The EDA Defence Innovation Prize aims to stimulate defence technological innovation in Europe by reaching out to both defence and especially non-defence R&T communities and innovators set to play an ever bigger role in developing and producing Europe’s future defence capabilities.

The history of EDA Defence Innovation Prize goes back to 2018: however, from 2023 onwards, it is organised under the umbrella of the Hub for EU Defence Innovation (HEDI), a  new platform for innovation lead by EDA that was established in March 2022 by the EU’s Strategic Compass for Defence and Security.The innovation prize complements other HEDI’s services such as the EDA Research, Technology and Innovation Papers Awards, proof-of-concept, and recently activated uptake of innovation - short field testing and evaluation campaigns.

This year, the EDA Defence Innovation Prize 2024 focuses on innovative, defence-related ideas in the following categories:

  1. Critical maritime infrastructure protection.
  2. Smart sensing.

A total of two prizes (one prize per category) will be awarded to the best innovative ideas. Specifically, proposals 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 prize-winners are expected to propose ideas which would, if implemented between now and 2030, contribute to improve and enhance specific EU defence capabilities.

About the EDA Defence Innovation Prize 2024

Two winning ideas or concepts will be worth €30 000,00 each.

Winners will have the possibility to meet partners for future collaborative projects within the EDA (potentially eligible for EU R&T co-funding). A dedicated workshop will be also held in 2025 with the best received proposals.  

Applications will be evaluated with a committee composed of EDA staff.

The prizes will be given out during the 2024 EDA Annual Conference in Brussels (travel expenses up to €1 000 covered per up to two winner’s representatives). More details in the Rules of Contest.

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 thereof, and 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.

How to apply?

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

  • Contest rules
  • Application criteria/details can be found here (word / PDF)
  • More information on EDA's Defence Innovation Prize

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, including defence and civil/commercial producers, large companies, start-ups / SMEs, and civil research communities.

Time schedule

  • 15 March 2024: Launch of the prize campaign
  • 14 June 2024: Deadline for submissions
  • 17 June 2024: Assessment of submissions
  • November 2024:  Winners notified by the EDA
  • December 2024 EDA Annual Conference: EDA Defence Innovation Prize award ceremony in Brussels
  • Spring 2025: 4th EDA Defence Innovation Prize Workshop

For questions, please contact