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La Lonja, first European Digital Innovation Hub in the Spanish port system

La Lonja de la Innovación of the Port of Huelva has been a pioneer in the Spanish port system to be recognized as European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH-) by the European Union. This recognition confirms the positioning of the Port of Huelva as a leader in the creation of a digital innovation space in the port and logistics field, with the highest recognition at European and global level.

In this regard, the president of the Port of Huelva, Pilar Miranda, has highlighted the commitment of the Port of Huelva to promote innovation and digitization in the port and logistics sector, with the launch this year of the Lonja de la Innovación, the first global port FIWARE node, with the support of Telefónica, to which is added this new recognition at European level. "In this way, we have a modern space, at the forefront of new technologies, for companies to design and develop innovative products in the port environment and we can generate synergies and knowledge transfer, boosting talent and improving the competitiveness of companies."

The European Digital Innovation Centers are unique windows that help companies respond to digital challenges and become more competitive. By providing access to know-how and testing, as well as the possibility to "try before you invest", EDIHs enable companies to improve business/production processes, products or services through the use of digital technologies. They also provide innovation services, such as financial advice, training and skills development, which are key factors for the success of digital transformation. Environmental issues are also taken into account, in particular the use of digital technologies to promote sustainability and circularity.

The EDIHs combine the advantages of having a regional presence in the territory with the opportunities offered by belonging to a pan-European network. This regional presence positions them to provide the services needed by local businesses, through the local language and innovation ecosystem. The European coverage of the network facilitates the exchange of best practices between centers in different countries, as well as the provision of specialized services across regions when the necessary competencies are not available locally.

Digital Transformation Accelerator

The Port of Huelva's Innovation Exchange as a European Digital Innovation Center will be supported by the Digital Transformation Accelerator (DTA). The DTA supports the European Commission in creating a dynamic community of centers and other stakeholders. To this end, the DTA fosters networking, cooperation and knowledge transfer activities between EDIHs, SMEs and mid-caps, the public sector and other relevant stakeholders and initiatives. DTA will manage the Internet presence of the network, hosting the appropriate software platform and tools and including an updated EDIH online catalog.

In addition, the DTA will evaluate the performance of the EDIH network, gauging the impact EDIHs have on the digital maturity of the organizations they support. To this end, the European Commission's Joint Research Center has developed a Digital Maturity Assessment tool that will be used by all EDIHs to measure the Digital Maturity progress of EDIH clients. The DTA will support EDIHs in the introduction and use of this tool.

European Digital Innovation Centers and other initiatives

The JRC has also developed a practical handbook with good practices on investing in Digital Innovation Centers. The aim of the handbook is to support the implementation and development of regional, national and RIS3 (Regional Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization) policies.

Many European Digital Innovation Centers are based on existing clusters or include organizations that are part of Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) consortia. The SME Strategy also commits to expand Digital Innovation Hubs in connection with Startup Europe and the EEN and to provide a seamless service within local and regional ecosystems.

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