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Estimation of supply and demand of tertiary education places in advanced digital profiles in the EU


Publication date
3 February 2021
Joint Research Centre
Topic area
  • Education


In order to investigate the extent to which the education offer of advanced digital skills in Europe matches labour market needs, this study estimates the supply and demand of university places for studies covering the technological domains of Artificial Intelligence (AI), High Performance Computing (HPC), Cybersecurity (CS) and Data Science (DS), in the EU27, United Kingdom and Norway.

The difference between demand and supply of tertiary education places (Bachelor and Master or equivalent level) in the mentioned technological domains is referred in this report as unmet students’ demand of places, or unmet demand. Demanded places, available places and unmet demand are estimated for the following dimensions:

(a) the tertiary education level in which this demand is observed: Bachelor and Master or equivalent programmes;

(b) the programme’s scope, or depth with which education programmes address the technological domain: broad and specialised; and

(c) the main fields of education where this tuition is offered: Business Administration and Law; Natural sciences and Mathematics; Information and Communication Technology (ICT); and Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction, with the remaining fields grouped together in a fifth category.

From these estimations, the authors of the report have concluded that the number of available places in the EU27, at Bachelor level, reaches 587,000 for studies with AI content, 106,000 places offered in HPC, 307,000 places in CS and 444,000 places offered in the domain of DS. At Master level this demand is comparatively lower, except for the DS domain, were it equals the offer at bachelor level. DS outnumbers AI in demand of places at Master level, with 602,000 and 535,000 demanded places, respectively. The unmet demand for AI, HPC, CS and DS in EU27 at MSc level is approximately 150,000, 33,000, 59,000 and 167,000 places, respectively. At BSc level, the unmet demand reaches 273,000, 53,000, 159,000 and 213,000 places, respectively.

Another finding is that the unmet demand for broad academic programmes is higher than for specialised programmes of all technological domains and education levels (Bachelor and Master). Higher availability of places for AI, HPC, CS and DS domains is found for academic programmes taught in the ICT field of education, both at Bachelor and Master levels. For Bachelor studies, Germany and Finland are estimated as the countries with the highest unmet demand in AI, HPC, CS and DS, either with a broad or specialised scope. United Kingdom is the only studied country offering places for all fields of education and technological domains at Bachelor level and Master level. For Master studies, this is also found in Germany, Ireland, France and Portugal.

Details on JRC Publications Repository

Supply and demand digital education cover


Estimation of supply and demand of tertiary education places in advanced digital profiles in the EU