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Call key data
Boosting Digital Skills of young pupils, in particular girls
Estimated EU contribution per project
max. € 6,000,000.00
Link to the call
Link to the submission
The aim of this action is to pilot actions to increase the number of students pursuing digital studies and careers, with a special focus on increasing participation of girls. It will support joint actions between leading technical higher education institutions, businesses and schools to promote digital studies, through hands-on activities and challenge-based projects.
Students in digital and ICT disciplines represent a minority, in 2021 they were 4.5% of total graduates. There is also a severe gender balance issue, with only 19% of ICT specialists and one in three science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics (STEM) graduates being women. During the Structured Dialogue for digital education and skills, Member States also report about competition for the few pupils that have suitable profiles and interest in studying STEM disciplines at university level.
In order to fill the significant shortage of sector specialists using advanced digital technologies and ICT specialists, it is necessary to increase the pool of pupils who would be ultimately interested to study STEM and ICT, with a special focus on girls and women who are vastly underrepresented in the digital field. Boosting the development of digital skills from an early age and in a continuous manner is essential for influencing the level of digital skills of the EU population and the number of male and female students that will consider studies and career in the ICT. Moreover, evidence shows that pupils who are involved in the learning of coding or computational thinking from an early age are more likely to continue studying ICT or digital-related fields and this has an impact for example on the number of girls choosing this study-path.
In the bilateral dialogues with Member States as part of the structured dialogue on digital education and skills, many called for innovative approaches to attract young people, and especially girls as of primary school (or even earlier), to digital careers and to encourage a mind-set shift in their perception. This action will therefore include dedicated activities to encourage girls and women to take part in digital studies.
The aim of this action is to pilot actions to increase the number of students pursuing digital studies and careers, with a special focus on increasing participation of girls. It will support joint actions between leading technical higher education institutions, businesses and schools to promote digital studies, through hands-on activities and challenge-based projects. Another aim of this action is to scale-up the EU Code Week initiative, putting it on stronger and broader footing, thus further increasing its impact beyond the > 4 million people reached every year, among which almost half are young women and girls.
For example, the actions will finance summer schools for high-school students on digital areas, career days for people interested in digital, with a view to encourage more gender diversity and promote exchanges between higher education institutions and primary and secondary schools on digital topics. Digital Europe Programme consortia already awarded under the first WP could also be leveraged, with a view to give the possibilities to younger students to access the state-of-the-art laboratories, experience the campus facilities and follow seminars from the most renowned experts in Quantum computing, Cybersecurity, AI, cloud, among others. Special attention should be given to the role of girls and women in the digital field, with a focus on debunking stereotypes and tackling the self-efficacy and confidence gap.
This action is in line with Action 13 of the Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027), which aims to enhance girls and women’s digital competences through projects like Girls Go Circular and ESTEAM Fests.
Stronger cooperation between primary, secondary and VET schools and tertiary education and research to increase the number of pupils enrolling in digital studies aiming at gender convergence. This will lead to the development of:
- Summer schools
- Specialised information and career days
- Dissemination and outreach activities, such as EU Code Week
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Island (Ísland), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Liechtenstein, Montenegro (Црна Гора), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна)
Education and training institution, Natural Person, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be:
- legal entities (public or private bodies)
- established in one of the eligible countries:
- EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
- listed EEA countries and countries associated to the Digital Europe Programme or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature (together ‘DEP associated countries’, see list of participating countries)
Proposals must be submitted by a consortium composed of a minimum of 4 applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities) from 4 different eligible countries.
Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).
International organisations — International organisations are not eligible, unless they are International organisations of European Interest within the meaning of Article 2 of the Digital Europe Regulation (i.e. international organisations the majority of whose members are Member States or whose headquarters are in a Member State).
EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System (accessible via the Topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section. Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all the requested information and all required annexes and supporting documents:
- Application Form Part A — contains administrative information about the participants (future coordinator, beneficiaries and affiliated entities) and the summarised budget for the project (to be filled in directly online)
- Application Form Part B — contains the technical description of the project (to be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded)
- Mandatory annexes and supporting documents (to be uploaded):
- detailed budget table/calculator: not applicable
- CVs of core project team: not applicable
- activity reports of last year: not applicable
- ownership control declaration: not applicable
- list of previous projects: applicable
Proposals are limited to maximum 50 pages (Part B).