In June 2017 the Commission launched a European Defence Fund, already announced by President Juncker in September 2016 and backed by the European Council in December 2016. The fund establishes 5.5 billion Euro per year to support and coordinate research and innovation in the defence sector, financing collaborative projects that must involve at least three actors from different Member States.

The fund is mainly divided into two sections: the first one concerns the collaborative research and is fully and directly funded from the EU budget (€90 million until the end of 2019 and €500 million per year after 2020), while the second one is due to the co-financing of activities for the development and acquisition of technologies and defence equipment (€500 million in total for 2019 and 2020 and 1 billion per year after 2020 for co-financing of the EU up to 20%, €2 billion until 2020 with a further increase to €4 billion per year after 2020 for projects funded more than 80% by the Member States). The objective is to support Member States' more efficient spending in joint defence capabilities (avoiding unnecessary duplication and liability in the deployability of defence forces), strengthen European citizens' security and foster a competitive and innovative European defence industrial base.

On 9th March 2018 the Commission adopted the working programme for 2018 for the preparatory action that has to be implemented between 2018 and 2020. The resources allocated for 2018 are €40 million of the total €90 million available until the end of 2019. Consequently, three calls of proposals have been opened for projects that must have a duration between 12 and 36 months.

The first call has an indicative amount of up to €12 million and will select one project for the development of a high-performance (re)configurable system-on-a-chip or system-in-package components for defence applications. The objective is to guarantee real-time data processing on which an increasing number of defence applications critically depend upon.

For the second call €5.4 million have been allocated. The aim is to fund one project for the development of a high power laser effector with an output power of well beyond 100 kW and that can operate at a high duty cycle. It should also be able to cope with variable atmospheric conditions and present compact design and size so that it can be mounted on mobile (sea, land or air) platforms.

The third call is aimed at funding one coordination and support action to start the strategic technology foresight and has an indicative amount of up to €1.9 million. The main objective of a long term strategy is to minimize the technological dependence of the EU (including raw materials and basic components for the development of specific technologies).The action must address at least the mapping of current dependencies (possibly down to the raw material sourcing), the identification of technology building blocks for which European technology non-dependence will be crucial and the development of solutions to reduce the risk of military and technological dependence.



Tags: Flash news englishResearch and Innovation engTrentino