Security research

  • May 18, 2017

Since 2007, the European Union has funded security research under its Framework Programme. This EU funding represents more than 50% of the total public spending on security research in Europe. It is thus of crucial importance for Europe’s capacity to develop the technologies that are needed to protect its citizens. 

The EU security research programme covers a wide range of topics such as cybersecurity, critical infrastructure protection, anti-terrorism actions and border management. These topics are dynamic and evolve depending on threat scenarios and technology trends. The next digital transformation and emerging breakthrough technologies, for example, offer new potential benefits for security capabilities, but also come along with new possible security threats. Security research should aim to help harness the former and mitigate the latter. 

With a view to the next security research programme under Horizon Europe (2021-2027), ASD recommends the following guiding principles:

  • Avoid disruption: continue to support successful security priorities of Horizon 2020, namely urban-, cyber- and border security;

  • Address new technology trends: new technologies that are particularly relevant for security, such as Artificial Intelligence or Data Science should be prioritised. This requires long-term programming and investment planning from basic research to development;

  • Coordinate closely with other clusters of Horizon Europe:  Don’t neglect other technology trends with (apparently) more narrow security dimension, such as Quantum Computing. Scan all breakthrough technologies at an early stage for possible security implications to avoid “bad surprises” when technologies mature; 

  • Secure strategic autonomy: contribute to maintaining and developing in Europe a trustworthy supply base for technologies that are particularly critical for security; 

  • Be flexible enough to cope with all aspects of security: offer a broad range of research instruments that allow to react at the same time to emerging technology trends (long-term) and against pop-up threats (short-term); 

  • Enhance effectiveness of research activities: strengthen links between decision-makers, practitioners, industry and academia. At the same time, exploit potential synergies with EU-funded space- and defence research;

  • Improve market uptake of research results: support a capability planning process at the European level to overcome the fragmentation of security needs; establish links with more downstream EU funding programmes, such as the Internal Security Fund.

More information
Vassilis Theodosopoulos
Defence and Security Manager
Security research