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The Commission announced plans to grant a total EU funding of almost €1.2 billion supporting 61 collaborative defence research and development projects selected following the first ever calls for proposals under the European Defence Fund (EDF).

With the proposals selected for funding, the EDF will support high-end defence capability projects such as the next generation of fighter aircrafts, tanks and ships, as well as critical defence technologies such as military cloud, Artificial Intelligence, semiconductors, space, cyber or medical counter-measures. It will also spearhead disruptive technologies, notably in quantum technologies and new materials and tap into promising SMEs and start-ups.

The success of the first year of the EDF shows that its model, based on those of its two precursor programmes (the Preparatory Action on Defence Research ‘PADR' and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme ‘EDIDP', is fit for its purpose:

Highly attractive programme with strong interest by EU industry: a record number – overtaking by far the precursor programmes - of 142 proposals received, made up of large prime industries, SMEs, midcaps and RTOs, covering all calls and topics published;

Wide geographical coverage: almost 700 legal entities from 26 EU Member States and Norway participating in the selected proposals;

Reinforced defence cooperation: on average, selected proposals involve 18 entities from 8 EU Member States and Norway;

Strong involvement of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs): SMEs represent over 40% of all entities in selected proposals receiving close to 20% of the total requested EU funding;

Good balance between research and capability development: €322 million to fund 31 research projects and €845 million to fund 30 large-scale projects to develop systems and technologies for defence capabilities;

Support to disruptive technologies for defence: over 5% of the budget dedicated to fund game-changing ideas that will bring innovation to radically change the concepts and conduct of defence affairs;

Consistency with priorities at EU level: notably the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), with half of the selected development proposals claiming to be established in the context of a PESCO project.

The Commission services will now enter into grant agreement preparation with the selected applying consortia. Following the successful conclusion of the grant agreement preparations and the adoption of a Commission award decision, the grant agreements will be signed before the end of the year.