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EU Research Funding

European Defence Fund (EDF)

EDF fosters collaboration in defence research and development across the EU, with a €8 billion budget for 2021-2027. University researchers can access grants covering up to 100% of costs for research actions, and varying percentages for development actions.

European Defence Fund Illustration
European Commission


The EDF's vision is to enhance the EU's security by supporting collaborative research and development projects in the defence sector. The fund is structured around two main pillars: Research and Capability. The Research pillar focuses on financing innovative and collaborative research projects. The Capability pillar emphasizes the development of prototypes and joint acquisition of defence equipment.

Who is it for?

The EDF targets various stakeholders:

  • Academic institutions
  • Research organizations
  • Private companies
  • Public entities

The primary beneficiary is the defence industry, but it also includes those listed above.

What discipline is it aimed at?

The EDF covers a broad array of disciplines, primarily focused on engineering, technology, and natural sciences. However, it also considers the interdisciplinary nature of defence-related research and development. See the calls for proposals for specifics. 

How to apply

To apply for EDF funding, applicants must participate in calls for proposals announced regularly by the European Commission. Projects are required to involve at least three legal entities from three different EU member states or Norway. Proposals are assessed based on criteria such as relevance to EU defence objectives, innovation, impact, quality and efficiency of implementation, and contribution to the competitiveness of the European defence industry. Deadlines for submission vary depending on the specific call.

EDF proposals have a generally higher success rate than Horizon Europe proposals.

See the official UiB Guide to EU application for more details

Financing Level

  • Research calls cover up to 100% of the costs, check relevant calls for specifics. 
  • Capability calls cover various percentages, check relevant calls for specifics. 

Two types of calls

Research calls fund collaborative defence research projects that aim to develop new or improved defence technologies and products. Research calls cover topics such as artificial intelligence, cyber defence, quantum technologies, space and maritime security. Research calls have a total budget of €2.7 billion for 2021-2027 and are open to consortia with at least three organizations.

There is also an open research call that is not linked to a specific theme. This call supports collaborative defence research projects that are proposed and implemented by consortia of research organizations and/or small and medium-sized enterprises. The projects should address any defence-related topic that is not covered by the other thematic research calls.

Capability calls fund collaborative capability development projects that aim to design, prototype, test and qualify defence systems and equipment. Capability calls cover topics such as air combat systems, land combat systems, naval platforms, space-based systems, etc. Capability calls have a total budget of €5.3 billion for 2021-2027 and are open to consortia of at least three organizations.

Contact your local advisor or the Research and Innovation Department (FIA) for questions