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The European Defence Skills Partnership

The EDSP brings together industry, academia, authorities and innovation, research and vocational organisations to foster cooperation in building skills for the European defence industry.

The EDSP aims to share knowledge and best practices on skills for developing the European defence skills strategy and its implementation.


Background Information


The European Defence Fund, launched on 7 June 2017, presents a holistic approach for helping meet Europe's future security needs by introducing means to support the complete capability development cycle, from research through development to acquisition.


The technology up-take resulting from the defence research requires that the necessary technological skills will be available to the industry in sufficient numbers for proceeding with the development of capabilities. Member States funding joint development projects will be faced with increasing pressure on their pool of skills. Security of supply and strategic autonomy implies that Europe needs to ensure the critical skills in a variety of technologically very advanced areas that will allow effective and efficient production and ultimately acquisition of capabilities.


To ensure success, the European Commission developed a comprehensive approach on skills involving all supply chain players, not only prime contractors but also SMEs and mid-cap companies. A number of instruments are considered to address skills at all the levels: regional, national and EU. It does this through the Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills initiative, launched with the New Skills Agenda for Europe in 2016 and supported by the European Defence Action Plan.


A COSME funded project was launched on 23 March to complete evidence on skills, introduce an industry-led European Defence Skills Partnership and deliver a sectoral skills strategy, agreed and validated among stakeholders. Through a call for tenders the one-year project was awarded to RAND Europe and Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini.


The project is expected to consolidate stakeholder cooperation on skills, map skills in Member States and contribute to better anticipating skill needs of Europe's defence sector so that European, national and regional policies can be more effectively targeted.


During the project, partnership members will work together to deliver the sectoral strategy with  implementation roadmaps, and recommendations/solutions for education and training and for rolling out actions at national and regional levels through the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). They will address synergies with other instruments and tools such as Erasmus+, the European Network of Defence-related Regions etc., and propose concrete measures for after 2020 to improve the defence knowledge and innovation base.