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Call: A maturity assessment framework for security technologies

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Programme
Acronym HE-CL3-SSRI
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 3 - Destination 6: Strengthened Security Research and Innovation"

The EU-funded security research and innovation framework was launched with the Preparatory Action for Security Research[[COM(2004) 72]]. Since then, the programme has contributed substantially to knowledge and value creation in the field of internal security and to the consolidation of an ecosystem better equipped to capitalise on research and innovation to support the EU security priorities.

While the success of the programme has materialised in relevant scientific findings, maturation of promising technology areas, operational validation of innovative concepts or support to policy implementation, a key challenge remains in improving the uptake of innovation.

The extent to which innovative technologies developed thanks to EU R&I investment are industrialised and commercialised by EU industry, and later acquired and deployed by end-users, thus contributing to the development of security capabilities[[For the purpose of this work programme, the terms “Capability” should be understood as "the ability to pursue a particular policy priority or achieve a desired operational effect”. The term “capability” is often interchanged with the term “capacity”, but this should be avoided. “Capacity” could refer to an amount or volume of which one organisation could have enough or not. On the other hand, “capability” refers to an ability, an aptitude or a process that can be developed or improved in consonance with the ultimate objective of the organisation.]], could give a valuable measure of the impact achieved with the programme. However, there are factors inherent to the EU security ecosystem (often attributed to the market) that hinder the full achievement of this impact. These include market fragmentation, cultural barriers, analytical weaknesses, programming weaknesses, ethical, legal and societal considerations or lack of synergies between funding instruments, among others.

It is worth noting that such factors affect all the security domains addressed in Cluster 3; that there is not one predominant factor with sufficient leverage by itself to change the overall innovation uptake dynamics; and that they exhibit complex relationships among them which are difficult to disentangle. It should also be noted that the innovation uptake process starts before the R&I cycle is triggered, and it is not finalised with the successful termination of a research project. Therefore, the uptake challenge extends beyond the realm of R&I. However, from within R&I it is possible, if not to materialise the uptake in every case, at least to pave the way towards its materialisation.

To that aim, there is a need to create a favourable environment that is designed with the main purpose of increasing the impact of security R&I, that is visible and recognisable to those interested in contributing to this aim, and which provides bespoke tools that serve to tackle the factors that hinder innovation uptake.

The SSRI Destination has therefore been designed with this purpose to serve equally to all the expected impacts of Cluster 3. Research applied in this domain will contribute to increasing the impact of the work carried out in the EU security Research and Innovation ecosystem as a whole and to contribute to its core values, namely: i) Ensuring that security R&I maintains the focus on the potential final use of its outcomes; ii) Contributing to a forward-looking planning of EU security capabilities; iii) Ensuring the development of security technologies that are socially acceptable; iv) Paving the way to the industrialisation, commercialisation, acquisition and deployment of successful R&I outcomes; and v) Safeguarding the open strategic autonomy and technological sovereignty of the EU in critical security areas by contributing to a more competitive and resilient EU security technology and industrial base.

While the other Destinations of this Horizon Europe Cluster 3 Work Programme offer research and innovation activities to develop solutions to address specific security threats or capability needs, the SSRI Destination will contribute with instruments that will help bringing these and other developments closer to the market. Such instruments will help developers (including industry, research organisations and academia) to improve the valorisation of their research investment. They will also support buyers and users in materialising the uptake of innovation and further develop their security capabilities.

In addition, the SSRI Destination will offer an open environment to create knowledge and value through research in matters (including technology, but also social sciences and humanities) that are not exclusive of only one security area, but cross-cutting to the whole Cluster. This will contribute to reducing thematic fragmentation, bringing closer together the actors from different security domains, and expanding the market beyond traditional thematic silos.

Finally, SSRI will allow the allocation of resources to the development of tools and methods to reinforce the innovation cycle itself from a process standpoint, thus increasing its effectiveness, efficiency and impact. This Destination will contribute to the development of an analytical capacity tailored to the specific needs of security stakeholders for the materialisation of a structured long-term capability based planning of research and innovation for security.

In order to accomplish the objectives of this Destination, additional eligibility conditions have been defined with regard to the active involvement of relevant security practitioners or end-users.

