The European defence research community today discussed present and future opportunities as well as challenges at the “Capability-Driven Defence Research and Innovation” conference in Bucharest. Benjamin Les, Minister of National Defence of Romania, Ioan Mircea Pascu, Vice-President of the European Parliament and Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency opened the conference.
More than 500 high-level representatives from Ministries of Defence, defence research institutes, industry, academia and the European institutions attended the conference organised under the auspices of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Romanian Ministry of National Defence and the European Defence Agency (EDA).
The event showcased new prioritisation instruments for defence research, technology and innovation, highlighted potential synergies to be achieved on research priorities at national and European level and provided an update on the latest developments on the European Defence Fund. Moreover, the conference provided participants insights and lessons learned from some of the most successful R&T collaborative research projects which have been implemented under the framework of EDA.
Benjamin Les, Minister of Defence of Romania inaugurated the conference. “Today's event represents an excellent opportunity for all participants to analyse the various existing defense research instruments, the EDF and its impact on capability-based defense research and innovation. Such collaborative initiatives are meant to fuel future projects between EU Member States in the field of defense research”, he stated.
EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq underlined, “A new era for European defence research is on the way. In this rapidly evolving technological context, a coherent approach among Member States will be more crucial than ever. Investment in research and especially in collaborative research is a must to be able to deliver the defence capabilities for the future.”
During the first part of the day, high-level guests including Andrei Ignat, State Secretary and Chief of the Department of Armaments from Romania and Gabriele Fioni, Director for International Cooperation and Deputy Director of CEA-Tech representing EARTO as well as Christian Munzinger, R&T Director from Airbus Defence and Space discussed with Denis Roger, EDA Director of Research Technology and Innovation prioritisation instruments for defence research, technology and innovation. They highlighted potential synergies to be achieved on research priorities at national and European level as well as the link with existing and new funding instruments.
The research dimension is an integral part of the process of building a coherent capability landscape based on longer-term technological development. OSRA, the Overarching Research Agenda, validated by the Member States in January, is the instrument to harmonise views of relevant European defence research priorities and identify potential funding instruments. OSRA is therefore a key prioritisation instrument and has been acknowledged by its inclusion in the draft regulation of the European Defence Fund. It is all the more important as the research priorities must serve to mature technologies required to develop capabilities which respond to Member States armed forces’ needs.
Sylvain Kainz-Huber, Head of Unit, European Commission Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Ralf Schnurr, R&T Director, Federal Ministry of Defence of Germany, and Christian Bréant, Director Advanced Studies, THALES and Dirk Tielbuerger, EDA Deputy Director and Head of EU-funded Defence Research Unit exchanged views on the impact of the European Defence Fund on future defence capability, research and innovation prospects.
In the afternoon, Guillermo Gonzalez Muñoz de Morales from ISDEFE, the largest Spanish defence engineering company, Panagiotis Kikiras, EDA Head of Technology and Innovation Unit and Shahzad Ali, EDA Capability Technologies Moderator discussed collaborative EDA R&T defence research projects. Since 2004, EDA has managed more than 180 R&T projects worth around 1 billion Euros.