Joint call Defence 2022


The Directorate of Defence of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Ministry of the Economy, the National Research Fund and Luxinnovation join forces to offer a new funding opportunity to enterprises and research organisations (“Stakeholders”) looking to develop defence technologies (products, services and systems). Collaborations between enterprises and research organisations are encouraged.

Starting date
Starting date
03 June 2022
Application deadline before
Application deadline before
29 July 2022


Alexander Link



Table of contents




Taking reference to Luxembourg’s coalition agreement of 2018 to support the LU Industry in getting access to the defence market, the Directorate of Defence of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Ministry of the Economy, the National Research Fund (“Granting authorities”) and Luxinnovation join forces to offer a new funding opportunity to companies and research organisations (“applicants”) looking to develop dual-use defence technologies (products, services and systems). While both individual [1] and collaborative [2] projects proposals are possible, collaborations between companies and research organisations are encouraged.

According to the European Defence Agency [3], dual-use research concerns areas with strong civil-military synergies. There are numerous examples where defence research has led to spin-offs for the civilian world, but equally so can technologies developed by funding schemes from civilian research programmes bring benefits to cutting-edge defence systems. A large number of technologies are generic, i.e not specific to a certain application. Consequently, they are dual-use in nature. Research for new materials, nano-electronics, IT, photonics and automation are just a few examples where the research results can be used for multiple applications.

1. Goal of the call

Development and validation of innovative dual-use defence solutions potentially benefiting the national defence forces, international defence organisations (EDA, NATO), the defence forces of allied nations, as well as civilian research and local industry.

2. Objectives

Incentivise individual and collaborative R&D projects leading to advances in joint areas of defence, civilian research, and industry.

  • Satellite communication, Earth Observation and Reconnaissance, Space Situational Awareness (SSA) and space operations, Data processing
  • Lightweight structures and composite materials

The joint call intends to provide a financial incentive to applicants who have an identified research or material/technology/product/solution and have to demonstrate its relevance and potential benefit for defence applications (the “project”). Technology transfer from civilian applications is acceptable, insofar as military applications still require a significant RDI effort with significant technical risks.

Using a flexible approach, applicants may apply for funding at any steps below, which can be considered as key R&D milestones (TRL 1-6) towards market access for defence applications:

  • Research activities that aim to create, underpin and improve knowledge, products and technologies, including disruptive technologies, which can achieve significant effects in the area of defence (generating knowledge)
  • Activities that aim to increase interoperability and resilience, including secured production and exchange of data, to master critical defence technologies, to strengthen the security of supply or to enable the effective exploitation of results for defence products and technologies (integrating knowledge)
  • Studies to explore the feasibility of new or upgraded products, technologies, processes, services and solutions (feasibility studies)
  • The design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such a design has been developed, including any partial tests for risk reduction in an industrial or representative environment (design)
  • The system prototyping of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology enabling the identification of prime contractors (system prototyping)

Projects shall comprise clear R&D milestones towards dual-use applications. Due to the specificities of the Defence Sector and Luxembourg’s current positioning within the EU defence industry landscape, commercialising the product immediately after the call is not a requirement, however, identifying the adequate defence value chain and the potential prime contractor while aiming at becoming an acknowledged technology supplier in the EU/NATO defence value chain, will be essential.

The challenges addressed in this joint call are based on the Luxembourg Defence Guidelines for 2025 and beyond, the Space defence strategy of the Directorate of Defence, the European Defence Agency (EDA)’s overarching strategic research agenda (OSRA) as well as the EU capability development plan (CDP).

