There is less than a month to go until our next Business Beyond Borders matchmaking event at FIDAE (Chile, Argentina, 3-8 April). Have you had a chance to register for our matchmaking sessions at FIDAE? This event will target SMEs and Clusters in the Aerospace, Defence and Security sectors. As such, we continue to bring you relevant facts of each of these sectors. This week, we’ll focus on a very important, EU-wide scale initiative – the European Defence Fund.
On June 7 2017, the European Commission launched the European Defence Fund, a funding mechanism that will help EU Member States achieve greater defence cooperation, joint research and development of defence technologies. The establishment of this fund is crucial for a more efficient expenditure of defence budgets; reducing the risk of duplication; and increase joint member cooperation – all of these will, in turn, lead to greater innovation within the defence industry in Europe .
The European Defence Fund comprises two distinct strands: firstly, a Research window; secondly, a Capability Window (Figure 2). This will facilitate a full-spectrum development of the defence industry – from research, to development of prototypes, to acquisition. The research strand of the fund started operating in the end of 2017.
The EU budget allocated 90 million euro until the end of 2019 to directly finance collaborative research projects. There are several priority areas for project proposals: critical defence technologies (electronics, metamaterials, and encryption software); emerging disruptive technologies; and strategic technology foresight .
However, it has been only a few weeks since European Industrial Development Programme has been implemented – and it will be through this programme that the capability window of the Fund will be regulated and financed. The programme has a budget of 500 million euro for the 2019-20 period. Unlike the research window, however, the development programme will be primarily financed by Member States, with EU funding offering extra financial support. Similarly to the research phase, there are several priority areas: drones, cyber security, AI, and big data. Plus, in order to encourage greater cooperation between Member States, the programme’s participation requirements are adamant in the need for cross-border cooperation by stating that proposals must include at least 3 companies from a minimum of 2 Member States .
The European Industrial Development Programme has a particular focus on SMEs operating in the defence sector, and a portion of overall budget will seek to support projects that ‘enable the cross-border participation of SMEs’. In addition, the Commission is looking into other financial instruments, like Regional or National Banks, and European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) to provide extra financial support to SME .
Register for the next Business Beyond Borders matchmaking event for SMEs and Clusters at FIDAE 2018: https://www.b2match.eu/fidae2018
|||E. Commission, “europa.eu,” 7 June 2017. [Online]. Available: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-1508_en.htm.|
|||M. Banks, “Defense News,” February 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.defensenews.com/industry/2018/02/23/eu-policymakers-support-funds-for-cross-border-defense-industry-cooperation/.|
|||E. Commission, “The European Defence Fund: Questions and Answers,” June 2017. [Online]. Available: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-17-1476_en.htm.|