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Nathalie Guichard, new EDA Director for Research, Technology and Innovation

Nathalie Guichard joins the European Defence Agency (EDA) as Research, Technology and Innovation (RTI) Director. Ms Guichard is a Brigadier General and was previously the managing director of L’Atelier Industriel de l’Aéronautique de Clermont-Ferrand (AIA CF), a French state-owned military aircraft maintenance facility . 

I am delighted and honoured to be joining the European Defence Agency at this critical time. Innovation is indispensable for our armed forces, and it is at the European level that we can coordinate our efforts with the civilian sector to give us the technological superiority we need,” Ms Guichard said upon taking up her duties. 

Ms Guichard is a military engineer who graduated from France's L'École polytechnique and the Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace (ISAE-Supaéro). She also holds a master’s degree in public management. 

With her engineering background, Ms Guichard brings a wealth of experience to EDA. She started her career in 1990 as a project manager for flying test bench modification. Two years later, she became head of the equipment maintenance department. After transferring to the aeronautical programs office of Délégation générale pour l’armement (DGA), France’s procurement agency, in 1998, Ms Guichard then became the Rafale manufacturing and support manager at the French Ministry of Defence.  

In 2001, Ms Guichard left the ministry and became the information technology adviser of Auvergne regional prefect, to develop mobile phone and wide bandwidth networks, among other projects. She also liaised with the European Regional Development Fund. She joined Clermont Ferrand community of cities to develop start-ups as well as technology transfer from university research centres to local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In 2016, she returned to the military sphere, first as deputy managing director and then chief operating officer of AIA CF, before becoming managing director in 2020. 

As Research, Technology and Innovation Director, Ms Guichard leads EDA’s directorate that fosters and supports defence research in the European Union. Most notably, her directorate runs the Hub for EU Defence Innovation, known as HEDI, which stimulates and facilitates cooperation on defence innovation among Member States while also working with the European Commission and ensuring coherence with NATO innovation initiatives. HEDI’s activities contribute to EU priorities for capability development and defence research, as well as on skills, technologies, and manufacturing capabilities.