A dual-use R&T project aimed at developing advanced lightweight impact resistant materials, proposed by a Portuguese consortium and supported by the European Defence Agency (EDA), has been awarded a € 830 000 funding under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). It is the first of 30 EDA supported projects to have fully completed the new ‘Request for Projects (RfP)’ procedure that EDA introduced in 2015 in order to maximise project chance to access ESIF. Under the previous procedure, two EDA supported research projects, one Portuguese and one Polish, were assessed by the competent ESIF Managing Authorities and both were successful already. This means that all three EDA supported dual-use R&T projects which have gone so far through the entire ESIF assessment process have been awarded funding – an exceptional 100% success rate!
The latest successful Portuguese project called “Advanced Lightweight Impact Resistant Materials, Components and Structures” (ALIR-MCS) aims at developing, within a 3-year timeframe, a new kind of composite material with high-impact resistance, for the production of components and structures. The objective is to make sure the new material can have both civilian applications (especially in the aeronautical sector) and defence applications, mainly in bulletproof equipment.
Of the total required investment (€ 1.21 million), ESIF will fund € 0.83 million (69%). Project leader is X AERO SYSTEMS, S.A., a Portuguese SME based in Vila Nova de Gaia, a municipality near Porto. The consortium is composed by a wide variety of stakeholders: INEGI- Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (a Research Centre), Critical Materials (another SME), the University of Aveiro as well as the Portuguese Ministry of Defence (Estado Maior Do Exército). Under EDA supported R&T projects, this is the first time that an MoD is directly funded by ESIF.
Since 2013, EDA has been providing technical assistance in order to improve the ESIF eligibility of dual-use R&T projects. The Portuguese ALIR-MCS project, which has now been granted funding, was first selected by EDA within the EDA’s ‘ESIF RfP’ process; it then received technical assistance to enhance and finalize its ESIF application, which proved to be successful.
EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq welcomed the third successful ESIF application in a row for EDA supported dual-use R&T projects. “It proves that with the right support and expertise of EDA, dual-use research projects, even proposed by small consortia led by SMEs, can access EU funding. It’s a great success that confirms there are funding opportunities for defence-related stakeholders available within the EU’s multiannual financial framework running till 2020, especially for SMEs with dual-use R&T projects”, Mr Domecq stated.