This year, Digitising European Industry Stakeholder Forum, a public event organised on a yearly basis by the European Commission and one Member State within the context of the Digitising European Industry initiative (DEI), took place in Madrid from the 13th to the 15th of November 2019.

The third edition of the Forum, organized by the European Commission and the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, focused on the thematic topic of ‘Artificial Intelligence and Digital Innovation Hubs – beyond 2020’ with discussions around the ways in which digital transformation is shaping industry around Europe and how such transformation can be channelled towards a strong and innovative industrial ecosystem.

Because artificial intelligence is already showing its potential in tackling long-term challenges by providing cost effective solutions, European policies are prioritizing such potential through the support of Digital Innovation Hubs, industrial partnerships and a variety of additional initiatives that include funding instruments and other opportunities. However, with new technological solutions, new ethical implications and legislative initiatives are emerging, yet receiving a prominent position in policy projections beyond 2020.

Within the scope of this year’s Digitising European Industry Stakeholder Forum, without doubt, Europe’s central event regarding development and widespread deployment of digital technologies, dr. Emilija Stojmenova Duh from Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana presented the importance of cooperation in digitalisation of industry, but also of other ecosystems, essentially putting forward a much needed systemic perspective which is very well aware of the complexities and many challenges of today’s society.

Concretely, dr. Stojmenova Duh introduced to the public a newly established Public Private People Partnership Digital Innovation Hub – 4PDIH, established by Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana in partnership with Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia, emphasizing, that for »/…/ for successful and efficient digitalisation we need public, private, people partnership, in terms of users and stakeholders, investments and implementation«, arguing that focusing solely on digital transformation of SMEs is not enough, as »/…/ we must think about and act upon the whole ecosystem in the region«, including rural areas, building on what is already there in terms of using existing knowledge, networks and platforms, and also in getting proper funding, which ought not to come from one source only. After all, 4PDIH is a diverse ecosystem, involving different partners from industry, research and educational institutions, supporting systems for businesses, municipalities etc.

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