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European Defence Fund 2023 call for proposals led to highest ever number of applications in Estonia and Europe

4. December 2023 - 13:56

The 2023 call for proposals for the European Defence Fund closed in November. From Estonia, applications were submitted by 17 defence industry companies or research institutions that are planning to participate in 20 international consortia. This is the highest number of applications so far.

“It is important for us that the Estonian defence industry is internationally attractive, competitive, and able to contribute to providing innovative solutions to important capability challenges. We want to be a good partner for research institutions and companies in the European Defence Fund’s call for applications, and the government is also prepared to contribute,” said Tiina Uudeberg, Undersecretary for Defence Planning at the Ministry of Defence.

In total, 236 applications were submitted across Europe in the 2023 call, 76% more than in the 2022 call. For its part, the Estonian Ministry of Defence is supporting all 17 companies/research institutions planning to participate in the 20 international consortia. Projects with Estonian participation are focused on cyber defence situational awareness, tank system software, green energy in shipping, and drone defence. Separately, the Ministry of Defence is supporting the Estonian-led project ‘Artificial Intelligence Deployable Agent (AIDA)’, a consortium of 28 companies/research institutions from 14 EU Member States and Norway. The aim of the project is to develop an artificial intelligence solution to support cyber defence decision-making.

Across Europe, 236 applications are competing for EUR 1.2 billion in funding.

The Estonian Ministry of Defence is ready to provide a total of EUR 1.08 million to support research institutions and defence industry companies in the 2023 call for proposals. Decisions will be made by the European Union concerning the projects to be launched in the first half of next year.

The European Union is investing approximately EUR 8 billion in defence research and development during the period 2021–2027 through the European Defence Fund (EDF). The programme will help contribute to reducing the fragmentation of weapons systems in the European Union and to increasing the competitiveness and cooperation of the European in defence research and development. The programme will be implemented on the basis of 1-year work programmes, including an average budget of around EUR 1 billion per year.

Additional information:

EDF factsheet –

DG DEFIS web –