D. Palavenis. And those are Estonians! about the European Defense Fund 2021 call results

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The European Defense Fund 2021 is reviewed. the results of the invitation, selecting the participants from the Baltic states and searching for the number formulas, will allow to increase the number of participants and winners in the future invitations to Lithuania.

The European Defense Fund 2021 was announced last month. call results. Scientific and business entities from all EU countries actively participated in this initiative of the European Commission. In total, 61 projects were selected for financing out of 142 received project proposals, for which 1.2 billion will be allocated. euro We should be proud that even 9 of the selected projects feature Lithuanian business and scientific entities.

European Defense Fund

The European Defense Fund (EDF) aims to promote cooperation between EU companies, scientific institutions and other participants in the development of scientific research and experimental development (hereinafter R&D) activities in the field of defense. It is expected that in 20212027 The EGF will allocate a total of 8 billion for the projects. EUR 2.7 billion eur will be used to finance research, and 5.3 billion eur for the implementation of joint capacity development projects.

The EGF is implemented through annual call programs, which encourage participants to participate in 17 thematic categories. It should be noted that one topic is dedicated to small and medium-sized companies that can provide innovative solutions in the field of defense technology. In the current year, invitations are sent out in April, and participants must submit their applications in November. at the end

The intensity of funding of the Mint Fund varies depending on the project, but up to 100% of research and technology development costs are covered, up to 55% of prototype development costs, and up to 80% of testing and certification costs.

It is stipulated that at least three participants from three different EU or associated countries must participate in the project. In addition, there are conditions that the intensity of project financing may be higher if the project involves small and medium-sized nations and if the project corresponds to the EU Permanent Structured Cooperation in the field of defense programs (eng. PESCO).

Results of Lietuvik subject’s participation in the invitation

As for the mentioned nine projects in which Lithuanian business and scientific entities figure, it is noticeable that Lithuania is represented by four entities in total. Baltic Institute of Advanced Technologies (hereinafter BPTI) will participate in the implementation of 8 projects, while ADOS-Tech, Center for Physical and Technological Sciences, and Active Photonics will participate in projects only once.

BPTI, together with the consortium partners, will participate in the following invitations in the following topics: new media, radar technologies, artificial intelligence, cyber defense, unmanned aerial platforms, military mobility. The consortia in which BPTI participates are quite large and consist of ten to thirty-five entities from more than nine EU countries. The total value of the project ranges from 10.8 to 26.8 million. Eur. It is planned that some projects will be coordinated by a large EU defense industry producer, e.g. Leonardo, Indra Sistemas.

Two more BPTI projects were approved in the call for small and medium-sized companies. In the first, 3.7 million BPTI will participate together with Spanish, Dutch and French companies in the project where solutions will be developed to improve the understanding of the military situation. Another Lithuanian company, ADOS-Tech, will also participate in this project. In the second, 3.9 million BPTI will participate with entities from France and Slovenia in a EUR-worth project to detect weak radio signals in the presence of significant interference.

A proposal prepared by the Active Photonics, Physical and Technological Sciences Center together with entities from Belgium and Greece to develop a lightweight laser target that could be installed in small or very small drone systems was also approved. Active Photonics coordinated project worth 2.8 million. Eur.

Lithuanian entities are sure to attract EGF invitations, both by participating with already established partners in the accompanying EU project, and by submitting applications on their own. It is likely that the European Defense Fund’s 2021 the results of the call will encourage other national scientific and business entities to pay attention to the possibility.

How will the participants from Latvia and Estonia fare?

Estonian entities are mentioned even in the 12th project. The project, aimed at facilitating the exchange of data on the movement of military equipment in the EU and speeding up the issuance of the necessary permits, will be coordinated by the Estonian company Cybernetica. The estimated value of the project is 10.8 million. EUR, and 11 entities from 10 countries will participate in it.

Latvian entities participate more modestly in the EGF call compared to Estonian or Lithuanian participants and are mentioned in only 5 projects. None of the projects is coordinated by a Latvian scientific or business entity. Latvijas Mobilais Telefons participates in two projects, while Cyber ​​Circle, Riga Technical University and the Laser Center of the University of Latvia participate in one project.

In the case of Latvia, there is a higher level of involvement of state scientific institutes, while in the case of Estonia, the greater initiative is kept in the hands of private companies and research institutes.

How to win?

Probably, there is no single recipe for success, but one thing is clear, that the competence of the entity submitting the application and close cooperation with the entities of other EU countries are required.

When evaluating the European Commission’s call for thematic categories for planning and allocation of funding, it can be concluded that there was no great competition in the two topics, as part of the planned funding was redistributed.

Evaluating the geographical affiliation of entities named in the winning applications, it is fair to note that entities from Italy, Spain, France and Germany have a higher probability of winning in the submitted applications.

In order to increase the number of participation of Lithuanian entities in the upcoming EGF invitations, it is necessary to involve Lithuanian state institutions, the defense industry association, proactive individuals and organizations in spreading information about the unique opportunity. There is no doubt that Lithuanian business and science must merge in the field of defense and security. For that purpose, it is necessary to organize an information seminar, where potential participants will learn about the application rules, the results of the previous call, share their experience and subtleties, and get acquainted with the actual needs of the Lithuanian army.

It is probably too late for future participants to look for a possible consortium partner or try to contact other entities in order to close the 2022 deadline. announced invitations, but there is certainly enough time to find partners in Lithuania and EU countries, in order to properly present themselves in 2023. for the invitation of the European Defense Fund.

Author of the comment Donatas Palavenis, junior researcher at the Baltic Institute of Advanced Technologies

The opinion of the author does not necessarily coincide with the editorial position.

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