The European Network of Defence-related Regions (ENDR) was created in 2016 by the European Commission.
The ENDR has three objectives:
Bringing regional organisations and clusters together to exchange best practices on how to develop dual use (defence-related) development strategies, including the integration of defence industrial and research assets into smart specialisation strategies, and support defence-related SMEs;
Facilitating the flow of information about funding opportunities (such as the European Defence Fund and European Structural and Investment Funds); and
Promoting the development of regional clusters of excellence.
On 30 November 2016 the Commission adopted the European Defence Action Plan with concrete measures to support a strong and innovative European defence industry and defence capability priorities agreed by Member States. This gave a boost to the activities of the ENDR as one of the goals of the Action Plan is to promote co-financing through the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) of defence and dual-use activities in research and innovation, as part of regional/national smart specialisation strategies.
The Action Plan underlined the support provided by the ENDR to regions that aim to integrate defence-related priorities into their smart specialisation strategies. The ENDR can also be instrumental in promoting regional clusters of excellence in this area as well as cooperation on building skills for the defence sector.
The ENDR is also promoting the access to the European Defence Fund, which is funding collaborative research and development projects.