What is the Commission proposing?
It proposes to implement a series of concrete measures to break down entry barriers and to put in place a wide range of supports to help EU innovative companies to bring their ideas to market and deliver a meaningful difference for EU Defence.
Through the EU Defence Innovation Scheme the Commission will:
- Identify ideas, technologies and solutions that need support, for example because their potential for defence has not yet been fully exploited or because they face economic challenges.
- Support maturity of ideas from a technological perspective or from a market development perspective.
- Integrate ideas into the capability development and support spin-outs to civil sectors.
In specific terms the Commission proposes to establish:
- A dual-use incubator to allow better spin-in and spin-out between civil and defence and to spur technological maturation/adaptation.
- Cross-border innovation networks, as originally envisaged in the Action Plan on Synergies,to incorporate the broader defence ecosystem and to test and validate applications in defence-specific environments.
- Technological challenges as well as a Defence Equity Facility similar to the CASSINI Seed and Growth Funding Facility.
- With this defence equity facility, using 100 million from EDF, we expect to leverage between €400 M and €500 M additional equity investments from other public and private sources.
- Supporting measures for innovative companies: matchmaking with primes, investors and end-users, business coaching and the organisation of hackathons.
In terms of funding, the Commission will leverage the available budget from the European Defence Fund (€1.46 Bn), combined with Co-funding from Member States (€90 M) and also expects to leverage between €400 M and €500 M from other public and private sources. In overall terms, the EU Defence Innovation Scheme will see a total investment of close to €2 Bn in defence innovation during the lifetime of the current MFF. With this the Commission is delivering on its aim to make the EDF a programme for entities of all sizes across all Member States.
Who will the Commission implement this with?
- To ensure that this scheme is a success the Commission must use all internal expertise at its disposal and will work closely with the EDA, the EIC and the EIF.
- The Commission will also work with NATO to ensure that we can develop synergies when and where possible.
However, to achieve real and lasting success we need to get the support of all Member States. We look forward to that support!
Why now? A new Strategic Context
The world we knew has changed with the unprovoked and unjustified Russian military aggression against Ukraine. The EU needs to step up, to be able to act and protect its citizens, while reducing its dependencies.
To stay competitive, increase the European sovereignty and create strategic advantages, including for the battlefield, we have to increase our support for Research, Technology Development and Innovation.
We must invest more, and better. We must foster synergies between civilian, defence and space research and taking action to involve our defence industry and SMEs.
- Member States have now expressed their willingness to invest more and better in defence capabilities and innovative technologies.
- It is clear that innovation is key to bolster our defence capabilities and to reduce strategic dependencies. The Action Plan on Synergies, the Defence Package and the Strategic Compass all call for innovation and the current and planned innovation measures are brought together in the EU Defence Innovation Scheme.
- There are several barriers to innovation that have been identified for dual-use and defence applications. Some of them are more related to economic aspects, while others are more related to technology and know-how.
What have we done up to now to support defence innovation?
- Starting in 2017, a new framework for EU-wide and cross-border defence R&D cooperation has been created through PADR, EDIDP and now: the European Defence Fund. All these programmes have in-built measures to encourage participation of various sized companies across all Member States. All of these programmes already included measures to support innovation.