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Call: Security research technologies driven by active civil society engagement: transdisciplinary methods for societal impact assessment and impact creation

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Programme
Acronym HE-CL3-SSRI
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 3 - Destination 6: Strengthened Security Research and Innovation"

The EU-funded security research and innovation framework was launched with the Preparatory Action for Security Research[[COM(2004) 72]]. Since then, the programme has contributed substantially to knowledge and value creation in the field of internal security and to the consolidation of an ecosystem better equipped to capitalise on research and innovation to support the EU security priorities.

While the success of the programme has materialised in relevant scientific findings, maturation of promising technology areas, operational validation of innovative concepts or support to policy implementation, a key challenge remains in improving the uptake of innovation.

The extent to which innovative technologies developed thanks to EU R&I investment are industrialised and commercialised by EU industry, and later acquired and deployed by end-users, thus contributing to the development of security capabilities[[For the purpose of this work programme, the terms “Capability” should be understood as "the ability to pursue a particular policy priority or achieve a desired operational effect”. The term “capability” is often interchanged with the term “capacity”, but this should be avoided. “Capacity” could refer to an amount or volume of which one organisation could have enough or not. On the other hand, “capability” refers to an ability, an aptitude or a process that can be developed or improved in consonance with the ultimate objective of the organisation.]], could give a valuable measure of the impact achieved with the programme. However, there are factors inherent to the EU security ecosystem (often attributed to the market) that hinder the full achievement of this impact. These include market fragmentation, cultural barriers, analytical weaknesses, programming weaknesses, ethical, legal and societal considerations or lack of synergies between funding instruments, among others.

It is worth noting that such factors affect all the security domains addressed in Cluster 3; that there is not one predominant factor with sufficient leverage by itself to change the overall innovation uptake dynamics; and that they exhibit complex relationships among them which are difficult to disentangle. It should also be noted that the innovation uptake process starts before the R&I cycle is triggered, and it is not finalised with the successful termination of a research project. Therefore, the uptake challenge extends beyond the realm of R&I. However, from within R&I it is possible, if not to materialise the uptake in every case, at least to pave the way towards its materialisation.

To that aim, there is a need to create a favourable environment that is designed with the main purpose of increasing the impact of security R&I, that is visible and recognisable to those interested in contributing to this aim, and which provides bespoke tools that serve to tackle the factors that hinder innovation uptake.

The SSRI Destination has therefore been designed with this purpose to serve equally to all the expected impacts of Cluster 3. Research applied in this domain will contribute to increasing the impact of the work carried out in the EU security Research and Innovation ecosystem as a whole and to contribute to its core values, namely: i) Ensuring that security R&I maintains the focus on the potential final use of its outcomes; ii) Contributing to a forward-looking planning of EU security capabilities; iii) Ensuring the development of security technologies that are socially acceptable; iv) Paving the way to the industrialisation, commercialisation, acquisition and deployment of successful R&I outcomes; and v) Safeguarding the open strategic autonomy and technological sovereignty of the EU in critical security areas by contributing to a more competitive and resilient EU security technology and industrial base.

While the other Destinations of this Horizon Europe Cluster 3 Work Programme offer research and innovation activities to develop solutions to address specific security threats or capability needs, the SSRI Destination will contribute with instruments that will help bringing these and other developments closer to the market. Such instruments will help developers (including industry, research organisations and academia) to improve the valorisation of their research investment. They will also support buyers and users in materialising the uptake of innovation and further develop their security capabilities.

In addition, the SSRI Destination will offer an open environment to create knowledge and value through research in matters (including technology, but also social sciences and humanities) that are not exclusive of only one security area, but cross-cutting to the whole Cluster. This will contribute to reducing thematic fragmentation, bringing closer together the actors from different security domains, and expanding the market beyond traditional thematic silos.

