On 10 October, the European Defence Agency (EDA) held a workshop and networking event aimed at facilitating transnational cluster partnerships among European defence stakeholders (industry, research organisations, academia, etc.). The aim was to help interested parties benefit from EU funding opportunities and participate in relevant calls for proposals, in particular the ongoing COSME-funded call for proposals for defence-related clusters.
This the second time that the EDA organized such a workshop this year. The events were attended by 20 defence-related clusters from 13 EU Member States, representing over 1,000 defence stakeholders (SMEs and larger enterprises, academia, research and technology organisations, etc.).
During both workshops, European Commission representatives presented their activities in defence-related domains while EDA’s experts brought forward Agency’s recent work on R&T+I prioritisation, the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR), industry engagement and the wide spectrum of EU programmes able to fund Key Strategic Activities (KSA) and EDA’s Overarching Strategic Research Agenda priorities.
Some 30 cluster-to-cluster (C2C) meetings took place during the two EDA workshops, either building new partnerships or enhancing existing ones, a practical example of the EDA’s role as an interface between Member States’ Defence ministries and industry, on the one hand, and the European Commission and other EU institutions, on the other.
Testimonials from participants:
- Eduards Filippovs (Coordinator for International Relations of Cluster of Security and Defence of Latvia): “EDA is fulfilling a very important mission: bringing together public officials, industry and professional by encouraging to make new partnerships and cooperation, as well use of new instruments we have never had before in the defence sector”.
- Eugenio Fontán (General Manager of Madrid Aerospace Cluster): “EDA is developing a set of concrete actions to implement the political strategy of Innovation in Defence”.
- Klaus Bolving (CEO, Center for Defence, Space & Security, DK): ”The workshop provided participants with high-value information on new business and investment opportunities within the dual-use and defence areas in a very comprehensive and clear way. Moreover, the much appreciated C2C session led to new opportunities, which look promising with regard to closer collaboration between the European defence-related clusters. I look forward to following EDA and the European Commission’s continued work on facilitating European growth, jobs and capabilities for the benefit of a greater and more secure Europe”.
- Tomas Žalandauskas (Director of the Baltic Institute of Advanced Technology and Vice-president of NGPA, clustering national defence industry in Lithuania): “It is hard to overestimate the value of direct contacts in such a conservative field like defense industry. We are grateful for EDA for excellent opportunity to find future partners and relevant information on funding possibilities for Europe wide initiatives”.
- Ziga Valic (Head of European & International Affairs at the French Cluster Optitec): “EDA workshop for defence-related clusters is a welcome initiative offering a thorough overview of funding opportunities on European level and an excellent transnational networking opportunity benefiting clusters from all over the Europe. We hope this event will be organised on annual basis as it is a real value-added”.
More information and useful links: