EU defence research project funded from EU budget

“Only months after the launch of the European Defence Fund, we are delivering by supporting the first concrete research defence project with EU funding. Others will follow shortly. European defence cooperation is now a tangible reality.” Said Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

The European Defence Fund, announced by President Juncker in September 2016 and launched in June 2017, is starting to deliver in practice, with the first EU-funded grant agreement for a defence research project signed yesterday. Named after the Priestess of Ancient Delphi, project PYTHIA aims to identify key trends in the fast evolving world of innovative defence technologies. The PYTHIA consortium, run by Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A, brings together partners from Bulgaria, France, Italy, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom, and will receive a €1 million EU grant. Under the research strand of the European Defence Fund, €90 million will be allocated for defence research grants fully and directly funded from the EU budget (2017-2019). The technology foresight project will use big data analysis to examine large volumes of technological information, looking to identify future disruptive technologies and recommend future defence research themes. The next research grants in the areas of drones and protection and equipment for soldiers will be signed in the coming weeks. The research strand is complemented by a capability development strand, under which the EU will create incentives for Member States to cooperate on joint development of defence equipment and technology through co-financing from the EU budget (€500m for 2019 and 2020). The industrial development programme was agreed by Member States on 12 December and is now pending European Parliament approval. The Fund will also seek to support some of the capability projects of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO).

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