The 2020 edition of the Prize, which looked for the most innovative ideas, technologies and solutions for the countering of swarms of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), was won by two winners: an Italian research centre; and an Estonian SME in cooperation with a Finnish University.

This year, the EDA Defence Innovation Prize is on the domain of:

Innovative solutions & technologies on Human-Machine Interfaces enabling Human-Machine-Teaming for Defence

This innovation topic looks for stimulating innovative solutions & technologies on Human Machine Interfaces to enable Human Machine Teaming for Defence Applications in Air, Land and Maritime platforms. Some examples of these technologies are:

  • Gesture commands,
  • Head and tracking; eye gesture and wide area eye tracking,
  • Voice commands and 3-D audio,
  • Immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality,
  • Wearable human-machine-interfaces
  • Human multi-asset interaction
  • Haptic control and feedback
  • Virtual Assistants
  • Crew Monitoring System such as brain computing interface and pilot sensing and monitoring
  • Stress and health monitoring
  • Autonomous decision-making functions such as human-AI interaction

Some examples of where the innovation on these technologies would enable Human Machine Teaming for Defence operations are:

  • Medical and Casualties Evacuation
  • Supply Chain and Precision Air Drop
  • Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance

What is the EDA Defence Innovation Prize

The winning idea/concept will be worth 30,000€.

The prize winner will be selected by an evaluation committee composed of EDA staff. The prize will be handed over during the 2021 EDA Annual Conference in Brussels.

The prize winner will also have the opportunity to advertise their ideas in the EDA’s bi-annual magazine (European Defence Matters), on the EDA’ website and through the Agency’s social media channels. Most importantly, the winner will have the possibility to meet partners for future collaborative projects within the EDA framework, potentially eligible for EU R&T co-funding.

Furthermore, proposals that reach a minimum threshold on the evaluation criteria will meet with CapTech Moderators to exchange some views in the maturity of the technology and potential implementation in the CapTechs’ projects at a dedicated Defence Innovation Workshop in spring 2022.

Why a Defence Innovation Prize?

The award, organised by EDA since 2018, aims to stimulate defence technological innovation in Europe, in particular by reaching out to non-defence R&T communities and innovators set to play an ever-bigger role in developing and producing Europe’s future defence capabilities. It is also meant to provide non-traditional defence stakeholders (civil industries, SMEs, research organisations, universities, etc.) with an opportunity to showcase their know-how in domains relevant for defence, maximize dual-use synergies and engage in partnerships with the defence sector.

What is expected from applicants?

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

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

Who can apply?

The contest is especially (but not exclusively) aimed at non-traditional defence industries (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. The contest also provides a good opportunity for small and medium sized enterprises, research organisations and universities involved in defence R&D activities to demonstrate their know-how, maximize dual-use synergies and create partnerships with key players in the defence field.

No specific defence background is required to participate in the contest which is open to innovators from ALL types of industries and research institutions in the EDA Member States: defence & civil/commercial producers, large companies & SMEs, defence-related & civil research communities. Applications from dual-use and civil/commercial innovators and researchers are even particularly encouraged. 

Full details for participation can be consulted in the Rules of Contest, Corrigendum 1 Rules of Contest and the enclosed annexes.

Time schedule

  • 15 MAR 2021
    Launch of the Contest
  • 31 AUG 2021
    Deadline for submissions
  • SEP-OCT 2021
    Assessment of submissions
  • END OCT 2021
    Winners are notified by the EDA
  • 2021 EDA Annual Conference
    EDA Defence Innovation Prize award ceremony in Brussels
  • APR 2022
    Defence Innovation Workshop

If you have any difficulties applying or wish to ask any questions please contact

Previous editions of the EDA Defence Innovation Prize

To access the information released on the previous editions of the EDA Defence Innovation Prize, please follow the links hereunder: