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Crime as a service
Horizon Europe - Cluster 3 - Destination 1: Better protect the EU and its citizens against Crime and Terrorism
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
Projects should provide European Police Authorities and policy makers with a robust analysis of the evolution of the contemporary organised crime and improve knowledge within European security institutions regarding developments in the field of organised crime and prospects for the future.
The Crime-as-a-service (CaaS) model proliferates and becomes a prominent feature not only for the cybercriminal underground, but also for traditional criminals hiring specialised digital and financial services. Thus, availability of exploit kits and other services not only serves cybercriminals with low technical skills, but also makes the operations of mature and organised threat actors more efficient. Recently Malware-as-a-service (MaaS) offerings on the Dark Web increased, of which ransomware affiliate programs seem to be the most prominent.
The shape of the organised crime evolves, apart from traditionally closed, clandestine criminal structures, and investigators are increasingly confronted with modern, flexible, specialised and "multi-ethnic" organisations with a global operational range. As these groups seem not to work within permanent multi-layered structures but with various actors delivering on demand services, some of the organised crime characteristics might be subject to a review. Actors in the shadow economy while seeking to maximise their profit, take instant advantage of new ways of operations, exploring and benefiting from modern technologies and organisational schemes to achieve their goals, thus resulting in dynamic transformation of subject networks. The observed trend may be a challenge for the codified laws and definitions of organised crime as supposedly sealed off to outsiders and characterised by fixed and permanent cooperation. In order to enhance the fight against organised crime at the European level, there is a need for distinct research to gain comprehensive insight into the internal workings of modern organised crime structures and their marketplaces.
Coordination among the successful proposal from this topic as well as with the successful proposals under topics HORIZON-CL3-2023-FCT-01-06: Enhancing tools and capabilities to fight advanced forms of cyber threats and cyber-dependent crimes and HORIZON-CL3-2024-FCT-01-06: Tracing of cryptocurrencies transactions related to criminal purposes should be envisaged to avoid duplication, and to exploit complementarities as well as opportunities for increased impact.
Projects’ results are expected to contribute to all of the following outcomes:
- European Police Authorities and policy makers are provided with a robust analysis of the evolution of the contemporary organised crime, its structure, role of hierarchy, membership in the organisation and subcontracting of specialised criminal services.
- Policy makers benefit from an analysis of the legal framework utilised for countering organised crime, in terms of the validity of the legal definitions and penal provisions adopted and their impact on the effectiveness of judicial verdicts;
- Methodology for the identification of the means of advertising, communication, marketing and money flows used for offering criminal services on the underground market is developed, as well as the set of respective prevention, investigative and policy countermeasures; and
- Improved knowledge within European security institutions regarding developments in the field of organised crime and prospects for the future.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan), Belarus (Беларусь), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
- third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries
Only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
- at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
- at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
- Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
- Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
- Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
- Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible.
other eligibility criteria
This topic requires the active involvement, as beneficiaries, of at least 3 Police Authorities from at least 3 different EU Member States or Associated Countries. For these participants, applicants must fill in the table “Information about security practitionerss” in the application form with all the requested information, following the template provided in the submission IT tool.
Activities are expected to achieve TRL 5-6 by the end of the project.
For the Technology Readiness Level (TRL), the following definitions apply:
- TRL 1 — Basic principles observed
- TRL 2 — Technology concept formulated
- TRL 3 — Experimental proof of concept
- TRL 4 — Technology validated in a lab
- TRL 5 — Technology validated in a relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
- TRL 6 — Technology demonstrated in a relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
- TRL 7 — System prototype demonstration in an operational environment
- TRL 8 — System complete and qualified
- TRL 9 — Actual system proven in an operational environment (competitive manufacturing in the case of key enabling technologies, or in space)
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 45 pages.