The European Network of Defence-related Regions (ENDR) brings together regional authorities and clusters to share experiences and best practices in building defence-related 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 defence and 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 gave a boost to the activities of the ENDR as one of the goals of the Action Plan is to promote co-financing through the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 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 as well as cooperation on building skills for the defence sector.
The ENDR is also promoting the access to the European Defence Fund, which was launched by the Commission in 2017. The European Defence Fund will fund collaborative research and development projects. It also aims to pursue synergies with other sources of EU funding, such as ESIF.
Defence-related SMEs are key enablers of innovation and growth and provide an important contribution to regional economic development. The Commission released the following publications that aim to guide these SMEs to EU funding opportunities:
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