3. Call topic

Technologies to be developed through this call must be innovative dual-use solutions for defence.
In line with national priorities, consortia will focus on the following topics:


Relevance for Defence

Space has been recognised by NATO and EDA as operational defence domain (besides land, air, sea and cyber). While the European Commission’s (EC) - under HorizonEurope - and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) R&D activities are related to pure civilian applications, EDA and NATO as well as EC’s European Defence Fund (EDF) are focussing on dual use and defence applications. R&D for space defence is mainly done at national level by individual Member States. While EU thrives for more autonomy, cooperation in defence R&D within EDA, NATO and the EDF are key. In order to prepare the Luxembourgish industry to future international R&D collaborations that contribute to EU’s Capability Development plan, the national call will focus on the following priority domains:

  • SPACE 1 Satellite communication, SDN and IoT
  • SPACE 2 Earth Observation and Reconnaissance
  • SPACE 3 Space Situational Awareness and Space operations
  • SPACE 4 Data processing

Detailed description

  • SPACE 1 Satellite communication, SDN and IoT
    • Optical Communication: With the growing RF spectrum scarcity, optical communication represents a promising alternative to inter-satellite and down-to earth linkage. This technology shows numerous advantages compared to radio communication, such as higher bandwidths, better directivity, and security characteristics and quantum encryption, to name only a few. As this technology has the potential to revolutionize the way information is transmitted in space, Luxembourg does support research in this domain.

      Technological subcategories (non-exhaustive):

      • Inter-Satellite Communications Terminals (mostly COTS-based)
      • Atmospheric models and impact on the optical link budget to increase reliability and decrease weather dependency
      • Space and ground based QKD systems (optical gateways for secured transmission)
      • GEO optical communications terminals (mostly COTS-based)
      • HAPS/UAVs optical communications terminals (mostly COTS-based)
      • Compact, lightweight and fast deployable Optical Ground Stations
      • Optical communications jamming and counter-measures
      • Passive Plasma Antenna Technology


    • Internet of Things (IoT) for military applications: The concept of using satellite IoT to connect devices located in remote areas is very promising, although some major technological breakthroughs still need to be made to allow large scale deployments of this technology. Use cases are monitoring and controlling of fixed and mobile assets in industries as diverse as transportation, oil and gas, utilities, maritime, agriculture as well as various military “on the field” applications. For the latter, the technology must present particularly high reliability, robustness and service security.

      Technological subcategories (non-exhaustive):

      • Compact fully integrated satellite communication module/chip with sensing and tracking capability that can be embedded in helmets, clothes, bags, vehicles, and communicate directly with LEO or GEO satellites in S, C, and X bands
      • QKD Technology and Demonstrator with Cubesat
      • Anti-jamming waveform for communication over satellite
      • Low latency LEO command and control protocol for IoT, autonomous vehicles, and drone management
      • IoT sensors (for motion, gas attack, or alerting) that can be spread in the field and communicate directly with satellite
      • Voice communication headset with NB-IoT over LEO constellations


    • Q/V Band communication: Q/V band communication belongs to the Extremely High Frequency (EHF) area of the radio spectrum. These frequencies are used mainly for satellite communications, remote sensing, and terrestrial microwave communications and for radio astronomy studies. It is hoped that EHFs will enhance the performance of the next generation of High Throughput Satellite (HTS) programs by enabling the offload of satellite links between a satellite and its hubs from the Ka band to the Q/V bands. This would make more bandwidth available for users in Ka-band and would also reduce the number of hubs required. This, in turn, will help drive down cost per bit.
    • Software Defined Networking (SDN): SATCOM systems have traditionally controlled and managed the network in a static fashion, namely in an unchanged allocation of resources over a mission lifetime, irrespective of the actual needs. Towards flexible network configurations, one of the most promising architectures comes from SDN, where networks can be dynamically programmed through centralized control points. Hence, SDN is becoming an indispensable technology element for modern terrestrial and spatial communication technologies, such as 5G and Internet-of-Things. SDN will strongly contribute to a key military challenge, namely shortening the time from observation to decision and action as it enhances the interoperability of communication systems.
  • SPACE 2 Earth Observation and Reconnaissance
    • Hyperspectral imaging: Hyperspectral imaging techniques focus on service provisioning to support decisions on how to address potential threats based on processing of new generation hyperspectral data using Artificial Intelligence and signal processing techniques. This will support future capability to combine hyperspectral and radar satellite images of a given area in order to maximize information extraction, to support the multi-modal and multi-temporal imagery analysis. Hyperspectral technology is a promising actionable information source, which provides answers in a variety of application domains, leveraging on the unique capability of recording the surface spectral behaviour in the visible-infrared portion of the EM spectrum.

