The European Digital Innovation Hub Ostrava kicked off its activities at the beginning of this year. Since then, it has provided all interested clients with a complete portfolio of services. The services focus primarily on supporting smaller and medium-sized companies and startups as well as public organisations in deploying and using digital technologies, including providing knowledge and infrastructure, creating tailor-made solutions, and implementing training courses.

The performance of the global industry has been dramatically affected in recent years by a range of external effects, from coronavirus pandemic measures and forced changes in Customer-Supplier relationships to the energy crisis and many others, all of which are affecting the performance of many industries, but also highlight the need for innovation in the production process and the creation of final products. Increased use of digital technologies is one of the solutions, and in this context, a network of European Digital Innovation Hubs has been set up at the European level. A total of six such centres have been established in the Czech Republic, one of which is the European Digital Innovation Hub Ostrava (EDIH Ostrava).

"The main service of the EDIH Ostrava is the use of specific, technologically oriented know-how and infrastructure to examine their potential to solve specific needs and tasks of a company or public organisation. We also focus on supporting digital readiness and skills development, offering, for example, highly expert training courses in artificial intelligence and software solutions for control unit simulations. Another important area is the support of experience sharing and further development of companies, including start-ups," explained Martin Duda, Executive Manager of the EDIH Ostrava.

The EDIH Ostrava aims to support the deployment and use of digital technologies, primarily in small and medium-sized enterprises and public organisations, free of charge or under highly subsidised conditions. The EDIH Ostrava combines the know-how of two strong partners. The coordinator is VSB – the Technical University of Ostrava, which is represented by IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Center, a leading research, development, and innovation centre in the field of high-performance computing (HPC), data analysis (HPDA), and artificial intelligence (AI), operating the most powerful supercomputing systems in the Czech Republic. Then there is the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, which supports digitalised production processes with elements of Industry 4.0 and intelligent transport systems in an industrial testbed environment. The second partner is the Moravian-Silesian Innovation Centre Ostrava, which, among other things, coordinates the Regional Innovation Strategy of the Moravian-Silesian Region, implements several of its strategic projects and, last but not least, provides individual services to start-ups and mature companies. Together, this combination represents a significant potential for digitalisation and innovation not only in the Moravian-Silesian Region.

"The Moravian-Silesian Innovation Centre has long supported the development of small and medium-sized companies and understands digitalisation as an important factor for their operation and growth. Cooperation with universities plays a key role in developing the innovation ecosystem and fulfilling the EDIH objectives. Therefore, participation in this project is crucial for us, and we see the European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) as an important tool for increasing the level of digitalisation in the Moravian-Silesian Region and expanding opportunities for international cooperation," said Pavel Csank, Chairman of the Board of Directors of MSIC.

The cooperation of this European network is being implemented as part of one of the key activities of the European Union through the Digital Europe Programme for the period 2021 to 2027. Other focal points of this programme include investments in supercomputing, artificial intelligence, cyber security, and advanced digital skills.

On 10 May, an official presentation of the activities of the EDIH Ostrava took place at both IT4Innovations and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science testbed, attended by Ivo Vondrák, Governor of the Moravian-Silesian Region, Václav Snášel, Rector of the Technical University of Ostrava, representatives of partners, and several companies and cooperating organisations from the region and Poland.

"VSB - Technical University of Ostrava proves that it is an institution that not only offers education but also successfully implements scientific work results into everyday practice. I believe that the EDIH Ostrava will be, thanks to the cooperation of the involved units and MSIC, a sought-after tool and guide for companies and public organisations", said Václav Snášel, Rector of VSB - Technical University of Ostrava.