Commission Preps for Unexpected

Tuesday, February 08, 2005
The recent tsunami in Asia and a number of terrorist attacks over the last years have demonstrated the need for quick and organised responses in crisis management situations. How can we respond quickly and effectively?

Recent experience in crisis management situations suggests that technology can help save lives and restore security. The European Commission is planning a wide-ranging European Security Research Programme to help reinforce the security of European citizens. The Preparatory Action already under way includes a number of projects, such as one improving the security surveillance technology for crowded areas like a sport stadium or metro stations that could be targets for terrorist attacks, by using a range of sensors to detect dangerous behaviour. Other projects will emerge in response to the new call for proposals being launched.

Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen commented: “The Preparatory Action is forging the way towards a comprehensive European Security Research Programme as the basis for all security-related research in support of EU policies. The objectives of security research are clearly to enhance the security of European citizens and at the same time increase competitiveness in the relevant industrial sectors.”

The upcoming European Security Research Programme will support EU policies, e.g. the Common Foreign and Security Policy CFSP and the Justice, Freedom & Security policy (The Hague Programme) or other EC policies. The Community funding for the new programme is expected to significantly increase during the period 2007-2013.

This second call under the Preparatory Action Programme will develop, demonstrate and validate technology solutions for security problems in five target areas has a budget of €15 million:

Situation awareness, such as identification and assessment of threats to land and sea borders and global assets, Protection of networked systems, such as communication systems, utilities, transports systems against electronic or physical threats, Protection against terrorism, including bio-terrorism and dangerous substances, threat detection, prevention, identification and neutralisation, Crisis management, including prevention, preparedness and remediation in man-made or natural disasters (such as tsunamis), Interoperability of control and communications systems, including standardisation of equipment and procedures.

This will be complemented by a number of studies, e.g. societal aspects and public acceptability of such technologies and ensuing security related measures.

The PASR 2005 call, with a closing date of 03 May 2005, comes only weeks after placing contracts from the PASR 2004 call which generated a tremendous response, with over 170 proposals submitted, from a large range of security stakeholders from industry, including small and medium enterprises, public authorities, universities and research institutes (see list of selected proposals in the press memo).

The future European Security Research Programme is expected to start in 2007 as a key component of the 7th R&D Framework Programme. In addition, preparation for this programme involves the establishment of an Advisory Board, to assist the Commission in preparing a long term vision and a strategic agenda for future security research, whose first meeting is scheduled for April 2005.

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