      Value added data, derived from hyperspectral imagery may support:

      • Camouflage detection
      • Coastal bathymetry
      • Optimization of on board resources (memory, acquisition slots) utilization, including transmission bandwidth and sensor tasking
      • On ground enhanced pre-processing chains, including hyper-sharpening and data radiometric/atmospheric/geometric precise correction
      • VHR observation and AI image enhancement


    • Disaster Detection and Forecast: Disaster response assistance and event re-analysis based on Earth Observation products belong to Luxembourg’s portfolio of disaster awareness and management capabilities. At the forefront of these technologies, a new near-real-time flood monitoring software (Hasard), developed by a European consortium of institutional and private actors, is now used operationally by the European commission. With the increasing frequency of water- and fire related disasters, methods that are intended to predict such events and deal with the aftermath have become a real necessity for homeland security and disaster prevention.

      Technological subcategories (non-exhaustive):

      • Flood depth maps based on flood maps and other in-situ data
      • Wildfire smoke detection based on thermal space born data
      • Pollution and toxic fallout detection


    • Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance: This type of information is highly valuable for a wide range of security, defence and commercial applications, such as border controls, environmental protection, search and rescue services, insurance and defence.

      Technological subcategories (non-exhaustive):

      • On-orbit collection and detection of signals for the localisation of uncooperative terrestrial RF sources (such as vessels) for the identification of threats from space


      Development of added-value applications for the purpose of geo-intelligence, taking advantage of already available (space borne) data, such as Copernicus, Galileo, to support decision-making in operations.

  • SPACE 3 Space Situational Awareness and Space operations
    • Space Situational Awareness (SSA): SSA refers to the knowledge of the space environment, including location and function of space objects and space weather phenomena. On-Orbit Servicing (OOS) is another topic that has been evolving rapidly and presents both challenges and opportunities, such as in-space repairs, refuelling, refurbishment of spacecraft and servicing satellites, which could play a critical role in extending satellite lifecycles. New technologies addressing SSA and OOS will represent game changers in the future safety and sustainability of space and are seen as particularly valuable for the imminent age of mega-constellations. Competencies in these domains do exist in the Grand-Duchy, both in the public and private sector.

      These capabilities could contribute to the following topics (non-exhaustive):

      • In-Space autonomous or semi-autonomous object avoidance
      • In-Space Rendezvous/Inspection/Capture of non-cooperative objects
      • Identification of active non-cooperative objects in space by optical observation from ground or space
      • High precision data for Space Traffic Management and Space Situational Awareness applications


    • Space operations: Electric propulsion technologies belong to well-established and mastered technologies in the space domain. Similarly to chemical propulsion technologies, electric thrusters generate signatures that reveal certain characteristics about a satellite. To prevent the detection of military satellites that are propelled electrically, stealthing technologies can offer a number of advantages compared to conventional propulsion methods. Atmosphere-breathing electric propulsion systems belong to another emerging technological domain that could bring a plethora of benefits to the space industry as it allows missions at very low earth orbits (VLEO).

      Technological subcategories (non-exhaustive):

      • Stealth Electric Propulsion for Satellites (Computational poc of a) stealthing effect and b) upgradeability of several existing thruster technologies)
      • VLEO electric propulsion systems using residual atmospheric molecules as propellant


  • SPACE 4 Data processing
    • Artificial intelligence (AI): AI is making waves since several years and has revolutionized the way data is analysed. Space borne data, namely in the domain of earth observation, is an exemplary use case for AI technologies. In fact, petabytes of data are generated by satellites on a daily basis to the point where conventional methods are no longer applicable to analyse such quantities of data. To name a fraction of application domains, AI technologies can be employed to recognize suspect behaviour patterns in regions of conflict, the maritime domain to identify non-cooperative vessels or to allow autonomous actions and decision-makings in satellites. In the frame of the data-driven economy, AI represents a priority field for the Grand-Duchy.

