The involvement of practitioners in Horizon 2020 security research projects is crucial both for improving the homeland security services in E.U. as well as for tackling the challenge of the market uptake for the project results. As such their participation is considered mandatory in a number of H2020 calls of the Security programme.

Mr. Andrea De Candido, Head of Unit DG Migration and Home Affairs, in his opening speech during the Mediterranean Security Event (MSE) 2019 in Crete, initiated and co-organized by MEDEA project, shed light on different aspects of the impact of research in civil security matters.

 

To quote him:

What is the ultimate goal?  The protection of citizens, society and economy as well as Europe’s assets, infrastructures and services, its prosperity, political stability and well-being.

What is the main challenge? The market uptake

Why we do security research? Besides producing knowledge, we need also to improve the work done by practitioners such as LEAs, first responders border guards etc.

According to Mr De Candido, Researchers, Policy Makers, Practitioners, Industry and Citizens are different pieces of the same puzzle, the security puzzle. Following a capability-based approach there are 3 main areas that should be always addressed:

  1. Analysis of Needs
  2. Assessment of what is available
  3. Research and Acquisition.

In this process it is of utmost importance the role of the Practitioners and their contribution to prioritize needs, co-develop concepts, test and evaluate new solutions. Thus, including practitioners in project consortia is a necessary but not an adequate condition for R&D. Practitioners involved in research projects need to be trained, qualified and committed to ensure the efficiency and prospects of the projects results.   Practitioners should lead the European R&D in homeland security and to acquaint the results of the research they participate in. This is what European Commission (EC) needs to see, Mr De Candido stated.  

The Pan-European and the Regional networks-of-practitioners, set up by EC/DG HOME in context of the GM21 topic of H2020, should be used as the locomotive to bring the practitioners close to the European R&D community and familiarize them with the advantages of Research and Innovation. The relevant organizations of the practitioners have to perceive the potential and the capabilities, which the R&D projects will offer to them by upgrading their operational capabilities and improving their work efficiency.  The NoP will help enormously in setting a coherent well-structured and interactive cooperation between Research-Practice and Policy that may start a new period of Security R&D in E.U. Synergies and coordination between security stakeholders at all levels is a prerequisite to this endeavour and all parties need to invest to this direction.

During his MSE 2019 speech, Mr. De Candido mentioned the International Forum to Advance First Responders Innovation (IFAFRI), a forum that EC currently chairs, as a successful collaboration example. Under the coordination and the guidance of IFAFRI, and through regular meetings with representatives of first responders’ organizations from the U.S. and E.U., this forum has produced so far 10 public reports corresponding to respective capability gaps been identified by practitioner groups.

MEDEA is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 – Research and Innovation Framework Programme, under grant agreement no 787111