Finally, SSRI will allow the allocation of resources to the development of tools and methods to reinforce the innovation cycle itself from a process standpoint, thus increasing its effectiveness, efficiency and impact. This Destination will contribute to the development of an analytical capacity tailored to the specific needs of security stakeholders for the materialisation of a structured long-term capability based planning of research and innovation for security.

In order to accomplish the objectives of this Destination, additional eligibility conditions have been defined with regard to the active involvement of relevant security practitioners or end-users.

Expected impacts:

Proposals for topics under this Destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to the following impacts:

  • A more effective and efficient evidence-based development of EU civil security capabilities built on a stronger, more systematic and analysis-intensive security research and innovation cycle;
  • Increased industrialisation, commercialisation, adoption and deployment of successful outcomes of security research reinforces the competitiveness and resilience of EU security technology and industrial base and safeguards the security of supply of EU-products in critical security areas;
  • R&I-enabled knowledge and value in cross-cutting matters reduces sector specific bias and breaks thematic silos that impede the proliferation of common security solutions.
Link Link to Programme
Call
Security research technologies driven by active civil society engagement: transdisciplinary methods for societal impact assessment and impact creation
Description of call
"Security research technologies driven by active civil society engagement: transdisciplinary methods for societal impact assessment and impact creation"

Expected Outcome:

Projects’ results are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

  • Promotion of socially and environmentally sustainable products and services through stronger civil society engagement;
  • Policy-makers, security practitioners and the research community implement security technological solutions and policies that fulfil both societal and legal requirements, such as inclusiveness, accessibility, universal design, openness, legitimacy, proportionality, ethics;
  • State and non-state actors base their decision-making on an assessment of any possible negative societal impacts of security research outputs, including human rights implications and risks of ill-intended use;
  • Security practitioners and citizens are provided with technical solutions that are transparent, privacy-sensitive, open source, friendly and easy to use;
  • Security practitioners and citizens have the necessary skills and knowledge on the use of the new technologies being produced, as well as their impact on the society;
  • Security practitioners have a broader understanding of the new opportunities offered by technological developments, including accessibility and universal design aspect of technologies which goes beyond the mere response to security challenges to ensure that everyone is included;
  • Security practitioners, the research community and policy-makers build upon existing knowledge on lessons learned and best practices, as well as recommendations and good examples of how the EU is using technology to combat risks to security while respecting and promoting fundamental rights.

Scope:

Applied research derives its meaning, and therefore, its financial justification from its relevance to society, to society’s needs, to society’s values, to its aims, needs or ambitions. Applied research presupposes that a distinct societal need is identified and that a programme of research is devised to provide the concrete knowledge required to meet that need as well as to better understand areas related to experience and requirements of technologies regarding vulnerable groups through universal design and common accessibility principles.

The finality and value of applied research is assessed on the grounds of this relevance, on the degree to which the results of the research can be applied to one or several problems beyond or after the research itself. The salience and value of any type of applied research – including security research – lies outside the research itself and in its impact on society.

In general, research can have an impact on society at two different points: at the level of the scientific methodology that employs and at the level of the scientific outputs that generates and communicates. Any action can have desirable and undesirable outcomes. Undesired results of security research can include both the results of research that does not reach its intended aims or research that does not reach its aims, but whose aims do not provide the security it originally set out to provide. Significantly, it can include particular measures that have as a secondary effect an increase in insecurity such as the development of technological solutions.

In innovation processes and advances of technological change, the societal aspect covers all those areas that influence the citizen, society and the state. This can range from privacy issues and confidentiality to the use of products and services, the potential for misuse of information and data, fake news, security marking, secure infrastructure etc.

Technological solutions in the area of civil security for society are often perceived as intrusive means to intensify and broaden surveillance and control of citizens in a top-down approach. Security technology is addressed with mistrust as regards to its detrimental effects on civil liberties and raises questions on fundamental rights and freedoms, privacy and data protection. Nevertheless, a wide variety of technological tools is available in different languages for different risk scenarios and with different functionalities. At the same time, technology can also be applied to increase societal resilience, improve and strengthen horizontal coordination, raise citizens’ awareness and facilitate exchange of information among citizens in crisis’ situations, disasters or pandemic risk incidents. Strengthening a co-productive use of technology to enhance societal resilience requires a better understanding of inclusive design, crowd-based, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)-enabling horizontal communication processes.

A systemic stock of such technologies, including an evidence-based assessment of the number of users in Europe and an evaluation of their impact in past human life disasters or crisis management incidents can help to improve the societal acceptability, directionality, desirability and ethicalness of security research and innovation. A societal development plan that examines the socio, economic, political context, which might have caused the security problems, can also help to learn from past-experiences. Demonstrating awareness of the risks that potentially build biases into automated systems would be important to identify best solutions for relevant functionalities and pave the way for a coordinated European approach, which strikes the right balance between practitioners’ technology requirements and privacy-friendly tools and solutions for the citizens. Furthermore, improved knowledge of relevant human and societal factors in order to assist, supplement or override human misjudgement, lack of compliance or understanding through education and training modules can better achieve the desired impacts on attitude and behaviour change creating resilience to security threats.

In assessing the impact of security technologies, proposals are expected to examine methodologies that allow citizens genuine participation, including the vulnerable groups and people with disabilities in innovation processes. A socio-technical approach can enhance the ambition and effectiveness of innovations by inspiring socially acceptable design for systematic change and societal transformation. They should look into methodologies that measure the impact of technologies on society by addressing issues of: what can be measured (qualitative and quantitative measurements); why it is important to measure; what is important to measure both from policy and technology aspects and how societal impact can be measured (qualitative and quantitative measurements), including evidence about cognitive biases.

Proposals should also address mitigation measures that could be taken to reduce the impact on privacy, human rights and fundamental freedoms with the involvement of citizens as co-designers and beneficiaries in security research. When assessing impact, attention should also be paid to citizens’ training for reducing negative effects, modelling and simulation of their behaviour in the event of security threats. This may include virtual assessment of different protection (prevention, preparedness and response) measures.

Proposals’ consortia should comprehend security practitioners, system developers, public sector, technology and civil society organisations, communication specialists on security research, researchers and Social Sciences and Humanities Experts from a variety of EU Member States and Associated Countries. In order to ensure a meaningful democratic oversight of the EU’s security research programme, projects and policies at national and European level, proposals should ensure a multidisciplinary approach and have the appropriate balance of industry, citizens’ representatives and social sciences and humanities experts.

Project proposals’ consortia are encouraged to cooperate closely with the Networks of Practitioners funded under H2020 Secure Societies work programmes if valuable results on impact can be obtained, as well as with the Knowledge Networks for Research and Innovation in Security funded under the Horizon Europe Cluster 3 Work Programme.

As indicated in the introduction of this call, proposals should foresee resources for clustering activities with other successful proposals in the same or other calls to identify synergies and best practices.

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities.

Proposals could also be linked to finished or ongoing projects such as the NewHoRRizon (under the H2020 Research and Innovation Programme) which have developed Societal Readiness Level Tools. They may also consider using their interactive web tools provided to help study the societal input and engagement as part of project proposal development and implementation.

The project should have a maximum estimated duration of 4 years.

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication, Justice, Safety & Security, Administration & Governance, Disaster Prevention, Resiliance, Risk Management, Demographic Change, Migration, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Health, Social Affairs, Sports, Equal Rights, Human Rights, People with Disabilities, Social Inclusion, Community Integration, European Citizenship, Shared Services, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Public Services, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, National Government, Education and Training Centres, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • 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.
Call opens 30.06.2021
Call closes 23.11.2021
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system

Page limit - Part B: 45 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 2.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 2.00 million.
Typ of ActionResearch and Innovation Actions (RIA)
Funding rate100%

Beneficiaries may provide financial support to third parties. The support to third parties can only be provided in the form of prizes. The maximum amount to be granted to each third party is EUR 60 000.
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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