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European Commission strengthens synergies between civil, space and defense industries

The European Commission wants to create a network of technology incubators (photo: ESA/Guus Schoonewille)
The European Commission wants to create a network of technology incubators (photo: ESA/Guus Schoonewille)
EU. The European Commission presented, on Monday 22 February 2021, an action plan on synergies between the civil, space and defence industries. It is based on three pillars: synergies, spin-offs and new technological opportunities (spin-in).

On the first point, the European Commission wants to "strengthen complementarity between relevant EU programmes and instruments related to research, development and deployment in order to improve the efficiency of investments and the effectiveness of results".

The swarming will consist of "encouraging the provision of European funding for research and development for European citizens".

Finally, Europe wants to "facilitate the use of the results of civil industry-led research and civil society-led innovation in European defence cooperation projects".

According to Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, "making full use of the European Defence Fund and ensuring strong synergies between civil, space and defence technologies will generate breakthrough innovations and allow Europe to remain a global standards body. It will also reduce our dependence on key technologies and strengthen the industrial leadership we need to emerge from the crisis".


Encouraging innovation

The plan is based on eleven targeted actions allowing this interaction, and mutual enrichment, between the civil, space and defense industries. And thus to better respond to geopolitical competition and strengthen its technological sovereignty. The European Commission will thus launch three flagship projects in the areas of UAV technologies, secure space connectivity and space traffic management. It will also set up a network of innovation incubators throughout the European Union. It will encourage innovation among start-ups, SMEs and research and technology organizations (RTOs).

"The European Defence Fund offers a wealth of opportunities for synergies between research and innovation in the civil, space and defence sectors, synergies that we need for several key technologies. This action plan is a systematic and methodological approach to synergies between key technologies in these three areas. The aim is to ensure that innovations are systematically suitable for multiple uses from the very beginning of their development and to enable the enormous innovation potential of researchers and start-ups to be exploited," commented Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President for a digitally literate Europe.

The areas concerned by this plan are cloud computing, processors, e-learning, quantum intelligence and artificial intelligence.

In January 2020, the European Union announced a partnership with the European Investment Bank Group for a €100 million loan for the new Ariane 6 launcher program and a €100 million venture capital program to fund an "InnovFin Space Equity" fund to support innovation and growth of European Smes in the space technology sector.

See the action plan on synergies between the civil, space and defense industries.

Eric Apim

Monday, February 22nd 2021

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