Submission of DEFRA 2025 research themes

The Royal Higher Institute for Defence is delighted to extend an invitation for the submission of research theme proposals for the 2025 DEFRA Call.

The annual DEFRA Call is a national call organised in partnership with the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and invites research institutions and industries to submit proposals in fields of interest to Belgian Defence. The program aims to foster project-based basic research, applied research and technology demonstration activities (up to TRL 6) following the Triple Helix model, to foster preliminary scientific and technological research in support of future capability requirements and also to strengthen the national defence-related knowledge and technological base.

Opportunity for Belgian universities, research institutions, and companies

Belgian universities, research institutions, and companies are invited to submit research themes that will be carefully analysed and used as a source of inspiration to define the 2025 DEFRA research themes. Examples of themes from previous call can be found on the DEFRA website.

The themes for the annual call are carefully chosen based on:

  • Research areas within Defence’s scientific and technological research programme.
  • Technology domains defined in the DIRS framework.
  • The multi-year outlook for the European Defence Fund.
  • Interests from the Belgian Defence staff and the Belgian stakeholders reinforcing the Belgian Defence technological and Industrial Base.

Considering previous DEFRA Calls and ongoing projects, nine domains for submitting research themes for the 2025 DEFRA Call have been identified:

  • Sensor technologies
  • Communication technologies
  • Autonomous systems
  • Smart and advanced materials
  • Ammunition systems and effectors and integration
  • Advanced military health
  • Human systems and behaviour
  • Protection of personnel, systems and infrastructure
  • Defence related artificial intelligence


Theme proposals for the 2025 DEFRA call can be submitted until April 30, 2024. Please use the fill form for your submission. The RHID will review all submissions and, following consultation with its scientific committee and the Defence staff, the selected themes will be proposed to the board of directors of the RHID by the end of June 2024. Traditionally, 5 to 6 themes and one open category are selected for the call.

We look forward to your ideas and to continue our shared mission of advancing defence-related scientific and technological research.