For the first time, a fully fledged defence research project - initiated by the Croatian Ministry of Defence and supported by the European Defence Agency (EDA) - has been awarded EU co-funding under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). So far only ‘dual-use’ projects with both civilian and military applications had been able to secure ESIF funding.
The granting of ESIF funding to this Croatian project, which aims at developing a cyber conflict simulator, represents a landmark in EDA’s year-long efforts to open up EU funding opportunities for pure defence research projects, in addition to dual-use projects.
The news was welcomed by EDA’s Chief Executive, Jorge Domecq: “The fact that ESIF funding is now also accessible to genuine defence projects is an important signal that should help strengthen the European defence industrial base. The Agency will continue to exploit the benefits of wider EU policies for defence stakeholders and facilitate their access to EU funding possibilities”.
The cyber conflict simulator set to be developed under the Croatian project is meant to be fit-for-purpose and usable by MoDs straightaway, including in European and international military exercises. It will allow for multiple groups in different roles to collaborate or compete within a defined cyber space, in order to address potential cybernetic attacks. It will also enable the definition of a cyber terrain consisting of different objects, connections, threats, controls, which will be defined by a set of properties and functions connected in a variety of ways.
The project implementation is led by a Croatian small and medium enterprise. ESIF will fund 80% of the total project eligible costs.
The EDA is now looking forward to its Member States’ defence stakeholders applying further defence projects to ESIF. To facilitate interested stakeholders and provide them with best possible information, the Agency has set up an ‘ESIF web-platform’ as well as an ‘ESIF Success Stories’ webpage.
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