      Technological subcategories (non-exhaustive):

      • Quick damage assessment using areal & satellite data
      • Vulnerability detection
      • AI models to evaluate and identify illegal maritime activities
      • Other applications to be defined


3.2 Light-weight materials

Relevance for Defence

Advanced Materials technologies can be used in a wide variety of defence applications such as more agile aircrafts and emerging hypersonic systems, autonomous terrestrial and air-borne systems (UAV) with extended autonomy or payload, robust terrestrial vehicles built with lightweight and durable (e.g. reparable) structures as well as improved lightweight protection equipment’s for hostile / harsh operation conditions, and personal protective equipment based on lightweight ballistic materials.

Regarding military applications of advanced materials, lightweight structures have been identified as one of the main technology trends [4]. Lightweight materials and structures (i.e. through lightweight design) lead to reduced fuel/energy consumption, hence providing improved range, autonomy or payload capabilities to any vehicle or aircraft. Military applications also call for ballistic materials that exhibit high-strength and are very lightweight. These materials and structures could be well integrated in or associated to load-bearing structures and could provide ballistic protection to combat vehicles or militaries (in Personal Protective Equipment such as ballistic inserts, lightweight under suits, combat helmets, anti-mine boots and flame-resistant uniforms).

Based on EDA and NATO evaluations, specific defence priorities are: materials and design with improved protection of persons, vehicles and systems; new materials & coatings & sensors, their production and repair methods for joining of different materials, to be implemented in future platforms that are lighter and have improved & multifunctional & self-healing properties; nanotechnology, graphene-based technologies, hybrid composites and smart materials.

R&D for defence is mainly done at national level by individual Member States. While EU claims for more and more autonomy, cooperation in defence R&D within EDA, NATO and the EDF become more and more essential. In order to prepare the Luxembourgish industry to potential future collaborations within the named programs, the national call will focus on the following priority domains:

  • Materials 1 Lightweight materials & structures for mobile and static applications
  • Materials 2 Lightweight materials & structures for soldier & vehicles & critical infrastructure
  • Materials 3 Lightweight and biobased/recycled/sourced from disassembly
  • Materials 4 Lightweight smart & composites materials and systems
  • Materials 5 Alternative power supply to military systems

Detailed description

  • Materials 1 (Ultra-) Lightweight materials & structures for mobile and static applications

    The subcategory aims at reducing carbon footprint (in production and use) for mobile (rolling vehicles, ships, submarines, aircrafts, launchers, spacecrafts, and satellites) and static applications (energy & communication supply & operations command infrastructure).

  • Materials 2 (Ultra-) Lightweight materials & structures for soldier & vehicles & critical infrastructure

    This sub-category aims at R&D related to the development of protective systems (kinetic, HPEM, laser or C-IED activities, cyber-attacks, etc.) and add-on armoured solutions.

  • Materials 3 (Ultra-) Lightweight and biobased/recycled/sourced from disassembly

    This sub-category aims at R&D related to circular economy processed/reusable materials & structures which are compliant to REACH regulations and military specifications.

  • Materials 4 (Ultra-) Lightweight smart & composites materials and systems

    This sub-category aims at improved durability in harsh environment and space, including structural monitoring, self-indicating, decreased "detectability", electric armour, enhanced textiles, ergonomics, exoskeleton, flame retardant materials, radiation shielding, life sign monitoring and locating of personnel, microclimate conditioning, multispectral camouflage.

  • Materials 5 Alternative power supply to military systems

    This sub-category aims at R&D related to energy storage (batteries, capacitors …) and energy converters for mobile platforms reducing the reliance on fossil fuels.

For all sub-categories, applicants will propose RDI efforts using state-of-the-art composites, ceramics, biobased & graphene based & smart materials, disassembled & reused & recycled materials, nanotechnology, smart coatings, additive manufacturing, innovative repair and joining methods of different materials, IoT, smart manufacturing, industry 4.0 processes , sensors, AI, virtual reality, data analytics, simulations, predictive analytics, impact assessment, PCDS.

4. Instruments & Applicant

Projects can be submitted, either by a Luxembourg based company having all required authorisations to operate legally or by an accredited Luxembourg research organization. Individual and collaborative project proposals are eligible in any combination. In case of collaborative project proposals, the consortium should be balanced in terms of contributions between applicants and no party shall bear more than 70 % of the total project costs.

