Over 1 billion Euro to develop next generation European Defence technologies

2024 Work Programme of the European Defence Fund

The European Defence Fund (EDF) has recently launched its 2024 Work Programme, marking a significant step forward in the European Union’s commitment to bolstering its defence capabilities through collaborative research and development projects. With a total budget of €7.95 billion for the period 2021-2027, the EDF represents a pivotal initiative by the European Commission to enhance the collaborative efforts of companies, including SMEs, research actors across the EU, and to foster the development of cutting-edge, interoperable defence technologies and equipment. This year EDF call budget will support project for a total budget of up to €1.1 billion, deadline to apply: 5 November 2024.

 The 2024 Work Programme is organized around 32 topics, distributed across 6 thematic calls for proposals and 2 non-thematic calls specifically dedicated to SMEs. This structure is designed to address critical areas in defence, including countering hypersonic missiles, developing a broad range of unmanned vehicles (both aerial and ground-based), and advancing secure space communication technologies. The programme also aims to lay the groundwork for future defence systems, such as next-generation helicopters and mid-size cargo aircraft. 

Features and Innovations in Defence through EDF

A distinctive feature of the EDF’s approach is its comprehensive support and advisory services provided to participants throughout the entire cycle of research and development. This is complemented by a bonus system designed to encourage participation by SMEs, mid-caps, and projects connected to the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) initiative. To be eligible for funding, consortia must consist of at least three entities from different Member States or associated countries (Norway being the current associated country), although calls for disruptive technologies allow for smaller consortia. It’s crucial that participants and subcontractors are based in the EU and maintain their executive management structure within the EU to qualify. 

 Furthermore, the 2024 Work Programme introduces the EU Defence Innovation Scheme (EUDIS), with a total funding of €225 million, to promote defence innovation and inclusiveness. EUDIS aims to support smaller players and innovators through various measures, including annual defence hackathons, business coaching for SME beneficiaries, and a new initiative for a Business Accelerator and Matchmaking with investors. 

 The EDF’s efforts are in direct alignment with the security and defence interests of the Union, reflecting defence capability priorities agreed by Member States within the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) framework. The Fund builds upon earlier initiatives like the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), seeking to foster a competitive and innovative European defence industrial base. 

 Interested to find out if this call is for you? Contact our team of experts to exchange on your project idea.  

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