“Promoting Research on Digitalisation in Emerging Powers and Europe towards Sustainable Development” (PRODIGEES) is a Marie Skłodowska Curie Action (Research and Innovation Staff Exchange / MSCA-RISE) with funding from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program, having been awarded the grant in 2019 for launch of the project in January 2020. PRODIGEES consortium members used the Midterm Meeting on 15 June, 2021 to illustrate the dynamism, achievements and promise of the project in the face of a first year of project implementation stalled by the global pandemic.
Dr. Sven Grimm of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) brought the meeting into session and welcomed the first half of consortium partners representing Austria, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, and South Africa. A second session, facilitated by the PRODIGEES Co-Coordinator Dr. Carlos Dominguez of Instituto Mora, welcomed the Western Hemisphere partners in Brazil and Mexico.
As the PRODIGEES project was scheduled to kick off in March 2020, the global pandemic halted most of the staff exchanges. PRODIGEES established a COVID-19 mitigation strategy, adding new members in Rome and Vienna to the consortium and modifying its staff exchange schedule; all the while, it implemented its “structural project deliverables”. Three staff exchanges, called “secondments”, took place in 2020. Dr. Ingrid Schneider seconded from the University of Hamburg to Instituto Mora, researching data protection regulation models and the interpretation of the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in Mexico. Dr. Gustavo Sosa Nunez seconded from Instituto Mora to the University of Hamburg, making a comparative analysis between European and Mexican approaches to artificial intelligence (AI) in addressing climate change. Dr. Carlos Dominguez seconded from Instituto Mora to DIE, performing his research exchange under the heading “Digital but still unequal: the challenges of digitalisation for emerging powers”. Few exchanges will take place in 2021, whereas most secondments are being rescheduled for 2022 onwards. Full access to PRODIGEES deliverables, publications and digital knowledge products can be found in the PRODIGEES Research Community on Zenodo.
European Commission Project Officer, Gianluca Coluccio, offered the maximum flexibility of the Horizon 2020 instrument, indicating that a project extension is warranted given the force majeure, and seeing that the integrity of PRODIGEES’ network and mission remains strong. PRODIGEES coordinator, DIE, will follow up with the European Commission in the coming weeks, pursuing the extension and creating a structure for the project to extend past its original 2023 end date.