The European Network of Defence-related Regions (ENDR) brings together regional authorities and clusters to share experiences and best practices in building dual-use strategies and accessing EU funding, particularly to the benefit of SMEs.
The ENDR aims to inspire dual-use and defence-related activities among regional authorities, clusters and businesses by offering a platform to share information on new initiatives, increase their visibility, and build partnerships. These activities will also support SMEs and entrepreneurs eager to develop dual-use technologies, products and services. Dual-use technologies have both military and civilian applications and are found across a wide range of sectors such as energy, communication technologies, aerospace, textiles and chemicals. ENDR’s ultimate objective is to increase the number of defence-related projects accessing EU funding and thus contribute to Europe’s economic growth and regional development.
On 30 November 2016 the Commission adopted the European Defence Action Plan with concrete measures to support a strong and innovative European defence industry and defence capability priorities agreed by Member States. This will give a boost to the activities of the ENDR as one of the goals of the Action Plan will be to promote co-financing through the European Structural and Investment Funds of defence and dual-use activities in research and innovation, as part of regional/national smart specialisation strategies. The Action Plan underlines the support provided by the ENDR to regions that aim to integrate defence-related priorities into their smart specialisation strategies. The ENDR can also be instrumental in promoting regional clusters of excellence in this area.
A collection of best practices and recommendations for the network's future roll-out will be published by the European Commission in late 2017.
Defence-related SMEs are key enablers of innovation and growth and provide an important contribution to regional economic development. The Commission released a Guide for Regions and SMEs – EU Funding for Dual Use in 2014 to clarify the opportunities and eligibility rules for dual-use projects funded by EU instruments such as COSME, Horizon 2020, and the European Structural and Investment Funds. It also provides ideas and tips on how companies and public administrations could develop new dual-use strategies.
SMEs can also tap into the potential of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). The network can guide SMEs engaged in dual-use activities towards:
- networking and partnerships;
- technology transfers;
- finding business opportunities.
Policy background and useful links