Collaborative research

The Defence research entities are actively involved in international collaborative projects, through various programmes and organisations:


The NATO Science and Technology Organization (STO) conducts in-house collaborative research, promotes collaborative research among the 28 Alliance countries and maintains networks of experts.

The NATO research focuses on the future capabilities of the Alliance, according to the priorities and strategic needs established by the Scientific and Technical Committee.

The collaborative model is put into practice through specialised working groups made up of scientists and experts liaising the military forces with other NATO entities.


Within the European Defence Agency (EDA), the Research, Technology and Innovation Directorate offers various instruments aimed at fostering collaborative research between Member States. The primary objective is to develop European defence capabilities while ensuring a certain coherence within the Union.

In particular, these instruments include CAT B projects initiated by several Member States (bottom-up approach) and funded by them on a voluntary basis.

CAT A – JIP (Joint Investment Programmes) projects are initiated by EDA based on a programme whose priorities are set by the Member States. Generally a large number of states are involved and several projects coexist under the same thematic programme.

European Defence Fund (EDF)

The European Defence Fund, whose launch of the 2021 Work Programme was formalised on 30 June 2021, is a new funding instrument in support of the cross-border cooperation between companies, research centres, national administrations, international organisations and universities of the European Union’s Member States. It aims at promoting innovation and allowing economies of scale in defence research and in the industrial development phase by supporting collaborative projects.

Preparatory actions for this new programme have taken place, both for research & innovation (PADR – Preparatory Action for Defence Research) and for capability development (EDIDP – European Defence Industrial Development Programme).

EDF – European Defence Fund
EDIDP – European Defence Industrial Development Programme
Active projects involving defense research entities

Framework Programmes Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe

Research & Innovation actions funded by the European Commission are organised according to multiannual framework programmes such as FP7 (2007-2013), Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) and Horizon Europe (2021-2027).

Many scientific and technical fields in which Defence has developed expertise apply to the civilian world, particularly in terms of safety and health.

Active projects involving defense research entities


For any request for information concerning international collaborative research, please contact Mr Pierre De Man (, 02/441 42 71)