The European Defence Fund (EDF) was officially launched in 2017 by the European Commission. Its objective is to strengthen the EU’s strategic autonomy and boost Europe’s defence capabilities. From 2021 onwards the EDF, worth more than 7.9 B€, will foster an innovative and competitive defence industrial base, offering growth opportunities for companies operating in the sector.
The funding practices were piloted in two preceding programmes, the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), and now the first EDF call is anticipated to open during this summer. Unlike the earlier EU’s Multiannual Financial Frameworks (MFF), the EU’s new MFF for years 2021-2027 is expected to offer also other interesting funding opportunities besides EDF for the security industry.
Below, Spinverse’s Senior Manager and team leader for the Security and Defence team Anu Ilmonen sheds some light into the latest developments in the European funding instruments for defence and security technologies.
European Defence Fund calls expected to open in June
Under the European Defence Fund, 5.3 B€ of the total budget will be available to co-finance collaborative capability development projects that are complemented with national contributions, whereas 2.6 B€ is used to fund collaborative defence research to address emerging and future security threats. The European Defence Fund will be launched during 2021, with first calls expected to open at the end of June and close by the end of the year.
Anu says: “In the European Defence Fund projects, the European defence capabilities will be developed and if the companies specialised in this sector miss out on joining the development work, they also miss out on remarkable future growth opportunities.” The topics of the EDF are based on the European Capability Development Plan and real capability needs of the Member States. Anu points out that the co-financing from the Ministries of Defence (MoD) is one of the award criteria, giving a tangible indication of the real support and capability development need for the proposal evaluators.
The cooperation with the local MoD is essential also because at least two MoDs have to jointly agree the common requirements for the technology developed in the EDF project, if the project contains design, prototype, testing, qualification or certification activities. Companies are encouraged to discuss with their local MoDs the future capability needs and the added value which participating to the EDF call might bring.
Other funding opportunities for security industry actors
It is also worth noting that the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027) contains other interesting funding opportunities than EDF for the industries operating in the security sector. Interesting research and development programmes include, for example, other parts of Horizon Europe, Digital Europe programme (DEP) and the Space programme.
“For the first time, the Commission is interested in boosting the synergies between civil, defence and space industries,” Anu Ilmonen says. Moreover, there is an ambition to further develop the coordination between the EU programmes in the coming years and thus strengthen the synergies between the three sectors. “We are definitely anticipating interesting EU funding opportunities for security industries and Spinverse is happy to help companies with their inquiries,” Anu reminds.
How can Spinverse help your company with the funding applications?
The requirements for EU funding proposals are known for their complexity. EDF applications are even more complex than typical Horizon Europe proposals and for example the support from the Member States’ Ministries of Defence plays an essential role. Particularly, the EDF will offer significant growth opportunities to defence technology companies and it is extremely important to find suitable collaboration partners and to apply for the funding to set foot on the future European defence industry markets. Anu points out: “The project topics of EDIDP originated from the European Capability Development Plan and most of the topics will be relevant also in the approaching EDF programme. The idea is to proceed from studying new concepts to mature products that the member countries will purchase. This may require a series of projects. Therefore, it is important to participate in the calls as early as possible.”
Spinverse experts can help the companies in planning and preparing their funding proposal and identifying the right partners. Anu has led many complex large-scale EU funding proposal preparations for different public funding instruments. Her expertise also in the EDIDP/EDF call requirements makes her and her team a perfect choice if you need advice on the forthcoming European Defence Fund calls.
Do not hesitate to contact Anu for a free 30-minute consultation session to find out if your company has the potential for new growth!