Dans Innovation, research

This White Paper – issued by the EC end January 2024 – aims to launch a public consultation on EU-level research and development (R&D) support involving technologies with dual-use potential.

Dual-use technologies: what are they?

In this White Paper, « dual-use » is used in the context of R&D support in relation to software and technology that has the potential to be used for both civil and military purposes.

The context

This White Paper starts with a review the current relevant EU R&D funding programmes for technologies with dual-use potential, that’s to say :

  • Horizon Europe on the one side which focuses exclusively on civil applications

In both programmes, it is stated that the potential for civil-defence synergies must be bear in mind. They also clarify that unnecessary duplication should be avoided.

Civil-defence synergies have the potential to create new market opportunities for companies – especially SMEs – working in various industrial ecosystems. But it is recognised that it’s difficult to draw a clear line between civil and defence R&D.

The White Paper takes into account the current legislative framework which is characterised by mutually exclusive focuses on either civil or defence applications. It recognises the lack of suitable instruments to facilitate cross-fertilisation between civil and defence R&D activities, even though the EC has launched several actions since 2021 to improve synergies between EU programmes.

A twofold problem

Definition problem – This White Paper points of the lack of a common conceptualised definition of ‘dual use’ in the context of R&D support, either internationally or at EU level. This lack of definition creates problems, eg among the European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU for R&D programs and the Regulation on dual-use export control.

Therefore, the Commission invites respondents to share their views on what elements can constitute the building blocks of a definition of technologies with dual-use potential, which could be useful in order to promote inter alia transferability from civil to defence and vice-versa.

The current legislative framework problem – In order to tackle a series of obstacle to the cross-fertilisation between civil and defence, the EC would like to hear about 3 possible options for the future

  • Option 1: Going further based on the current set-up
  • Option 2: Remove the exclusive focus on civil applications in selected parts of the successor programme to Horizon Europe
  • Option 3: Create a dedicated mechanism with a specific focus on R&D with dual-use potential

The feedback period to collect views is open till next 30.04.24. Input can be given HERE, page where the White Paper is also available.

Looking for R&D activities under HorizonEurope? Get in touch with NCP Brussels

Looking for R&D activities under EDF ? Get in touch with EDF National Focal Points

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