The European Commission and the Austrian Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology will co-host the 2018 edition of the Security Research Event (SRE) at the SQUARE Conference Centre in Brussels on 5-6 December 2018.
The aim of this year's event, entitled “Making Europe a safer place – demonstrating the impact of EU-funded security research”, is to show the strength and utility of EU-funded security-related research and innovation, and their positive impact on the daily work of security practitioners and first responders.
The SRE conference will be opened by Ms Paraskevi Michou, Director General for Migration and Home Affairs. The Minister of Transport, Innovation and Technology of Austria, Mr Norbert Hofer, and European Commissioner Julian King, responsible for the Security Union, will deliver keynote speeches.
These will be followed by two high-level panel discussions. The first panel will focus on communication and dissemination of the results of security research, while the second will review ways to optimise the uptake and re-use of these results, as well as to track commercialised project spin-offs.
The second day of the conference will offer participants panel discussions across a wide spectrum of security-related topics such as citizens’ awareness, terrorism, border security, disaster-response resilience, radicalisation, protection of public spaces, cybercrime and maritime security.
Moreover, SRE 2018 will be twinned with important stakeholder group activities. In the margins of the conference, for example, will take place the annual meeting of the International Forum to Advance First Responder Innovation (IFAFRI) – a global network of public authorities from 14 countries, including several EU Member States, currently chaired by the EC. This will promote synergies between the two events and interaction with stakeholders. In addition, the Community of Users on Safe, Secure and Resilient Societies, to which the SRE is associated, will hold several technical workshops during the two days preceding the conference.
Security research ecosystem
In a world faced with growing risks of man-made and natural disasters, the security of its citizenry, economy and environment are an ever-present priority for the European Union.
Strengthening capacities in disaster risk management, improving resilience, reinforcing border security and improving the fight against crime and terrorism are key EU policy objectives. Research is one of the strategic instruments that can support these objectives.
But research cannot stand in isolation. It only creates concrete added value when integrated with a capability development process that delivers to the EU and its Member States the tools they need to deal with current and future security threats. Research and innovation anticipate the threats and challenges, while developing the technologies for security practitioners in their daily work.
The capability development process embraces policy-makers, practitioners, researchers, industry and citizens. All need to be involved in the research process to ensure that innovative solutions are tailored to the actual needs of security practitioners and first responders. Innovation should be the result of a co-creation process. This requires a proper exchange of information and communication between the different actors regarding the design of risk scenarios, policy updates, operational requirements, technology watch, citizens’ concerns and, of course, the results of research projects themselves.
The EU’s next Framework Programme for Research & Innovation (“Horizon Europe”), to be launched in 2021, will provide a unique opportunity to extend support for security research and innovation and its dissemination.
This support for security research and innovation will be embedded in Horizon Europe’s sub-budget, called “Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness”. The research will be mission-driven by responding to precise needs and requirements defined by policy makers and practitioners. This will further enhance the way security research was steered and conducted under Horizon 2020.
The concept behind Horizon Europe will strengthen the impact of EU funding. Horizon Europe will push for activities to be conducted beyond projects' lifetime and ensure better dissemination and exploitation of results through dedicated mechanisms. This conference and its dedicated exhibition, as well as future editions, are a crucial step in such a process.
Building on the experience of previous editions, SRE 2018 will offer participants a unique opportunity to explore its exhibition area where 50 research projects will showcase their results. Visitors will interact with project demonstrations and test for themselves the innovative technological security products on hand, all developed with EU funding.
The exhibition is proof of the EUs commitment to delivering security solutions that generate a positive impact on citizens’ lives. These solutions help boost innovation and cooperation by creating more synergies among governments, the private sector and Europe’s research community.
Project participation in the SRE 2018
The projects that will participate in SRE 2018 are clustered around the following thematic areas:
The EU's Austrian Presidency is pleased to actively support SRE 2018 and host an evening reception on Day 1. Security research has been a priority for Austria’s national research policy agenda for a long time. Its security research funding programme KIRAS – whose name is derived from fusing the ancient Greek notion of “kirkos” (ring) with “asphaleia” (security) – was the first programme of its kind in Europe when launched in 2005. As of 2018, KIRAS has sponsored 232 projects with funding of € 78 million, and another 22 projects will be funded soon.
KIRAS's innovative concept requires that each project it funds includes the participation of end-user(s) in the project’s research consortium to ensure that demand for the innovation is taken into account. With its also mandatory inclusion of humanities, social sciences and cultural studies, KIRAS equates responsible technology development delivering relevant security to society.
Security research in Austria is structured on a broad thematic basis, comparable to the European Security Research Programme. It ranges across holistic protection of critical infrastructure, crisis-management support, protection against natural disasters, counter-terrorism and crime prevention, cyber security, countering cybercrime and ever-important socio-political research issues.
KIRAS also directly contributes to the competitiveness of Austrian industry vis-à-vis the global security-technology market by creating jobs. For example, KIRAS’s funding has generated added-value of approximately € 150 million since its launch. By end-2017, for example, more than 2,800 jobs were created by KIRAS projects and their follow-up actions. Indeed, Austria’s security sector stands out for its above-average growth rate and high degree of export orientation.
Last but not least, the strong involvement of Austrian security research players in the European Security Research Programme is further proof of KIRAS’s success at the European level.