Subsidies innovations strengthen defence | Berenschot news

The European Defence Fund and NATO: subsidies for technological innovations that strengthen defence


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23 August 2022

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The European Defence Fund (EDF) of the European Commission (EC) grants subsidies for projects to develop new technology and products that will strengthen Europe's defensive capabilities.

These projects could relate to almost any technological domain. The EDF runs until 31 December 2027 and has a total budget of almost €8 billion.

NATO too, has rolled out two new initiatives to close the gap between the defence market and technologically innovative SMEs: DIANA and the Innovation Fund. For further details download our Forecasting Europe 2022 publication.

Target group

The scheme is intended for joint ventures between businesses, knowledge institutions and/or universities.

The emphasis is on involving SMEs in project proposals. For example, the EDF includes some special calls to which only SMEs can respond, plus the European Commission awards bonuses for the inclusion of SMEs in a consortium for a standard EDF call.


  • The projects to be funded by the EC require that there is cooperation between businesses, knowledge institutions and universities.
  • This collaboration should comprise at least three parties based in at least three different EU member states. An exception will be made for research and development work aimed at disruptive technologies.
  • The subject areas cover almost every conceivable technological domain and are focussed on defence needs.
  • All the organisations taking part in the joint venture must be based in the European Union and ownership of the participating organisations must also be in European hands. Exceptions to these conditions will be made only in special cases.


Subsidies granted by the EDF for research projects can cover up to 100% of the eligible costs.

For development activities there is a subsidy of up to 20% available from the EDF but, based on the ‘Incentive scheme to encourage the inclusion of companies in projects financed by the European Defence Fund’ the Dutch government will fund some of the project costs not covered by the EDF, up to a maximum of €1.5 million per organisation per project submitted.

There is also a subsidy scheme which provides funding for SMEs to use an external partner, like Berenschot, to help them with positioning in a consortium. Half these costs will be covered up to a maximum of €5,000.


The calls for 2022 open on 30 July with the final deadline for submission on 24 November 2022. Another new call is expected to be made in 2023. In order to be eligible for the subsidy scheme for advice from an external party, the quotation for this must be provided before the start date of 30 July.

Curious to know whether applying to the EDF might be interesting for your project? Contact our advisor Robert Wester. He can be reached via our secretariat on +31(0)30-2916874.

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