Photo: Luxinnovation

On January 27, DIHNET unveiled the winners of the January 2020 DIH Champions Challenge EDIH Conference 2021 “Preparing for European Digital Innovation Hubs”. The awards ceremony gathered more than 1,176 participants, including digital innovation centers, designated EDIHs, regions and Member States, representatives of the EEN, clusters, SMEs and other stakeholders.

DIHNET.EU was a pioneer in launching the annual DIH Champions Challenge to identify digital innovation clusters in Europe. Begoña Sanchez, Tecnalia’s Director of Innovation Systems and Policies and a member of the DIHNET consortium, says that the main aim of the initiative is to “Provide the DIH community with a process for identifying good practices, presenting and supporting mature DIH success stories that can inspire and guide other DIHs in their development.”

In this second edition, four DIHs were selected as finalists: am-LAB, Basque Country Digital Innovation Center (BDIH), FZI Information Technology Research Center and The Data Cycle Hub (ITI). The DIHNET consortium reviewed the proposals with the assistance of two external evaluators: Jan Kobliha, Ministerial Adviser to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, and Thorsten Huelsmann, Head of Digital Hub Logistics in Dortmund, who won the DIH Champions Challenge 2019. “DIH’s different applications have once again shown that DIH’s different approaches and structures in Europe are different and heterogeneous from European regions and member states. Each application has demonstrated a unique service and format portfolio, governance structure and operating model to suit customer requirements. innovation or digital change in the value chain. “ explains Thorsten. Jan Kobliha, an external reviewer for both competitions, adds this “This year the proposals were more mature and the top class results were comparable, which is a huge difference from last year where we had one absolute champion. In Europe, a huge number of DIH projects have grown, some of whom want to become EDIH and have gained more experience.”.

The 2020 DIH Champions Challenge winners are two centers of digital innovation that have demonstrated a leading degree of maturity: am-LAB (Hungary) and Basque Digital Innovation Center (Spain).

From DIHNET, we would like to congratulate both the winners – am-LAB and the Basque DIH – for this great achievement, as well as two finalists, the ITI Data Hub and the FZI Information Technology Research Center. We hope that other centers of digital innovation will see them as a source of inspiration for the future.

Am-LAB is located in the West Pannon region of Hungary, a subsidiary of the Pannon Business Network Association – PBN. This DIH promotes and assists the digitization of SMEs in Western Hungary and acts as an anchor for regional SME digitization initiatives. The local innovation technology transfer network has strong organically developed relationships. The members of the center are a local university – ELTE Multidisciplinary Science Network, local manufacturing companies and a cluster of mechatronic manufacturing SMEs. The regional government also supports and closely monitors DIH’s progress.

Basque Country Digital Innovation Center (BDIH)
The Basque Digital Innovation Center (BDIH) is a non-profit initiative that provides European industrial structures – especially Basque SMEs – with easy and cost-effective access to the innovative and excellent scientific and technological capabilities needed to meet the challenges of industry 4.0 in an advanced manufacturing environment. This DIH in Spain consists of six different areas of digitally linked R&D infrastructures, pilot plants and a specialized network: Additive Manufacturing, Flexible and Collaborative Robotics, Cyber ​​Security, Big Data Analytics, Intelligent and Connected Machines and New Materials.

FZI Information Technology Research Center
The FZI Information Technology Research Center at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany is a non-profit institution for applied research in information technology and technology transfer. Its mission is to provide companies and public institutions with the latest information technology research results. It also fulfills the career of young researchers in academics or business as well as self-employment.

The Data Cycle Hub (ITI)
The Data Cycle Hub has a non-profit goal and is coordinated and managed by ITI, including a non-profit research center and a reference to know-how and artificial intelligence in the Valencia region of Spain. The aim of this DIH is to catch up with research and industry, especially SMEs, by providing innovative solutions and services that require advanced data analytics, automated learning and artificial intelligence. The Data Cycle Hub primarily handles large data and artificial intelligence, but also other key digital enabling technologies such as cyberphysical systems, the Internet of Things, cloud and high-performance computing platforms, or statistical optimization.

To find out more about these Digital Innovation Centers, visit their website and the JRC DIH list:

Editor’s note: This post has been merged This article and This article.


guest author

The DIHNET project enables the coordination of European, national and regional initiatives that directly support digital transformation and digital innovation poles (DIHs). The aim of the project is to create a sustainable pan-European network focusing on regional DIH networks.


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