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).

The total budget for the PADR is €90 million, with calls for proposals in 2017, 2018 and 2019. SMEs, industrial clusters, defence associations, national or European research institutes and universities can participate in calls.


Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) 2017

In 2017, calls for proposals with funding totalling €25 million were launched on 3 topics:

  • a large demonstrator on unmanned systems to enhance maritime situational awareness (partially funded with the 2017 budget);
  • force protection and future generic open soldier system reference architecture;
  • and strategic technology foresight.

Some 24 proposals were received from 190 entities of which 60 are SMEs. The selected projects kicked off involving big companies, technology institutes and 23 SMEs.


Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) 2018

The 2018 calls for proposals were launched in March with a budget of €40 million on 3 topics:

  • European high-performance, trustable (re)configurable system-on-a-chip or system-in-package components for defence applications;
  • European high power laser effector;
  • Strategic technology foresight, focusing on the critical defence technological dependencies for the EU.

A substantial part of the 2018 budget is reserved for additional funding of the large demonstrator project selected in 2017.

Find out more about the calls for proposals and the participation requirements here.


Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) 2019

The following calls for proposals were launched on 19 March with a budget of €25 million:

  1. Combined radar, communications, and electronic warfare functions based on European Active Electronically Scanned Arrays for military applications
  2.  Emerging Game-changers
    Challenging the future
  3. Interoperability standards for military unmanned systems

Eligible consortia can apply to the 2019 calls for proposals until the end of August.

The first projects will be selected before the end of 2019, followed by the official signing of grant agreements.

Find out more about the work programme.


European Defence Research Programme 2021-2027

Whereas the PADR is the first tangible activity in the EDF, it will be followed in the post-2020 period by a research programme with EU funding of the order of €500 million a year. This will make the EU one of the biggest defence research investors in Europe.


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