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DSIH grant awarded

The European Commission supports the Dutch municipalities and provinces through a multi-year grant.

European incentive for municipalities and provinces to set up local government innovation infrastructure.

The European Commission is supporting Dutch municipalities and provinces through a multi-year grant. The support is intended to create a network of innovation hubs in the Netherlands. The Dutch Societal Innovation Hub (DSIH) aims to assist cities and regions in major societal transformations using innovation, digitization and new technology. After intensive preparation, the DSIH has been awarded a €4.2 million European multi-year grant funded by the European Commission and the Ministry of the Interior.


What the DSIH will do

The goal of the DSIH is to strengthen the innovation infrastructure of municipalities and provinces and disseminate methods and digital building blocks through training and knowledge exchange. The grant will help the seven partners learn from each other faster. The successes are then translated into standards that can be used by all public service providers. Among other things, there will be a portal where the partners share their lessons learned about interoperability, for example. This way, municipalities and provinces do not have to reinvent the wheel but can draw on expertise and previous experiences. However, the DSIH is broader than "a portal for public services. For example, more will be developed around the social issues from the mission "Sustainable, healthy and safe living in city and region." The program expects to launch on Oct. 1 and will then come up with an agenda of what else we can expect from them. The joint investment from Europe, state and local government ensures that we will innovate together and simultaneously provides a foundation to scale up innovations to all our members.

"DSIH ensures that we take the next step in creating experimental space for innovation."

Nathan Ducastel, director VNG Realization.


DSIH partners

The Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) and InterProvincial Consultation (IPO) are the penholders and act from the common interest for municipalities and provinces. The five other partners are: Brightlands Smart Services Campus, Data and Knowledge Hub Healthy Urban Living, Digicampus, Municipality of Rotterdam and the Urban Development Initiative (UDI). Each brings its own experience from existing projects, test and experimentation facilities and a decentralized public-private network. This helps the DSIH to learn from experience and use it to move forward faster. The knowledge gained is shared with the constituency: thus, all municipalities and provinces can benefit from the results of the DSIH.

Part of Europe

Because the DSIH is part of the European network, we also use the knowledge and experience in other EU countries. At this stage, 136 EDIHs (European Digital Innovation Hub's) have been selected. The mission of the DSIH is "Sustainable, healthy and safe living in city and region." (See image for the social issues within the mission). While many of the EDIHs focus on technology, the DSIH focuses on digital applications to improve public services. The Dutch hub thus contributes to the European ambitions for both the Greendeal and the Digital Decade.

Reason for award

The DSIH application was considered by the European Commission on three components: relevance, implementation and impact. The maximum score was achieved on all these components. The accompanying letter indicates that the European Commission has confidence in the DSIH: "One has the necessary experience, competence and skills. There is a solid, well thought out, proposal with sufficient resources and a well formulated focus on roll-out."


Stay informed

Over the summer period, work is underway to set up the program organization. By Oct. 1, the expectation is to start with the full team. Regular news will follow from then on. 

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