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On 21 April, more than 150 participants from Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands attended the first Benelux European Defence Fund (EDF) Industry Day. The objective was to present the strategic objectives of each country in terms of defence and to give the participants the opportunity to meet potential partners for the setting up of future consortia in the context of this fund.

Operational since 1 January 2021, the European Defence Fund has a budget of €7 billion for the period 2021-2027. It provides opportunities European industrialists to work together on joint defence projects.

Benelux companies are thus given the opportunity to develop cross-border cooperation between the civilian, defence and space industries. The scheme supports new technologies, focusing on dual-use innovation (civil and military) developed by start-ups, SMEs or research organisations.

For the first time, Luxinnovation was directly involved in the organisation of this event, alongside NIDV – The Netherlands Industries for Defence & Security and BDSI – Belgian Security and Defence Industry.

Growing interest

“We support an increased involvement of Luxembourg industry and research organisations in the field of defence, to help them benefit from the opportunities offered by the European Defence Fund,” explained Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation, in her opening speech.

During the event, Luxembourg players from the space, cybersecurity and light materials sectors had the opportunity to present themselves and showcase the interest that national organisations (such as LuxGovSat, LuxTrust or LIST) have in being more actively involved in the defence sector.

Digital transformation / artificial intelligence, composite materials, mobility, disruptive technologies and energy resilience are among the priority areas for Luxembourg, according to Colonel Guy Hoffmann, Director of the national armament.

A national day in June

To better support Luxembourg players in their efforts, Luxinnovation has specifically created the position of RDI – Defence Advisor, which has been entrusted to Alexander Link. He was previously Senior Advisor – Corporate and European RDI Support at Luxinnovation.

“Through our clusters, and with the support of our multidisciplinary teams, we fully play our role as facilitator for applicants to calls for projects and can help them to put together their applications,” explains Mr Link.

As part of this new mission to prepare for future calls for projects of the European Defence Fund, Luxinnovation, will organise a National European Defence Fund Info Day in June 2021.

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