Today’s security threats are evolving fast, complex, and often cross-border in nature. Such threats can only be dealt with through a collective response between EU countries within an efficient Security Union in Europe.
EU security research is one of the building blocks of the Security Union. It supports innovation and knowledge that are crucial for developing capabilities to address:
contributing to a more competitive European security industry.
To illustrate the purpose and importance of this field of research, DG HOME has worked with DG RTD to produce a factsheet on the impact of security research as well as some of the future challenges and current issues, such as market uptake of research outcomes.
The Commission has decided to initiate a series of actions, which aim to enhance the competitiveness of the European security industry and achieve the following objectives:
- Support the achievements of the Security Union through funding civil security research
- Reduce the gap between research and the market
- Raise awareness on security research
- Contribute to the international reflection on developing affordable and innovative technology for security practitioners and first responders
- Overcome the fragmentation of the EU security markets for security technologies
- Promote the societal acceptance of security technologies
Since 2007, EU research funding has specifically targeted security needs. In the 2014 to 2020 period, the Horizon 2020 programme allocated EUR 1.7 billion to security research. This is about 50% of all the public financing for civil security research in the EU.
EU-funded security research has enabled the development of security solutions. Recent projects have demonstrated the direct link between research and the implementation and development of policy in:
- border security and supply chain management
- chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear risks
- the handling of electronic evidence
- the area of maritime surveillance
These types of research contribute to a European security industry that is at the leading edge of technological developments.
Funding through Horizon Europe 2021-2024
Through Horizon Europe 2021-2024 and its Research and Innovation Framework Programme, the EU will continue to support security-oriented civil security research with tangible and measurable results. Research in this domain supports the following policies:
- fighting crime and terrorism, including organised crime and cybercrime
- border management, including customs security and maritime security
- resilient infrastructure
- cybersecurity, including security of network and information systems and certification
- disaster-resilient societies (including against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) incidents; climate-related risks and extreme events; geological disasters, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis; pandemics)
To learn more about the funding programme and projects, visit the:
The European Commission uses novel funding schemes such as the Pre-Commercial Procurement to translate research results into solutions. For more information consult the Report on the EC funded Innovation Procurement projects in the security field.
The Community for European Research and Innovation for Security (CERIS), facilitates and promotes the interaction between practitioners, scientists, policy-makers and industry with a strong commitment to:
- analyse identified capability needs and gaps in corresponding areas
- identify solutions available to address the gaps
- translate capability gaps and potential solutions into research needs
- identify funding opportunities and synergies between different funding instruments
- identify standardisation needs
- integrate the views of citizens
The European Commission aims to highlight the role of security research during the implementation of EU Policies and when addressing crucial societal challenges.
The Security Research Event is an annual meeting where industry, governments and knowledge institutions come together to discuss the state of play and current challenges for security research in Europe, and where EU funded security-related projects are displayed in a large exhibition area.
For more information, visit the Security Research Event webpage.
Developing capabilities for the Security Union is not feasible unless we contribute to building a stronger and more competitive EU security industry, not only at EU level, but also worldwide.
In 2017 the European Commission joined the International Forum to Advance First Responder Innovation (IFAFRI). IFAFRI's goal is to assist first responders across the globe in conducting their missions more safely and efficiently by expanding the development of affordable and innovative technology.
The objective for the Commission is to ensure the coherence of EU security research in the field of first responders at an international level.
Without the involvement, commitment and investment of the EU’s security technology and industrial base, innovative solutions would remain trapped in an endless cycle of research and would never be deployed on the field.
Therefore, the consolidation of a single EU security market that increases the competitiveness of the industrial base is a primary objective. This is done by establishing a structured dialogue with the private sector (industry and SMEs), so to better integrate them in the different moments of the civil security capability development process. Harmonisation of standards and certification procedures can also play a role in this overall effort. The consolidation would not only guarantee the security of supply for strategic technologies, but also safeguard, when required, the strategic autonomy of the EU in regard to technologies, services and systems that are critical to ensuring the protection of EU citizens.
Security as a societal value is the guiding principle across all EU-funded research activities, and these must comply with the provisions of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union Gender aspects and social sciences and humanities must always be taken into consideration. Funded security research projects must respect fundamental rights concerning privacy and data protection.
Obligatory ethical screenings and reviews are reinforced during the project funding application by the requirement to fill in the “Societal Impact Table” section. The table checks whether the proposed security research meets the needs of and benefits society without having a negative impact.
- Terms of reference between DG HOME and eu-LISA for secure and efficient IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice
- Commission Decision on the implementation of the Preparatory Action on Enhancement of the European industrial potential in the field of security research
- Security Industrial Policy - Action Plan for an innovative and competitive Security Industry
Guidance, reports and studies
- Assessment report on the performance of the EC funded Innovation Procurement projects in the security field
- Mapping EU policies and FP7 research for enhancing partnerships in H2020
- Report of the H2020 Protection and Security Advisory Group (PASAG)
- H2020 Secure Societies Advisory Group Strategic Recommendations for Secure Societies Theme in Horizon 2020
- Evaluation of the FP7 security research actions
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