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Call: National Contact Points (NCPs) in the field of security and cybersecurity

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
National Contact Points (NCPs) in the field of security and cybersecurity
Description of call
"National Contact Points (NCPs) in the field of security and cybersecurity"

Expected Outcome:

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

  • Improved and professionalised NCP service of knowledge, experience and skills, consistent across Europe, thereby helping simplify access to Horizon Europe calls, lowering the entry barriers for newcomers, and raising the average quality of proposals submitted;
  • Harmonised and improved trans-national cooperation between NCPs, paying particular attention to the engagement of NCPs from associated partners, eventually not directly involved in the consortium, with the aim of ensuring the same level of information and quality to all National Contact Points, inside and outside the network;
  • Periodic and timely evidence-based policy feedback in support to EU-funded security research programming enabled by a seamless integration of the national, regional and local dimensions of security Research and Innovation into the EU picture;
  • A systematic assessment of the needs of the various stakeholders involved in security and Cybersecurity research projects and programmes with respect to identified learning opportunities through harmonised support mechanisms;
  • Collaboration with other Member States’ organisations providing support to Horizon Europe applicants in the domain of Cluster “Civil Security for Society”, for example the future National Coordination Centres created through the proposed Cybersecurity Competence Centre and Network Regulation;
  • A more reliable measurement of the impact of security research and innovation built, inter alia, on a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the participation in the different Programme calls and a better awareness of the innovation-uptake success stories stemming from the participation of national players in EU-funded security research projects;
  • Collaboration, including NCPs in third countries, through specific NCP networking projects in the different Horizon Europe programme areas to address and advise the respective communities better and more specifically.
  • Increased cooperation of NCPs with the Enterprise Europe Network.


National Contact Points (NCPs) are support structures that have become an essential component in the implementation of successive Framework Programmes. They provide information and on-the ground advice to potential applicants and beneficiaries, through the project life cycle, in their own language, in a manner that would be impossible for the European Commission and its Agencies acting alone.

The NCPs are the main structure for providing practical information and assistance to potential participants. They are ambassadors for Horizon Europe, perceived as true and impartial partners of the European Commission Services and its Agencies. The system of NCPs will be established, operated and financed under the responsibility of the Member States and Associated Countries.

NCPs can also help to give visibility to different perspectives of all Security Research and Innovation (R&I) stakeholders and to break geographical silos by aggregating the knowledge existing in the EU Member States and regions and incorporate it to the European picture. This should reinforce the development and testing of new security solutions in European Regions, drawing on their local characteristics, strengths and specialisation and contribute to the push towards a “Place-based innovation and experimentation” brought by the New Industrial Strategy for Europe.

As highly professional support services, NCPs operating nationally will form an essential component of Horizon Europe implementation. They will have a key role in delivering the Programme’s objectives and impacts ensuring that it becomes known and readily accessible to all potential applicants, irrespective of sector or discipline.

A system of NCPs will be established for the Horizon Europe Cluster 3 “Civil Security for Society”, building on the experience of previous Framework Programmes.

The Horizon 2020 Secure Societies Work Programme comprehensively addressed the current security policy framework and key challenges. In specific, it aims at securing the society against disasters, fighting crime (including cybercrime) and terrorism, securing European borders, supporting the Union's external security policies in civilian tasks, and last but not least, increasing digital security.

In Horizon Europe, those challenges are to be addressed through various mechanisms tailored to the different actors, and by implementing actions at different levels, e.g. Research and Innovation Actions, Innovation Actions, Coordination and Support Actions and Pre-commercial Procurement Actions. Complementary actions include boosting communication, dissemination and exploitation; fostering the testing, validation and demonstration of innovative technologies; as well as strengthening the links between the R&I community actors.

NCPs will be called to support and enhance this approach by, inter alia, facilitating access of all relevant actors to funding opportunities; providing generic and sector specific information and advice, enabling contacts with strategic actors, organisations and initiatives and addressing the need to seek and provide consistent coordination among actors.

The activities of the NCP Network should be tailored according to the nature of the area, and the priorities of the NCPs concerned. Special attention should be given to enhancing the competence of NCPs, including helping less experienced NCPs rapidly acquire the know-how built up in other countries.

The successful proposal will contribute to delivering the Programme’s objectives and impacts and raise awareness of potential applicants for calls under Horizon Europe Cluster 3 – "Civil Security for Society". Irrespectively of their sector or discipline, project proposals should aim to facilitate trans-national co-operation between NCPs, with a view to identifying and sharing good practices and raising the general standard of support to Programme applicants. The project should also allow for a better flow of information relevant for the implementation of the Programme from the EU level to the national level and vice-versa, and also across Member States and Associated Countries. This includes fostering the participation of national players in EU security research and innovation fora.

The NCP network should explore the possibility to increase the visibility at EU level of the results and impact achieved by national players following their participation in R&I projects. Particular attention should be given to results that have led to the deployment of solutions in the field of operations, or that show a strong potential for uptake because of the interest expressed by national buyers.

Proposals should include a work package to implement matchmaking activities to link up potential participants from widening countries with emerging consortia in the domain of the Cluster “Civil Security for Society”. Matchmaking should take place by means of online tools, brokerage events, info days and bilateral meetings between project initiators and candidate participants from widening countries. Other matchmaking instruments may be used as appropriate. Where relevant, synergies should be sought with the Enterprise Europe Network to organise matchmaking activities in accordance with Annex IV of the NCP Minimum Standards and Guiding Principles.

The project proposal to be funded should cover a wide range of activities related to Horizon Europe, address issues specific to the Cluster "Civil Security for Society" and may follow up on the work of SEREN4.

The project consortium should have a good representation of experienced and less experienced NCPs.

The proposed Cybersecurity Competence Centre and Network Regulation inter alia establishes a Network of National Coordination Centres. These National Coordination Centres will be tasked, amongst others, to facilitate the participation of industry and other actors at the Member State level in cross-border projects and to act as contact point at the national level for the Cybersecurity Competence Community and the Competence Centre. Therefore, proposals should also take into account support activities for coordination between the respective beneficiary (NCP) and the respective National Coordination Centre within the relevant Member States as applicable once the regulation mentioned above is in force.

The recommended duration of the project is 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, Disaster Prevention, Resiliance, Risk Management, Demographic Change, Migration, Mobility & Transport/Traffic
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Public Services, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, National Government
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.
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: 30 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 2.50 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 2.50 million.
Typ of ActionCoordination and Support Actions (CSA)
Funding rate100%

Applicants must be Horizon Europe national support structures (e.g. NCP) responsible for Cluster 3 and officially nominated to the European Commission from an EU Member State or an Associated Country.

Only in case and as long as Horizon Europe structures would not yet be officially nominated when the call opens, national support structures responsible for Secure Societies and nominated for Horizon 2020 would be eligible.

Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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