In March 2020, the Azure Forum and University College Dublin (UCD) launched an expert panel series on Ireland’s defence research, technology and innovation base and the opportunities/challenges for this sector that arise from the EU’s European Defence Fund (EDF) and associated programmes. The aim is to create greater awareness in the sector and to identify policy options to strengthen Ireland’s engagement in, and return from, these programmes.
The series began with an overview of ‘where we are’. This short brown-bag lunch format featured panellists Jan Pie, Secretary General of AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe and Colonel Bert Van Opstal, Deputy National Armaments Director of the Belgian Ministry of Defence.
Following this first event in the series, the second seminar will focus on any roadblocks at EU or national level that would have to be overcome and the third will then focus on case studies of Irish success stories as well as the tangible returns therefrom. Collating these discussions into a short briefing paper will offer an opportunity for a final public-facing event on these issues.