FNR will fund the costs of the eligible research organisations in Luxembourg, up to 500.000 € per project covering eligible project specific costs. If the research organisation establishes an effective collaboration [5] with a company, the FNR will fund up to 700.000 € per project.

The Ministry of the Economy will co-finance costs borne by Luxembourg eligible companies up to 700.000 € per project, using the R&D aid scheme [6], for both individual and collaborative projects. In case of an effective collaboration, the maximum funding rates provided by the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy may be increased by up to 15%.
Companies will be eligible to an upfront payment of max 35% of their grant. In general, the upfront payment will be applied based on the conditions and potential milestones set in the funding agreement with the Ministry of the Economy. It is expected that projects shall be considered as industrial research or experimental developments. Maximum co-funding rates are as follows:


Max. aid intensities Large companies Medium-sized companies Small companies
Experimental development 25% 35% 45%
Experimental development + collaboration 40% 50% 60%
Industrial research 50% 60% 70%
Industrial research + collaboration 65% 75% 80%


Costs related to patents and certifications are eligible for SMEs (large companies excluded) and research organizations. For SMEs, the costs will be co-funded up to 50% under the Innovation Aid for SMEs aid scheme [7].

Project durations are targeted for a max 36 months period. With due justifications, extensions may be requested if needed.
The consortium must be composed of national applicants only. Under justified conditions sub-contractors from NATO Member and EEA EFTA States [8] could contribute to the project.

5. Eligibility criteria

Projects have to be in line with the call topic.

Companies must fulfil the general eligibility criteria of article 2 of the RDI law and the respective criteria of the specific state aid scheme they apply for as set out in the R&D [9] or SMEs aid schemes [10].

Companies with less than 3 years of existence or that have not yet created an entity in Luxembourg (“Start-ups”), are required to provide a business plan in Phase-1 of the submission process [11]. Start-ups that are accepted into Phase-2 of the submission process are required to establish a Luxembourgish entity before the 5th of September 2022 which marks the start of Phase 2.

Research organisations must be eligible under article 3-(2) of the FNR statute (Loi modifiée du 31 mai 1999 portant création d'un fonds national de la recherche dans le secteur public) and be registered at the FNR.

Employees from companies and research organisation taking part in the project need to have nationalities of a NATO Member Country or from a EU EEA/EFTA Country. Applicants will be required to

  • Provide a narrative CV for the Principal Investigator (PI) (for RTOs only)
  • Provide a list of personnel that is going to work on the project (including their nationalities and work experience (full CV – Europass format) (for companies and RTO)
  • Sign a declaration of honour as part of the Project outline (PO) Phase- 1 submission process, ensuring that in case of the presence of non-NATO/ EU EEA/EFTA nationalities, appropriate measures are put in place for safeguarding project related information

6. Evaluation criteria and scoring system

6.1 Criteria

The project proposals will be evaluated in a balanced manner based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance
    • Project idea; clarity and pertinence of the objectives
    • Level of innovation, including advance on state of the art
    • Soundness of the research approach and methodology or technology assessment study
    • Due consideration of ethical and regulatory aspects
    • Relevance for dual use and defence applications
  • Implementation: quality and efficiency of the project plan
    • Coherence and effectiveness of the work plan, including appropriateness of the allocation of tasks and resources
    • Competences, experience and complementarity of the individual participants, as well as, if applicable, of the consortium and collaboration as a whole
    • If applicable, level of ambition in the collaboration and commitment of the participants in the proposed project
    • Appropriateness of the management structures and procedures, quality of the risk management plan and soundness of the risk mitigation plan
    • Development processes shall be based on “security by design” principles in order to reduce risk of Cyber threats (for “space” only)
    • Public-private collaborations on feasibility studies, design and system prototyping (see chapter 2) shall be encouraged
  • Impact
    • Added value of the proposed research/technology/product/solution for dual use and defence purposes
    • Strengthening the competitiveness and growth of involved companies by developing innovations addressing market opportunities in the defence sector
    • Where applicable, soundness of the business plan outlining a clear path towards an economic exploitation of the project results
    • Effectiveness of the proposed measures to exploit and disseminate the project results translated into assets, to communicate the project plan
    • Where applicable, demonstrate ambition of being recognised as Luxembourgish Tech Provider within EU defence supply chain

7. Call process

The call process is structured in the submission and evaluation process.

