Rini Goos, EDA’s Deputy Chief Executive, today addressed Austrian security and defence stakeholders at a seminar in Vienna on EU funding opportunities for defence research (R&T) projects. The event was jointly organised by the EDA, the Austrian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) with the support of the Austrian Defence & Security Industry (ASW).
Around 80 representatives from the Austrian MoD, the Federal Economic Chamber, the security and defence industry, business associations, defence-related research and technology organisations as well as universities participated in the seminar which included awareness raising and in-depth know-how building sessions.
The seminar showed in concrete terms how to access funding and other instruments available within three European Union funding programmes, i.e. COSME (EU Programme for COmpetitiveness of SMEs), the Structural Funds and the Preparatory Action for Defence Research (PADR).
In his opening speech, Rini Goos said: "We take further legitimation and momentum from a ‘window of opportunities’ opened by the 2016 EU Global Strategy of the High Representative of the Union Ms Mogherini (who is also Vice-President of the European Commission and Head of the EDA), and strengthened by the European Defence Action Plan [EDAP] released by the European Commission. The Global Strategy clearly stated that Union funds - to support defence research and technologies and multinational cooperation - are essential prerequisites for European security and defence efforts, underpinned by a strong European defence industry”.
This seminar was the first delivered by EDA since the EDAP proposed that Structural Funds may fund the defence sector. It was also the first EDA’s seminar in a Member State addressing the forthcoming funding opportunities under the Preparatory Action for Defence Research.
The EDA, the European Commission, the Ministry of Defence and Sports, the Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the Austrian Conference on Spatial Planning (ÖROK - as national authority in charge of Structural Funds deployment in Austria) delivered effective presentations about EU funding available for the defence sector currently and in the future.
Under the COSME section of the seminar, a particular focus was put on the Enterprise Europe Network’s local free services.
Additionally, more than 40 Austrian project managers have been trained to apply for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF, the main among the European Investment and Structural Funds) during a dedicated practical coaching session simulating the application process.
The seminar raised interest across all attending stakeholders who were able to establish promising contacts in view of an effective follow-up aimed at accessing EU funding opportunities.
Taking into account the increasing opportunities arising from the recent statement in the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP) that Structural Funds may be used to fund the defence sector, different stakeholders have been very keen to exchange views with Mr Goos and EDA’s experts on how to take advantage of EDA’s related work in close cooperation with the Austrian Ministry of Defence and Sport.