The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) aims to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU by correcting imbalances between its regions.
In 2021-2027 it will enable investments in a smarter, greener, more connected and more social Europe that is closer to its citizens. It is jointly managed by the European Commission and the EU countries.
The defence sector can access ERDF to co-fund productive cross-border investment projects and modernise supply chains. These funds help SMEs prepare for commercialisation and to boost regional competitiveness
Around EUR 80 billion out of the EUR 226 billion of the ERDF envelope will be concentrated on promoting innovative and smart economic transformation. The ERDF may fund defence and dual-use activities in research and innovation, as part of a smart specialisation strategy. Several defence-related SMEs have already successfully applied for funding by the ERDF. A Commission study showed how ERDF has funded defence and dual use projects in the period 2014-2020.
INTERREG Europe will support cross-border mobility, and efforts to develop environmental protection, emergency services, skilled jobs and access to public services for the next EU generation. Two new objectives will also steer European territorial cooperation: ‘Better cooperation governance’ and ‘A safer, more secure Europe’.
Managing Authorities – usually a national, regional or local public authority or public/private body – are appointed by Member States for each operational programme. These are the reference points for region-specific up-to-date information on how exactly to apply for funding in your region.
SMEs, companies and research organisations interested in applying for ERDF funding should contact regional managing authorities. Regional authorities can also use the opportunities offered by the Interregional cooperation programme INTERREG to share or exchange experiences in the field of public support to implement a dual-use strategy.