7.1 Submission process

The submission process will be composed of 2 phases:

  • Phase-1 (3rd of June – 29th of July 2022): Project Outline (PO) to be submitted on the research-industry-collaboration platform of Luxinnovation. The PO shall provide information on
    • Applicant (including organigram, size of company according to the European SME Definition, 2020 and 2021 balance sheets and profit and loss accounts for the applicant company and the group) and Partners (if applicable)
    • Project description
    • Project outcomes
    • Preliminary projects costs and intended funding source
    • In case of partners: expected technical contribution/financial contribution
    • Intellectual Property Rights for both individual and collaborative project proposals (in view of a draft collaboration agreement in phase 2)
    • Declaration of honour (annex)
    • Business plan and simplified cash-flow for start-ups (annex)
    • CV (EU template) of the main investigators (annex)
  • Phase-2 (5th of September – 28th of October 2022): Full project proposal (FPP) to be prepared with the support of Luxinnovation (in the case of companies) and to be submitted by each project participant either to the Ministry of the Economy (Myguichet platform) for companies, or to FNR (FNR Grant system) for accredited research organizations. For collaborative projects, a draft collaboration agreement needs to be annexed to the application file.

    The FPP templates can be downloaded at

7.2 Evaluation process

The submission process will be composed of 2 stages:

  • Phase-1 (1st of August – 5th of September): Based on the Project Outlines (PO) and the annexes submitted via Luxinnovation’s research-industry-collaboration platform, the granting authorities will check:
    • Eligibility of all parties and co-funding capacity of the company
    • If the project/company objectives are in line with the objectives of the call

    Participants will obtain a written feedback from the granting authorities on Luxinnovation’s research-industry-collaboration platform. In case of a high number of POs, the granting authorities reserve the right to make a pre-selection based on the budget of the joint call. In case of a positive pre-evaluation, applicants will be invited to proceed to Phase 2 where they will be assigned to an RDI Advisor of Luxinnovation for further support.

  • - Phase-2 (31st of October – 28th of February): Full project proposals (FPP) prepared in Phase-2 will be submitted via Myguichet and the FNR Grant system and will be reviewed by an independent expert panel (“panel”) that will assess FPPs from a scientific/technical and economic point of view. The panel will establish a ranking list based on the criteria set in chapter 6. The highest ranked projects will be recommended for funding to FNR and Ministry of the Economy. In the case of companies, all projects will need to undergo an additional consultation at the State Aid Commission.

    A project can only be funded by a concurring decision of FNR, Ministry of the Economy, and the Directorate of Defence of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

    The Results of the Evaluation will be communicated in February 2023. Projects are expected to start in March 2023.

    Contracts will be established separately between FNR and public partners on one hand, and between the Ministry of the Economy and private partners on the other hand. These contracts will include IP clauses which restrict the sale or licensing of intellectual property resulting from the work to prior authorisation by Directorate of Defence of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

8. FAQ

Questions and answers related to the joint defence call can be found on the research-industry-collaboration platform under “FAQ”. Applicants are invited to consult the FAQ section regularly as there will be constant updates.

[1] Companies and Research organisation can submit individual project proposals
[2] Collaborations are eligible in any combination: private-public, private-private, public-public
[5] As defined within section 2.2.2 of the EU RDI Framework
[6] Articles 3-5 of the « Loi modifiée du 17 mai 2017 relative à la promotion de la recherche, du développement et de l’innovation » (hereafter « RDI Law of May 17 2017 »)
[7] Article 7 of the RDI Law of May 17 2017
[8] NATO Member States:; EU EEA/EFTA Countries:,(the%2030%20EEA%20States)
[11] Phase-1 and Phase-2 of the call procedure submission process are explained under 7.1