Horizon 2020

Secure societies – Protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens

This Challenge is about undertaking the research and innovation activities needed to protect our citizens, society and economy as well as our infrastructures and services, our prosperity, political stability and wellbeing.

The primary aims of the Secure Societies Challenge are:

  • to enhance the resilience of our society against natural and man-made disasters, ranging from the development of new crisis management tools to communication interoperability, and to develop novel solutions for the protection of critical infrastructure;
  • to fight crime and terrorism ranging from new forensic tools to protection against explosives;
  • to improve border security, ranging from improved maritime border protection to supply chain security and to support the Union’s external security policies including through conflict prevention and peace building;
  • and to provide enhanced cyber-security, ranging from secure information sharing to new assurance models.

Securing the society against disasters is one of the central elements of the functioning of any society. There is barely any societal sector which is not to some extent concerned by disasters and related resilience and security issues.

Fighting crime and terrorism requires new technologies and capabilities for fighting and preventing crime (including cyber-crime), illegal trafficking and terrorism (including cyber-terrorism), including understanding and tackling terrorist ideas and beliefs to also avoid aviation-related threats.

The protection of the European borders requires the development of systems, equipment, tools, processes, and methods for rapid identification. This includes supply chain security in the context of the EU’s customs policy.

Furthermore, solutions will be developed to support the Union’s external security policies in civilian tasks, ranging from civil protection to humanitarian relief, border management or peace-keeping and post-crisis stabilisation, including conflict prevention, peace-building and mediation.

On Digital Security, this Challenge focuses on increasing the security of current applications, services and infrastructures by integrating state-of-the-art security solutions or processes, supporting the creation of lead markets & market incentives in Europe, following an end-user driven approach, including for instance law enforcement agencies, first responders, operators of critical infrastructures, ICT service providers, ICT manufacturers, market operators and citizens.

This Challenge should bring together all security stakeholders: industry – including SMEs, research organisations, universities, as well as public authorities, non-governmental organisations and public and private organisations in the security domain. The active involvement of end-users is of high importance.

Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies

Europe faces huge challenges in reducing inequality and social exclusion. 80 million people are at risk of poverty and 14 million young people are not in education, employment or training. We have not yet overcome the economic crisis which has led to unemployment rates of 12% in general and 20% among the youth.

Reducing inequalities and social exclusion in Europe are crucial challenges for the future of Europe. At the same time, there is great potential for Europe through opportunities provided, for example, by new forms of innovation and by the engagement of citizens. Supporting inclusive, innovative and reflective societies is a prerequisite for a sustainable European integration.

EU research and innovation will address social exclusion, discriminations and various forms of inequalities. It will explore new forms of innovation and strengthen the evidence base for the Innovation Union, the European Research Area and other relevant EU policies. It will promote coherent and effective cooperation with third countries. Finally, it will address the issues of memories, identities, tolerance and cultural heritage.

In short, this Societal Challenge of the Horizon 2020 programme aims at fostering a greater understanding of Europe, by providing solutions and support inclusive, innovative and reflective European societies with an innovative public sector in a context of unprecedented transformations and growing global interdependencies.

The current SC6 Work Programme 2016-2017 tackles four major challenges currently faced by the European Union:

  • Economic recovery and inclusive and sustainable long-term growth with focus on co-creation for growth and inclusion: engaging citizens, users, academia, social partners, public authorities, businesses including SMEs, creative sector and social entrepreneurs.
  • Reversing inequalities in Europe. For more inclusive societies to take shape in the medium term, coherent visions will need to be devised on how to foster a social and economic framework that promotes fairness and sustainability in Europe.
  • The global environment in which the EU operates is constantly evolving. Recent developments show just how dynamically the strategic and geopolitical contexts are changing.
  • A better understanding of Europe’s cultural and social diversity and of its past will inform the reflection about present problems and help to find solutions for shaping Europe’s future.

The four calls are supplemented by a set of specific smaller activities supporting in particular the implementation of the Innovation Union, the European Research Area, the strategy for international cooperation in R&I and COST.

Leave a Reply