIR aims to accelerate the adoption of digital solutions and the finding of new business models. VTT, which is the leading partner in the FAIR preparation work, has a long experience of working in pan-European projects and has established an extensive network of contacts across different EU countries.
The initial preparation work for the new Finnish AI Region has been done by a consortium formed by the Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT), the Finnish capital region (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa), the University of Helsinki and Aalto University, Metropolia and Haaga-Helia Universities of Applied Sciences, CSC, KIRAhub, and EIT Digital. The consortium welcomes organizations with strong digitalization and artificial intelligence skills into this ecosystem to make Finland the AI forerunner in Europe.
During the next few weeks, the European commission will open a targeted call for the nationally proposed EDIHs in Europe, and subsequently selects the first EDIHs over the summer period. The hubs are expected to launch their activities in the fall.