As the new European Defence Fund has been set up, this cluster will solely focus on security research for civil purposes. More in particular it will look at EU policy objectives related to security (including cybersecurity) and disaster risk reduction/resilience. It will also build on lessons learnt from the COVID-19 situation in terms of how to handle such crises.
This cluster is divided into 6 domains or destinations as they are called in Horizon Europe:
- Improving the prevention, investigation and mitigation of crime, including new/ emerging modi operandi (e.g. exploiting digitization)
- We need better management of the external EU borders. The general aim is to make it easier for legitimate travelers to enter the EU but at the same make it harder for illegitimate travelers and goods to cross the border.
- Our networks and critical infrastructures can be the subject of a criminal attack, hence the need to invest in better protection of both our physical and digital infrastructures.
- As many things we use in our society are digitally connected we need to focus on increasing the cybersecurity. This domain is linked with other areas in horizon Europe (ICT and Space) and the Digital Europe programme.
- Disasters have received much exposure in the last years (earthquakes, floods, pandemics) and many innovations from the past framework programmes have resulted in improvements how to better prevent and deal with them in order to create a more disaster-resilient society. This destination will enhance these efforts from the past.
- The final destination is more general and focuses on strengthening security research and innovation as a whole.
The purpose of the civil security approach is threefold. The EC wants solutions ready to use in the field. Consequently there is the need to involve security practitioners in most project proposals as they are the end-users. A second objective is to produce our security innovations in the EU so we become less dependent of other parts of the world in this sector. Finally they want to develop solutions for complex problems which we will face in about five years’ time so looking forward to the future is crucial.
In the field of security research it is also important that projects take into account human factors and the societal context, and ensure the respect of fundamental rights (e.g. protection of personal data). Citizens and communities should be engaged as well so as to improve the quality of results and above all to build public trust in the proposed solutions.
The background of all this stems from a vision about how innovation in civil security should evolve over the coming years. The must-read documents in this respect are the Security Union Strategy, the Counter-Terrorism Agenda, the border management and security dimensions of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, EU Disaster Risk Reduction policies, the EU Climate Adaptation Strategy, the EU Maritime Security Strategy and the EU Cybersecurity Strategy.
Areas of activity:
- Disaster-resilient societies
- Protection and Security