Advanced Materials research and development in the European Defence Fund

Erno Vandeweert

European Commission - DG Defence Industry and Space


Erno Vandeweert received his PhD in Physics from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, followed by post-doctoral research at the Pennsylvania State University, studying energetic particle-surface interactions.

He joined the European Commission in 2005, first as a project officer for the Marie-Curie Research and Training Networks in the physics domain, later as a programme officer responsible for research and development policy related to advanced materials for energy applications.

Now affiliated to the Directorate-General Defence Industry and Space of the European Commission, he is deeply involved in building the European Defence Fund since 2016.


Advanced Materials research and development in the European Defence Fund

The European Defence Fund is a new funding programme launched on 1 January 2021, and running for 7 years with a budget close to 8 billion Euro. The Fund has as its main objective fostering the competiveness, efficiency and innovation capacity of the European defence industry. It is designed as an industrial programme aiming at deepening cooperation between all defence R&D stakeholders. The main funding mechanism are grants supporting joint projects retained for funding following competitive calls for proposals.

Apart from support to projects in the main military domains (air – ground – naval – space – cyber), also funding of materials and components R&D for military applications is within the scope of the European Defence Fund.

The talk will present an overview of the current status of the European Defence Fund and the next steps to expect in the coming months. Some examples from the Fund’s precursor programmes, the Preparatory action on Defence research and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme will be given.