EU Funding Opportunities

The European Defence Agency aims at raising awareness, transfer know-how and build capacity across the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base on how to access EU funding opportunities, with particular focus on European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), the new EU COSME (Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs) Programme and Horizon 2020. More information in the table below. 

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European Structural and
Investment Funds (ESIF)

Access to EDA's support platform
See EDA's ESIF success stories

Access to EDA's support platform
Horizon 2020

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF1) European Territorial Cooperation goal
: CBC / Interreg) 
European Social Fund (ESF3) Financial instruments4 Access to markets Thematic areas SME instrument5 Financial instruments
Overall Goal JOB CREATION and COMPETI-TIVENESS Cross-border / Transnational COOPERATION HUMAN CAPITAL training and skilling  FINANCING SMEs SME/Clusters ACCESS to MARKETS Cross-border RESEARCH and INNOVATION (R&I) RESEARCH and INNOVATION in SMEs Access to RISK FINANCE for R&I
(can apply)
SMEs6, large companies, academia, (other) research institutes, public bodies, consortia
SMEs / large companies, academia, (other) research institutes, training centres, NGOs, other private/public bodies, consortia
Projects from enterprises / companies, academia, (other) research institutes, training centres, NGOs, other private/public bodies, consortia
SMEs (but EIF restricted sectors7
Clusters / Cluster partnerships
Consortia with minimum 3 participants from 3 different Member States

SMEs, Mid-Caps9,  Large Caps (but EIB excluded sectors10
/ EIF restricted sectors)

Productive investment projects in the defence sector. Projects supporting the modernisation of the defence supply chains. Defence and dual-use12 activities in research and innovation
Projects supporting key skills and competencies in both the defence and dual-use domains
Enterprise expansion and growth13

Projects on partnership building / cluster internationalisation
Research and innovation activities with an exclusive focus on civil applications
Research and innovation activities with an exclusive focus on civil applications
Enterprise viability and growth14
(funding tool)
Grants, loans, loan guarantees, equity
Grants, loans
Grants, loans
Loans, loan guarantees, equity
Grants, prizes, procurement, pre-commercial procurement, public procurement of innovative solutions
Loans, loan guarantees, equity
(deployment period)
2014-2020: calls for proposals  and/or (continuously) «open window»
2014-2020: calls for proposals15 and/or (continuously) «open window»  2014-2020: calls for proposals and/or (continuously) «open window»
2014-2020: always open (demand-driven16) 2014-2020: calls for proposals
2014-2020: (normally) open call for project proposal
2014-2020 (3-4 cut-off dates per year)
2014-2020: always open (demand-driven)
(to apply)
Managing Authorities17

Managing Authorities
Managing Authorities
Financial intermediaries18

European Commission and JUs20
Financial intermediaries
(per capita)
Up to €50 mn (but also above if EC approves)
Up to €50 mn (but also above if EC approves)
Not defined (call related)
≤ €150.000 for all SMEs; above only for "non-innovative" SMEs
Not defined
(call related)
Funding range: €1-50 mn
Phase I: €50.000 (lump sum) per project. Phase II: €500.000-  2,5 mn21
Loans: between €25.000 and €7,5 mn
Project folder application
Project folder application
Project folder application
No need for projects or business plans22

Project folder application
Online application (Horizon 2020 participant portal23)
Online application (Horizon 2020 participant portal)
No need for projects or business plans24



1 ERDF: European Regional Development Fund - one of the five European Structural and Investment Funds (R&T, SMEs, ICT, energy, etc.).

2 ETC: European Territorial Cooperation goal - provides for joint actions/projects between national, regional and local actors from different Member States.

3 ESF: European Social Fund (jobs, skills, training, …). N.B.: ERDF + ESF are together often referred to simply as «Structural Funds».

4 Financial instruments: loans, guarantees, equity investments («money that has to repaid back by the recipient»: not grants / subsidies).

5 H2020 budget earmarked for SMEs.

6 SME definition: see EC Recommendation (2003/361/EC), 6 May 2003.

7 EIF (European Investment Fund) restricted sectors: "The EIF applies restrictions to ... the financing of the production of and trade in weapons and ammunition of any kind. This restriction does not apply to the extent such activities are part of or accessory to explicit EU policies" (Guidelines on the EIF Restricted Sectors, Board of Directors, 13/07/2010).

8 Innovative entities: see Annex III to EIF Open Call for Expression of Interest to select Financial Intermediaries under InnovFin SME Guarantee facility, “2. Innovation Eligibility Criteria”: pages 9-10.

9 Mid-Caps: 250-3000 employees.

10 EIB (European Investment Bank) excluded activities: "Activities excluded from EIB lending (22 April 2013) - Type of activities: 1) Ammunition and weapons, military/police equipment or infrastructure. Comments/Clarifications: includes explosives and sporting weapons”.

11 This is meant to be limited to a purely EDA perspective.

12 Dual-use items: dual-use technologies, products, services, mainly national / regional (but still "ETC goal" for purely cross-border / transnational).

13 Not start-ups.

14 «Equity window» is only for SME startup phase.

15 Calls for proposals are all expected to be time-limited, unless specified.

16 Demand-driven: “first-come, first-served” basis.

17 Agencies in Member States, mainly at national/regional level.

18 Financial intermediaries: banks, leasing companies, mutual guarantee schemes/societies, as selected by EIF (information on EU single portal on Access to Finance).

19 EASME: the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises set-up by the European Commission to manage on its behalf several EU programmes.

20 Joint Undertakings (JU) organise their own research agenda and award funding for projects on the basis of open calls (for more information see Partnerships with Industry and Member States).

21 “SME Instrument”: for each phase (1 or 2), EU grant do not cover more than 70% of total cost of the project.

22 Case has to be made for overall entity financial viability.

23 For EC, executive agencies and JU calls.

24 Case has to be made for the financial viability of the overall entity.




Participating Member States

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech
  • Germany
  • Estonia
  • Ireland
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Italy
  • Cyprus
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Hungary
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • UK