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2024 EDA Defence Innovation Prize opens for applications

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The European Defence Agency (EDA) has published its call on 15 March 2024 for applications for the 2024 edition of its Defence Innovation Prize, which this year is dedicated to technologies for maritime situational awareness in terms of critical infrastructure protection and technologies for smart sensing. The prize winners are expected to propose ideas which would, if implemented between now and 2030, contribute to improving and enhance specific EU defence capabilities. A total of two prizes (one prize per category) will be awarded for the best innovative ideas. The winning ideas or concepts will each be awarded €30,000 and presented during the EDA Annual Conference 2024.

Open for applications 

Proposals for this edition of the EDA Defence Innovation Prize must be in the scope of one of the following topics:

  • Topic 1: Innovative concepts, technologies, and solutions for critical maritime infrastructure protection.
  • Topic 2: Cognitive sensing for enhanced ISTAR systems performance in defence applications.

The EDA Defence Innovation Prize aims to stimulate defence technological innovation in Europe by supporting non-defence Research and Technology (R&T) communities and innovators who are set to play an ever-bigger role in developing and producing Europe’s future defence capabilities.

How to apply? 

The deadline for submitting applications is 14 June 2024 at 17h00 (Brussels time). 

The prize will be awarded during EDA's Annual conference in Brussels in December 2024. 

The Contest is open on equal terms to all natural and legal persons established within the European Defence Agency participating Member States (+ Switzerland).

HEDI – fostering defence innovation

The EDA Defence Innovation Prize is organised under the umbrella of HEDI (Hub for EU Defence Innovation), the new platform for innovation led by EDA that was established in March 2022 derived from ‘’Strategic Compass for EU Defence and Security’’, as one of its main recommendations. HEDI’s objective is to foster innovative solutions following a systematic approach from an idea towards cutting-edge military capabilities.

The innovation prize complements other HEDI’s services such as the EDA Research, Technology and Innovation Papers Awards or proofs-of-concept, uptakes of innovation (short field experimental campaigns).

What is expected from applicants? 

Submitted innovations must be the applicants’ own intellectual property. However, submissions may include improvements of existing ideas, new combinations, or adaptations thereof and which are applicable in a different context. The applicants must demonstrate the innovative added value of their ideas, compared to what already exists.  

Proposals must be innovative, implementable through a collaborative project and financially affordable in terms of future development and exploitation. 

The contest is especially, but not exclusively, aimed at non-traditional defence industries, including civil or dual-use producers, and researchers as they play a growing role in inventing and creating the disruptive capabilities that Member States’ armed forces will need tomorrow.  

No specific defence background is required to be considered for the prize, and consideration is open to innovators from all types of industries and research institutions in EDA Member States (+CH), including defence and civil/commercial producers, large companies, start-ups / SMEs, and military/civil research communities.