Security research priorities beyond 2020

  • October 24, 2019

Drawing, on the technological expertise and practical experience of its member companies, ASD has elaborated the following recommendations for security research priorities under the Horizon Europe Framework Programme (2021-2027).

We call for the future security research programme to follow a twofold approach: First, ensure continuity of funding for certain security research areas of Horizon 2020, where additional or complementary work is needed to develop relevant capabilities. We see this need in particular in the areas of Cyber Security, Urban Security and Border Security. Second, the security research programme should address new breakthrough technologies which have a particularly important security dimension.

In general, security-relevant breakthrough technologies can be divided into two categories:

  1. Technologies with potentially high and direct impact on a broad range of security areas. In this category, we include Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Autonomous Systems and Immersive Systems. Security critical aspects of these four breakthrough technologies should be considered as a priority for the security research programme, since they imply both important security threats and opportunities.
  2. Technologies which can support certain security missions or imply security risks, but in rather limited fields of application. This second category includes for instance Blockchain, Additive Manufacturing, Quantum Computing and 6G Radio Technology. We recommend covering the security dimension of these technologies not in the security research programme, but in other parts of Horizon Europe.

The four key technologies we recommend addressing in the security research programme post-2020 can make a major contribution to the development of capabilities that are needed to fulfil the objectives of the Security Union. At the same time, we see critical capability gaps and research needs, also to develop safeguards against their potential malicious use. Furthermore, we consider the security dimension of these technologies as so significant that a certain degree of non-dependence from non-European suppliers is crucial. The security research programme should therefore also aim to support Europe’s strategic autonomy at least on the most critical security aspects of these technologies.

Finally, we advocate for a close coordination between the different components of Horizon Europe when it comes to security dimension of the identified eight breakthrough technologies. Driven by the commercial sector, the latter develop at very high speed and may well lead to currently unexpected synergies and applications. Consequently, technologies that we consider today as less relevant for security may well lead tomorrow to results that can have a high impact on security. It is therefore of utmost importance to develop in Horizon Europe across different clusters a comprehensive approach towards the security dimension of all these technologies.

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