Growth opportunities for companies developing defence technologies

In 2017, the European Commission officially launched the European Defence Fund to boost Europe’s defence capabilities. From 2021 onwards, the new European Defence Fund (EDF), worth 13 B€, will foster an innovative and competitive defence industrial base and contribute to the EU's strategic autonomy. Two pilot programmes, the European defence industrial development programme (EDIDP) and the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) precede the EDF. EDIDP is an industrial programme of the EU aiming to support the competitiveness and innovation capacity of the union’s defence industry, whereas PADR funds research projects.

We asked our Defence and Security expert Anu Ilmonen to tell us more about the European funding instruments for defence technologies.

Get ready for the European defence industrial development programme call in December 2020

Under the European Defence Fund, 8.9 B€ of the total budget will be available to co-finance collaborative capability development projects that are complemented with national contributions, whereas 4.1 B€ is used to fund collaborative defence research to address emerging and future security threats. Before the European Defence Fund is launched in 2021,  there will be one more call in the  European defence industrial development programme (EDIDP), namely on the 1st of December this year. Therefore, this is the right time to get the preparations for the application up to speed as the process can be rather complex and time-consuming. The December call’s budget is 163.5 M€.

Anu says: “In the EDIDP and upcoming European Defence Fund projects, the European defence capabilities will be developed and if the companies specialised on this sector miss out on joining the development work, they also miss out on remarkable future growth opportunities.”

Current funding instruments with their topics are listed in the below table.

defence_table_Spinverse-1Table 1: Funding instruments for European defence technologies.

Why is European Union collaborating on defence technologies?

Currently, 80% of defence procurement is run on a purely national basis, leading to costly duplication of military capabilities. Looking at the statistics, Europe has six times as many different weapon systems than the US. For Europe, this translates into an extremely high defence expenditure. The aim EDIDP and EDF is to establish European business consortiums that are able to create competitive and highly innovative weapon systems  fulfilling the capability needs of several EU member states. The increasing mass production volumes will lower the costs throughout the life cycle of the product and increase the European security of supply. This also decreases EU’s dependence on non-EU military technologies and products.

Based on the information shared by the European Commission, collaborative projects involving at least three eligible entities established in the Union and not controlled by third countries/companies from at least three EU member states can apply for funding. The participation of third countries’ entities is subject to defined conditions to ensure the security and defence interests of the EU and its member states. Finding partners in other countries is therefore essential for funding eligibility.

How can Spinverse help with the funding applications?

The requirements for EU funding proposals are known for their complexity. EDIDP and EDF applications are even more complex than typical H2020 proposals and for example the support from the member states’ Ministries of Defence plays an essential role. The EDIDP and EDF will offer significant growth opportunities to defence technology companies and it is extremely important to apply for the funding and find suitable collaboration partners to set foot on the European defence technology markets. Anu points out: “The project topics of EDIDP originate from the European Capability Development Plan and most of the topics will be relevant also in the coming 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 successful large-scale EU funding proposal preparations and has familiarised herself with the EDIDP call requirements, making her and her team a perfect choice if you need advice on EDIDP and the upcoming 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!

More information:

Factsheet: European Defence Fund

EDIDP funding opportunities