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Pact for Skills
Call for proposalsClosed

Innovation investments Strand 1 - DIGIT

In order to unlock digital growth potential and deploy innovative solutions, this call supports interregional investments projects in digital economy and innovation, digitalisation of the public administration, and digitalisation of healthcare.


Publication date
23 November 2021
Opening date
Deadline model
Deadline date
18 November 2022, 17:00 (CET)
Level of funding
EU level




The Innovation Investmen instrument under ERDF supports stronger interregional cooperation in investments and makes sustainable connections by linking regional ecosystems in shared smart specialisation areas vital to accelerate market uptake of research results and stimulate innovation. Strand 1 targets mature partnerships to help them accelerate market uptake and scale-up of innovative solutions in shared smart specialisation priority areas, as well as to develop a portfolio of investment projects.

This call for proposals targets investments in businesses and administrations to unlock digital growth potential and deploy innovative solutions (both for businesses and citizens).

The call will support interregional investments projects in the following areas:

a) Digital economy and innovation

b) Digitalisation of the public administration

c) Digitalisation of healthcare (at least 70% of the grant must be allocated to investments in companies).

Activities/actions supported

The call encourages applications in one or more or combination of the following investment areas (a), (b), (c):

a. Digital economy innovation

  • The deployment of innovative solutions for businesses digitalisation and digital services, including the use of artificial intelligence; ICT up-take in SMEs applied to traditional and emerging sectors; B2B; B2C; Customer to Customer, including infrastructures and services to support this (digital innovation hubs, living labs, etc.);
  • Demonstration of innovative digital technologies in view of the commercialisation of research results and a better integration in EU value chains;
  • User driven innovation and valorisation of traceability and big data;
  • Companies reinforcing EU cybersecurity value chain and protecting from hacking, ransomware and identity theft;
  • “Digital based” open innovation, supporting entrepreneurial discovery processes and cooperation between academia and businesses in the framework of smart specialisation;
  • Digital skills for companies adopting innovative digital technologies (upskilling and reskilling) in the framework of investments relevant for Smart Specialisation.

b. Digital transformation of the public administration

  • New or significantly upgraded services for e-government;
  • Investments in innovative solutions helping administrations to make services user-friendly, accessible and more interoperable

c. Digitalisation of healthcare

  • Innovative investments in security of health data across borders (including cybersecurity);
  • Investments related to the use of digital tools to stimulate prevention, enable feedback and interaction with the healthcare providers;
  • Investments connected the digitisation of healthcare systems, providing solutions to interoperability issues;
  • Investments in digital health infrastructure (needed for demonstration processes), telemedicine, m-health and other innovative solutions for personalised medicine;
  • Investments related to the acquisition of digital skills needed for the adoption of innovative technologies in healthcare.

Anticipated outcomes

In the short term, it is expected that this call will result in innovative technologies being tested and adopted by companies and public administrations; the deployment of innovative solutions improving businesses confidence, competences and means to digitalise and grow; and fostering digitisation and health systems transformation. In the medium-term  it is expected that this call will result in increased companies productivity and efficiency; improved user-friendly, accessible and interoperable public services; improved level of digital skills; and improved EU innovation capacity and competitiveness. Lastly, in the long-term, this call will contribute to ensuring an improved way of living and of doing business; an increased social and territorial cohesion as well as personal well-being; and improved education and vocational training systems (indirectly).

Institution providing the funding

European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA)

Size of funding

€4-10 million



Overview of eligibility criteria

In order to be eligible, the applicants must: 

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.: EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs)); non-EU countries; listed EEA countries and countries associated to the I3 Instrument or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature (list of participating countries) 
  • Beneficiaries and affiliated entities must register in the Participant Register — before submitting the proposal — and will have to be validated by the Central Validation Service (REA Validation). For the validation, they will be requested to upload documents showing legal status and origin. Other entities may participate in other consortium roles, such as associated partners, subcontractors, third parties giving in-kind contributions, etc.

Proposals must be submitted by a consortium of applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities), with minimum 3 entities from 3 different regions in 2 eligible countries. Moreover, the coordinator must be either a public body, private non-profit organisation or international organisation. Lastly, projects should normally range between 30 and 36 months.

Overview of award criteria

Award criteria include the following:

  • Relevance of the project (5 points)
  • Quality of the project team and cooperation arrangements (5 points)
  • Quality of the project design and implementation (5 points)
  • Cost-effectiveness (5 points)
  • Impact (10 points)

The minimum pass score is 17.5 out of 25.



Application procedures

The Standard Application Form is available here:

Application support available

More details are available in the call document:


Link to funding opportunity

Link to the programme for more info