The European Defence Agency (EDA) has received 24 submissions with consortia including around 190 entities (with some applying to various calls in different consortia) in response to the three Calls for Proposals for the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR).
The objective of this year’s calls is to award grant agreements for a value of some €22 million from the Preparatory Action’s 2017 budget and to exercise options of up to an additional €20 million next year, to be funded under the 2018 budget, once available.
“The high interest in the Preparatory Action on Defence Research was obvious from the Information Day and Brokerage Event, conducted by the EDA and the European Commission in June 2017, with over 400 participants. What is noteworthy, besides the number of submissions itself, is the incredible amount of entities - research institutes, small and mediums size enterprises and prime companies - which have bid for the various calls. This reflects the urgent need for more defence research funding, cross-border collaboration and harmonisation in Europe. With the PADR, we are on the right path to a more comprehensive European Defence Research Programme after 2020”, commented Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency.
Research in defence-related technologies is critical for the development of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base and to strengthen EU Member States’ strategic autonomy.
The European Commission launched the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) on 11 April 2017. The foreseen budget is €90 million over three years. The aim of the PA is to test and lay the groundwork for a possible European Defence Research Programme in the next Multiannual Financial Framework after 2020.
The EDA and the European Commission signed a Delegation Agreement on 31 May 2017, by which EDA became the PADR’s implementing agency. The EDA published the first three Calls for Proposals on 7 June 2017. The deadlines to respond were 28 September 2017 for the 'research in technology and products in the context of Force Protection and Soldier Systems' and 'strategic technology foresight' topics, and 5 October 2017 for the 'technological demonstrator for enhanced situational awareness in a naval environment' topic.
The EDA will now conduct evaluations with the support of independent subject matter experts. The evaluation and scrutiny process will last until December 2017. The EDA expects to sign the various grants with the beneficiaries towards the end of 2017 and early 2018.
Based on the budgets for 2018 and 2019, additional Calls for Proposals and Information Days are in preparation.
Before the PADR, a Pilot Project (PP) was introduced in the EU budget in 2015 and 2016, adopted by the European Council and the European Parliament, on the basis of an initiative by the latter, and with the EDA as implementing agency. With a budget of €1.4 million, the three projects of the PP are well under way.