Expected impacts:

Proposals for topics under this Destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to the following impacts:

  • A more effective and efficient evidence-based development of EU civil security capabilities built on a stronger, more systematic and analysis-intensive security research and innovation cycle;
  • Increased industrialisation, commercialisation, adoption and deployment of successful outcomes of security research reinforces the competitiveness and resilience of EU security technology and industrial base and safeguards the security of supply of EU-products in critical security areas;
  • R&I-enabled knowledge and value in cross-cutting matters reduces sector specific bias and breaks thematic silos that impede the proliferation of common security solutions.
Link Link to Programme
Call
A maturity assessment framework for security technologies
Description of call
"A maturity assessment framework for security technologies"

Expected Outcome:

Projects are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Increased literacy on the value and efficient use of maturity assessment frameworks to communicate the readiness of technology, synchronise parallel developments, forecast implementation and support decision making in the planning of investment in the area of security;
  • Improved cross-disciplinary assessment of the maturity of innovative technologies based on common harmonised frameworks for the security domain;
  • Comprehensive and timely updated map of the maturity of the security solutions developed through EU-funded security research and innovation programmes enabled by widely accessible assessment tools and methods;
  • Evidence-based programming of security research built on a more reliable assessment of the state of the art technologies in the field of security.

Scope:

Having awareness of the maturity of a system is an invaluable reference to understand how ready this system is to be deployed on a numeric scale. Given the challenge posed by the limited uptake of the outcomes of EU-funded security R&I, having the capacity to characterise the progress achieved by security systems under development basing on readiness characteristics, and not only from a purely technological perspective, can be a powerful tool to identify areas that require further work or to provide input to strategic investment decision making processes.

Scales using metrics such as the Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) are widely used and have been adapted to different domains. Other scales have been developed, including Integration Readiness Level (IRL), Commercialisation Readiness Level (CRL), Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRL), Security, Privacy and Ethics Readiness Level (SPRL) or Societal Readiness Level (SRL), among others. These may have been defined for different purposes and often focusing on non-technological aspects of technology development. However, problems emerge when readiness levels proliferate and are used without a commonly agreed definition, when they are not duly adapted to the specific context of application or when they are implemented without the support of adequate tools and methods to carry out a reliable assessment.

Applicants are invited to submit proposals for the development of a maturity assessment framework that serves as a reference for the development of civil security technology-based solutions. The framework should be cross-disciplinary and combine different readiness scales in an aggregated manner in order to be able to deliver holistic and quantitative maturity assessments agglutinating different perspectives (e.g. technological, systemic, societal, etc.). The scales proposed should be robust, repeatable and agile, so they can be trusted, replicated, and applied to different types of security solutions in the different domains covered by this Work Programme.

The scales proposed have to rely as much as possible in existing and recognised scales and methods that show the appropriate quality features to ensure their reliability. Such scales need to be tailored and adapted to the security context as required in a justified manner.

Based on the maturity assessment framework proposed, the project is expected to deliver tools that allow the guided and/or the self-assessment of the maturity of concrete security solutions being developed under the frame of EU-funded security research work programmes. These tools will allow an open access to those actors interested in assessing the readiness levels of concrete technologies, preferably through a web-based environment that allows for a high degree of automation. It is of particular relevance to allow open access to the online tools to actors participating in EU-funded security research projects so they are able to assess the progress in the maturation of their technologies throughout the project.

An extensive validation process for the developed assessment tools should be conducted as part of the project. This validation should be conducted by performing maturity assessments on different solutions recently delivered or currently under development in H2020 or Horizon Europe projects. The results of the maturity assessment should be made available to the projects collaborating with the validation for their own use and in support to their activities. The results are expected to be made available to other EC-chaired or funded initiatives for which this information can be of added value, such as the Networks of Practitioners projects funded under H2020 Secure Societies work programmes, to the Knowledge Networks for Security Research & Innovation funded under the Horizon Europe Cluster 3 Work Programme, to the Community of Users for Secure, Safe and Resilient Societies (future CERIS –Community of European Research and Innovation for Security) or to other security research and innovation working groups set-up by European Commission Agencies.

The project should explore the options, also from a business perspective, for the exploitation of the results beyond the project lifetime, including the setting up of formal mechanisms for the certification of readiness of security solutions by entrusted bodies.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.

The project should have a maximum estimated duration of 3 years.

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication, Justice, Safety & Security, Administration & Governance, Competitiveness, SME
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Research Institution, International Organization, Public Services, University, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, National Government, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), NGO / NPO, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, Education and Training Centres
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State;and
  • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Call opens 30.06.2021
Call closes 23.11.2021
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system

Page limit - Part B: 45 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 1.50 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 1.50 million.
Typ of ActionResearch and Innovation Actions (RIA)
Funding rate100%
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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