Can the European Union become a digital giant?

Opinion piece by Prof. Dr. Karen Donders & Prof. Pieter Ballon

In September, EU Member States gathered in Tallinn to discuss the future of the European Union as an economic actor in the digital economy. Government leaders discussed the main issues causing Europe to lag behind and explored avenues for change. It has indeed become clear that the policy recipes chosen in 2015 to achieve the European Digital Single Market (DSM) have not fully realized their potential to date.

Television advertising, Smart Cities, better and more efficient broadband networks, data protection and data trading, copyright, research, and innovation, amongst other important issues, were the subject of the talks in Tallinn. Not surprisingly, few concrete measures were put on the table. The pressure on Europe is big as research shows that the US, China and a number of Asian countries are much better positioned than the European Union in the digital economy.




European policy in the field of the digital economy takes a real start with the 1994 Bangemann report, named after former European Commissioner Martin Bangemann. The report stated that Europe must catch-up in the globalized information society. In particular, it reported that there was a need for a free

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Funding opportunities to drive future innovative projects for media

In the end of October, the European Commission has published the new Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020 on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The document provides information on future Commission priorities for research and innovation in the media sector.

The Work Programme includes several calls for proposals of interest for media organizations, especially within the framework of the Big Data and 5G PPPs, as well as in the Next Generation Internet (NGI) section. Over the course of the next two years, media organizations will have an opportunity to develop proposals on big data applications, interactive technologies, artificial intelligence, and hyper-connected media systems in reply to the ICT calls (list of preselected proposals available in the table below).

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VRT Sandbox enables Punch Powertrain Solar Team to livestream from the desert

Blogpost writted by Karel De Bondt & Sarah Geeroms, based on the article by Hans Massart

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge took place at the beginning of October, and the achieved result for the Belgian Team has been outstanding. Not only by the Punch Powertrain Solar Team’s fantastic 3rd place in the Challenger Class, but also by the very successful daily live talk-show that was jointly produced in the absolute middle of nowhere.

As the sun set in Adelaide, Australia, on October 12, the Punch Powertrain Solar Team celebrated its well-deserved third place in the Challenger Class of the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

Over five days, the carefully crafted Belgian solar car made its way across 3,021 kilometers of Australian outback, negotiating traffic lights and road trains, and enduring challenging temperatures and wind gusts, while successfully harnessing solar power to maintain an impressive average speed of 76.2 km/h throughout the race.

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Horizon 2020: The EC to boost research funding for ICT

The European Commission will invest 30€ billion in research and innovation for the next three years in order to boost the impact of the Horizon 2020 (H2020) programme. The funds will go more towards market-creating innovations with specific focus on topics such as migration, cyber security, climate, clean energy and digital technologies.

Open Europe, open programme, new type of funding for innovation: this is how Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation described the recently published 2018-2020 work programme for Horizon 2020 and the EU’s plans for the future of innovation funding.


Over the next three years, roughly 2.7 billion € [1] will be invested in information and communication technologies (ICT). While the media sector is included within this category, access to H2020 funding for media organisation is still limited compared to other industries.

There are nevertheless some positive developments, notably the inclusion of media as one of the vertical industries in the 5G PPP on “Advanced 5G Network Infrastructure”, which will be geared towards setting up fixed, mobile and satellite networks, together with computing and storage resources, into a unified, programmable and universally available infrastructure.

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