As the world is trying to find new ways to tackle the impacts of the biggest pandemic of this century, to integrate new populations due to war conflicts and to manage the great challenges of the 4th Industrial revolution, Europe tries to maintain a stable and positive role with research and projects funded under the Cluster number 3 of the Horizon Europe programme, named Civil Security for Society.
The third Cluster addresses issues of security, cybersecurity, terrorism, legislation and human rights. It is part of a series of six Clusters that come under the Pillar II of the Horizon Europe programme, named “Global Challenges & European Industrial Competitiveness”. The other 5 Clusters are: Health, Culture, Digital, Industry & Space, Climate, Energy & Mobility, and Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environment.
If you want to read more general information about the whole structure of the Horizon Europe programme, its components and aims, click on our relevant blog article here.
Cluster 3 | Civil Security for Society
As the last few years of world conflicts and massive immigration flows have changed the world map, Europe also struggles to control its borders and to integrate new populations. Also, breaches of security and cyberattacks have been on the rise whereas in the terrorism world map, luckily Europe seems to maintain a stable and comparatively rather low position. Lastly, climate change is likely to exacerbate security challenges, and natural disasters call for better preparation to prevent and reduce the loss of life, harm to health and the environment, economic and material damage.
Statistical analysis on international terrorism shows that Europe comes in the 5th position after Middle East, South Asia and Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa with 2,322 deaths in a total of 2,779 attacks for the period 2007-2021. Additionally, the Global Terrorism Index *¹ for Europe (that shows which countries are most impacted by terrorism) has shown a small decrease from 2020 to 2021. Also, the rise in terrorism that was anticipated since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020, was not confirmed, perhaps due to restrictions on freedom of movement, public gatherings and travel.
On the other hand, the issue of cybersecurity is considered a “hot potato”. According to ENISA’s report on “Threat Landscape 2022”*², cybersecurity attacks continued to increase in Europe and worldwide during the second half of 2021 and 2022, not only in terms of vectors and numbers but also in terms of their impact. The threat groups according to the same report are: ransomware, malware, social engineering, threats against data, threats against availability (denial of service), disinformation & misinformation, and supply chain attacks. Public administration is the primary target of ransomware attacks and is the one with the highest number of incidents with regards to social impact, which in most cases concerned either the disruption of services or breaches of personal data. This led to great economic losses for the public sector along with the financial sector.
For all the above factors – terrorism, cyberattacks, disasters, immigration – Cluster 3 comes to offer solutions and give answers to security challenges following a proactive approach based on foresight, prevention and anticipation while ensuring free movement and protecting the integrity of the Schengen area. In that scope, the European Union along with the European Commission and the European Parliament have decided to dedicate €205,1 million to projects related to this Cluster about Civil Security for Society.
Fostering European Commission’s Priorities
There are a number of European Commission’s policy priorities and agreements that Cluster 3 has to address and support, such as “Promoting our European way of life”, “European Green Deal” and “Europe fit for the digital age”, the Security Union Strategy, the Counter-Terrorism Agenda, the border management and security dimensions of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, the “EU Disaster Risk Reduction policies”, the EU Maritime Security Strategy and the “EU Cybersecurity Strategy”.
What you should know about the relevant projects under Cluster 3
Projects that will be funded under this Cluster number 3 have to meet a number of requirements. Firstly, they have to develop new knowledge, technologies and other solutions to the identified requirements. The parties involved in these projects will be practitioner end-users, researchers and industry players. This combination of partners seems to ensure that results of Research & Innovation focus on practitioner needs. Finally, these projects have to comprehend what an organization has to provide in order to satisfy the stakeholders’ needs, and at the same time, to develop a strategy that ensures the uptake of the outcomes of each project.
Another important factor to take into account for the project under this “human-sensitive” Cluster is the privacy and the protection of personal data, thus the ethics. As projects progress in finding new tools to tackle the demanding tasks of this Cluster, the human factor and the societal context come in. Citizens and communities should be engaged in the progress of the projects under this Cluster by assessing the new tools proposed and by measuring the impact of the new security technologies.
The Destinations or impacts of Cluster 3:
All projects made under Cluster 3 are expected to achieve the following four impacts or the so-called destinations of this work programme:
- Enhanced disaster risk reduction through preventive actions, better societal preparedness and resilience and improved disaster risk management.
- Improved air/land/sea border management & maritime security, better knowledge of the social factors that lead to illicit trades, trafficking, piracy, terrorist and other criminal acts.
- Tackling crime and terrorism, and threats to infrastructures via better understanding of related human, societal and technological aspects, development of cutting-edge capabilities for police authorities and infrastructure operators (including measures against cybercrime).
- Increased cybersecurity and a more secure online environment by developing and using effectively EU Member States’ capabilities in digital technologies supporting protection of data and networks aspiring to technological sovereignty in this field, while respecting privacy and other fundamental rights.
Some facts & figures | Projects, participants & funding under Cluster Civil Security for Society of the Horizon Europe
About the funding of the projects under the Cluster Civil Security for Society
(that belongs in the Pillar II: “Global Challenges & European Industrial Competitiveness”), we can see that the Net EU contribution is €205,1 million, with the total cost reaching €223,1 million, 49 signed grants in total for 2021 and 2022 and with 827 organisations participating in them.
The 4 top participating countries in terms of the number of participants are in this order: Greece, Italy, Spain, and Germany. Here, we have to note that the 3 first aforementioned countries belong to the Mediterranean zone, meaning that they maintain borders with many non-European countries, namely the African states and Turkey, countries where the majority of immigrant populations originate from. The top four participant countries in terms of the NET EU contribution come in this order: Italy, Greece, Germany, Spain.
The top three participating organisations in terms of Net EU contribution are: ENGINEERING – INGEGNERIA INFORMATICA SPA from Italy with € 5.334.937,50, ETHNIKO KENTRO EREVNAS KAI TECHNOLOGIKIS ANAPTYXIS from Greece with € 4.706.062,50 and COMMISSARIAT A L ENERGIE ATOMIQUE ET AUX ENERGIES ALTERNATIVES from France with € 3.233.423,75.
Cyprus’ financing on Cluster Civil Security for Society
Concerning the projects funded under this Cluster about Civil Security for Society, Cyprus is coming in the 10th position in terms of the number of participants. Τhis position does not come as a surprise due to Cyprus’ geographical position and vicinity with the non- European countries, namely Turkey and various African countries, where a big number of immigrants come from. The Net EU contribution is €5,96 million, with the total cost reaching €7,31 million, 18 signed grants in total for 2021 and 2022 and with 25 organisations participating in them. The top three participating organisations in terms of the NET EU contribution come in this order: IANUS CONSULTING LTD with € 1.736.437,50, EIGHT BELLS LTD with € 619.375,00, and SPHYNX ANALYTICS LIMITED with € 484.375,00.
*¹ Institute for Economics & Peace. Global Terrorism Index 2022: Measuring the Impact of Terrorism, Sydney,
*² European Union Agency for Cybersecurity, ENISA