European Union (EU) Funding


The European Defence Fund (EDF) is a new initiative that supports the whole cycle of collaborative defence products and technologies development. Through the Fund, funding from the EU budget will be made available for collaborative research and development (including in particular prototyping) projects, while practical support will be provided for joint defence equipment and technology acquisition by Member States.

A critical element of the Fund is that it incentivises Member States to cooperate and spend money more effectively on defence through supplementing national investments in joint defence-oriented research and development projects. It also recognises the importance of fostering the cross-border participation of SMEs in view of their crucial contribution to Europe's defence sector.  This is why the Fund will ensure maximum possible opportunities for companies of all sizes and from all Member States to participate.


If you have a question about the European Defence Fund, click here.


Collaborative research into innovative defence technologies and products is being directly funded from the EU budget for the first time, through the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR). This three-year funding programme will lead to a larger European Defence Research Programme (EDRP).


On 18 July 2018 the European Parliament and Council adopted a regulation establishing a European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), which aims to co-finance collaborative defence capability development projects with important cross-border participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


Programmes like COSME, European Structural and Investment Funds and Horizon 2020 are also available to SMEs and other entities for the development of dual use and/or defence-related projects.


To ensure technological skills are available to industry to develop and produce common capabilities, funding opportunities are also made available. Through a COSME-funded project the Commission will launch on 19 June 2018 a European Defence Skills Partnership to produce a sectoral strategy on skills. This action is part of the Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills initiative.

Funding opportunities under COSME, Erasmus+ and the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) will follow to support this process led by industry. The Skills Initiative, launched with the New Skills Agenda for Europe and supported by the European Defence Action Plan, identifies ESIF as key in rolling out scalable and sustainable actions at the national and regional levels.

More information on skills in defence.