European Defence Fund: EU funds new joint research and industrial projects

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The Commission is opening calls for proposals to finance up to €160 million in joint defence industrial projects in 2020, and announcing seven new defence research projects selected for more than €23 million of funding under the 2019 budget.

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said: “In this difficult period on many fronts, we are mobilising all EU programmes to support our companies, big or small. We are also preparing for the future. With the joint development of defence technologies, we are making Europe more resilient and strengthening our industrial base.”

The projects are financed respectively under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), worth €500 million for 2019-2020, and the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR), which has a budget of €90 million for 2018-2020. They are the precursor programmes of the fully-fledged European Defence Fund, which will foster an innovative and competitive defence industrial base and contribute to the EU’s strategic autonomy.

European Defence Industrial Development Programme: calls for 2020

With a total budget of more than €160 million, the 2020 calls for proposals cover 12 categories reflecting the critical capability needs defined in close cooperation with the Member States.

The Commission is looking for project proposals including design, prototyping and testing Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBNR) medical countermeasures, such as preventive and therapeutic immunotherapy, which could be beneficial to tackle future pandemic crises such as the one Europe and the world are facing today. The calls also seek to increase the EU’s capabilities to detect and counter Unmanned Air Systems such as drones in defence scenarios, and the EU’s cyber situational awareness and defence capabilities, defence networks and technologies for secure communication and information sharing.

The programme includes incentives for the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As in 2019, one category with a budget of €10 million is fully earmarked for SMEs that can provide innovative and future-oriented defence solutions.

The Commission will organise an information day in order to guide interested consortia through the submission process and to foster cooperation among European entities through dedicated match-making sessions. The precise date will be communicated in the coming weeks.

In parallel, the Commission is currently evaluating applications to the 2019 call for applications.

Preparatory Action on Defence Research: projects selected for 2019

Following calls for proposals launched in 2019, seven new defence research projects have been selected for funding under the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) for a total of more than € 23 million.

The selected projects focus on technologies with a high disruptive potential in the defence sector such as artificial intelligence and quantum technologies, as well as critical defence technologies for electronic warfare and interoperability standards for military unmanned systems.

The consortia that submitted the selected proposals consist of 65 leading-edge European system integrators, original equipment manufacturers, high-tech MidCap and SMEs and research institutes located in 15 EU Member States.

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