In line with defence R&T priorities identified within its CapTechs, the European Defence Agency has successfully supported a Polish small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) to access EU funding from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) for a 2 million euro project dealing with tropospheric radio-wave propagation to extend the range of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) operations. (picture: Airbus DS)
Following an EDA procedure inviting Member States’ Ministries of Defence to identify and propose R&T projects, which EDA could support in view of receiving ESIF funding, the Polish Ministry of Defence submitted this project to EDA. The project holder, an SME, has been awarded the full amount it had applied for, namely two-third of the total project cost.
This is already the fifth EDA-supported R&T project funded by ESIF.
EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq welcomed the fact that all five EDA-supported R&T projects funded by ESIF are led by SMEs, in line with the European Council’s call to all relevant actors to work on fostering investments in defence supply-chains, with a particular focus on SMEs.
Within this scope, EDA has recently:
- launched a free-of-charge assistance process focusing on access to the second main fund among ESIF, the European Social Fund (ESF), in support of key skills and competencies for defence (KSC). Under this procedure [“ESF4KSC”], MoDs may forward to EDA (by the 18th of September 2017) KSC-related projects collected nationally from stakeholders;
- published an EDA’s “ESIF web-platform” to provide any potential defence-related stakeholder (e.g. MoDs, industry, research-and-technology organisations, academia, clusters) with an interactive mapping on ‘sources’ of regional, national and transnational calls for proposals under Structural Funds as well as respective contact details of ESIF managing authorities in charge for funding allocation.
With EDA’s support, defence-related technology domains benefitting from ESIF so far include energy, naval, robotics, components and modules, radio-frequency sensors, aerial, advanced materials and structures, communication Information Systems. Therefore, EDA’s work has proved that ESIF is a relevant opportunity for both defence industry and RTOs, additionally to the budget earmarked for defence.
EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq stated: “EDA will continue to act as a facilitator to exploit wider EU policies for the benefit of defence and, based on Member States’ prioritisation, to recommend the allocation of EU funding to projects and programmes”.