European Defence Fund (EDF) – Research and Development Actions


What is the European Defence Fund?

The European Defence Fund is the European Commission’s instrument to support defence-related research and development. During the period 2021-2027, a total budget of nearly 8 billion euros will be allocated to the various actions, with 2.7 billion euros allocated to collaborative defence research and 5.3 billion euros for collaborative capability development projects that complement national contributions. SMEs, start-ups and non-traditional defence entities will play a key role in strengthening the competitiveness and innovative nature of the European Defence Industrial and Technological Base (EDTIB).
The Belgian EDF national focal point is the Federal Public Service for Economy:


The main goals of the EDF are:

  • to promote cooperation between companies, including SMEs and research actors throughout the European Union.
  • to boost defence capability development through investments.
  • to help EU companies develop cutting-edge and interoperable defence technologies and equipment.

How does it work?

The EDF is implemented through annual work programmes structured along 34 thematic and horizontal categories of actions along the objectives set in the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027. The financial support is offered primarily through grants up to 100% of eligible costs contingent on activities involved and a bonus system that considers SMEs, mid-caps and connection to a PESCO project.

Who can apply?

Consortia composed of at least three legal entities established in at least three Member States/Norway. At least two of these entities, located in at least two Member States/Norway, must not be under the control of each other.
More information on the verification procedure of the control of a company and how Belgium develops autonomy guarantees: Garanties d’autonomie pour les entités contrôlées par un pays tiers non associé ou une entité de pays tiers non associé | SPF Economie (

How to apply?

Via the EU Funding & Tenders Portal.

Terms & conditions

Research actions are funded at a rate of 100%.
Development actions are financed from 20% to 90% depending on the type of activity.
Under certain conditions, it is necessary to request the support of the Belgian Defence for the participation of a Belgian company or research centre in an industrial consortium (as consortium leader or member):


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