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European Defence Fund – Open call focused on SMEs for research on innovative and future-oriented defence solutions – 2021

The European Defence Fund aims at fostering the competitiveness, efficiency and innovation capacity of the defence technological and industrial base throughout the European Union.

17.5 million euro

Appeal framework

Institution European Commission
Regions European Economic Area, European Union

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Priorities and funded actions


  • To encourage the driving role of SMEs in bringing forward innovation, agility and ability to progress technologies, possibly adapting them from civil to defence applications, in view of turning research results into products.


  • Priority 1: Developping innovative and cost-effective solutions for defence applications;
  • Priority 2: Creating ground-breaking or novel concepts and approaches, new promising future technological improvements or the application of technologies or concepts previously not applied in the defence sector;
  • Priority 3: Enhancing innovation capacity across Europe by involvement of SMEs that can make a difference in the future;
  • Priority 4: Increasing the potential for future market creation for SMEs, especially by facilitating access of SMEs to defence markets and supply chains;
  • Priority 5: Contribute to the development of European research and technology ecosystems and to the strengthening of European defence supply chains.

Among financed actions

  • Studies;
  • Activities aiming to create, underpin and improve knowledge, products and technologies;
  • Activities aiming to increase interoperability and resilience;
  • Design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology.

Additional information

  • This call is an open call for proposals.


  • Be a legal entity;
  • Be established in a Member State or in an associated country;
  • Be independent from any third country.
  • Amount of the grant: 17.5 million euro
  • Co-financing rate: up to 90% of the total eligible costs

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