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Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe’s open topics opportunities in the field of security

Horizon Europe Civil Security for Society

In recent years, resilience and the protection of societies have become increasingly important focuses for the European Union, with the development of common assets, infrastructures, and cooperation to enhance the security of all citizens against natural and human risks. Horizon Europe, through Cluster 3 – Civil Security for Society, continues in 2024 to support the most innovative and ambitious European institutions, as well as researchers and economic actors, in their efforts to respond to challenges posed by threats such as natural disasters, cybercrime, and terrorism. Starting from late June, nearly 200 million euros will be allocated to finance innovation actions, as well as research and innovation in this field.

“These calls can constitute significant opportunities for growth, networking, and innovation for all those working in domains related to security or the application of security technologies or social sciences in this field,” highlights Laurent Pelliser, consultant in European Projects at Zabala Innovation. “The flexible nature of these calls allows competing for these grants with innovative concepts and technologies that are not even considered yet by the European Commission,” he adds.

Do you have an innovative project in this field? We can help you!

A highly uncommon feature in European funding programs, four out of six destinations within the cluster will each have an open topic, whether it’s an Innovation Action (IA, with a 70% funding rate for for-profit organizations) or a Research and Innovation Action (RIA, with 100% funding rate). “In this way, consortia can address challenges in the field of security that are new, emerging, or unforeseen and not covered by other topics,” emphasizes Pelliser.

Calls for proposals – Deadline on 20th November 2024

Topic HORIZON-CL3-2024-FCT-01

Calls under this topic aim to strengthen European societies in protection against crime and terrorism through prevention, preparedness, and response, or better understanding of related human, social, and technological aspects, with various potential approaches to be pursued under the auspices of respecting fundamental rights.

HORIZON-CL3-2024-FCT-01-02 is an RIA call, with a budget of 9 million euros for two proposals focused on enhancing forensic capabilities, providing innovative tools and training to authorities.

HORIZON-CL3-2024-FCT-01-06 is an RIA call, with a budget of 6 million euros for two proposals focused on detecting and preventing contemporary and emerging criminal activities.

Both calls will require the proposed solution not to be covered by other topics of the calls within the destination, and the participation of police authorities and relevant expert institutions of EU Member States and associated countries (forensic institutes, in the case of 01-02, and SSH experts, in the case of 01-06). Additionally, projects must contribute to all objectives of the call.

Topic HORIZON-CL3-2024-BM-01

This theme focuses on securing the EU’s external borders to better manage challenges related to migration and refugees from geopolitical crises, while facilitating travel and respecting fundamental rights, as well as contributing to prevention, preparedness, and response to disasters and natural and human threats.

HORIZON-CL3-2024-BM-01-01 is an RIA call, with a budget of 6 million euros allocated to two proposals focused on improving the security of the EU’s land, air, and sea borders, cross-border experience, etc. Proposals must involve border guards or coastguards or customs authorities from different EU Member States and associated countries.

Topic HORIZON-CL3-2024-INFRA-01

This call belongs to the Resilient Infrastructure destination, aimed at strengthening European critical infrastructures to ensure their continuous operation in extreme environments such as attacks, pandemics, disasters, or events related to climate change, to facilitate response to such crises and support their use by smart cities.

HORIZON-CL3-2024-INFRA-01-01 is an IA call, with a budget of 5 million euros for a single proposal contributing to increased resilience to natural and human threats for critical infrastructure operators and greater resilience of these critical infrastructures through improved surveillance, risk assessment, forecasting, mitigation techniques, and modeling. Proposals must involve at least two critical infrastructure operators and civil protection authorities from at least three EU Member States and associated countries as beneficiaries.

Topic HORIZON-CL3-2024-DRS-01

The last destination to offer an open call will be Resilient Society against Disasters for Europe, aiming to reduce the consequences and losses derived from disasters through prevention, preparedness, resilience, and risk management at societal level, both through technological developments, citizen integration in initiatives, harmonization of protocols, and reinforcement of prevention and response capacities.

HORIZON-CL3-2024-DRS-01-02 is an RIA call, with the associated TRL and a budget of 6 million euros for two proposals focused on improving interactions between the scientific community, research institutions and programs, first and second responders, crisis risk managers from city authorities, and citizens or local communities in ways not covered by other topics of the calls within the destination (2023-24).

Successful proposals will actively involve at least one representative from each of the following categories: crisis risk managers of European cities, organizations representing citizens or local communities, professionals (first or second responders), local or regional authorities, and the private sector from at least three EU Member States and associated countries.

The Civil Security for Society programme

The Civil Security for Society programme aims to support the implementation of EU policies related to physical, digital, and pandemic security in the post-COVID environment, both through prevention and resilience approaches. Therefore, this work program supports policies combating organized crime, terrorism, arms and human trafficking, but also border management and security aspects of migration and asylum policies, as well as disaster risk reduction.

The sensitivity of the topics considered determines their focus on the ethical nature of the results, which must be guaranteed, and social acceptance, which must be high. Therefore, all projects will have to consider the social impact of the proposed technologies and projects, as well as ensure respect for fundamental rights while supporting the program’s destinations through actions combining international collaboration with the protection of EU security interests and strategic autonomy.

For their final development, adoption in the market, and implementation of their results, projects will seek synergies with projects funded under the Integrated Border Management Fund, the Internal Security Fund, the Digital Europe programme, and the Cohesion Policy.

The calls in this work program – including the aforementioned open topics – are open to any type of legal entity organized in consortia of at least three entities. It is important to highlight that, for the open topic, the corresponding destination will define the medium and long-term impact each project will contribute to.

Projects already funded by Horizon Europe Civil Security for Society

The previous work program (2021-2022) also featured some open topics, focused on border management. The following two examples can be found, among many others, in our intelligent innovation ecosystem Kaila.

Funded under the call HORIZON-CL3-2022-BM-01-04, the BAG-INTEL project intends to provide customs services at airports with AI-based tools to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of luggage control for air travelers with the least amount of necessary human resources. Its goal is to improve smuggling detection capabilities through X-ray scanning, introduce digital twin systems, provide demonstrations at various airports, and produce easily disseminated technological and training material for users.

Funded under the call HORIZON-CL3-2022-BM-01-05, the CONNECTOR project aims to further integrate customs services into the Common Information Sharing Network and the Enhanced Common Information Sharing Environment, with a focus on an interoperable technical environment. This will allow better cooperation with Border and Coast Guard authorities and better response to EU-level policy initiatives for border management and security.

To help them achieve the best possible outcome in their innovation and development process, Zabala Innovation accompanies its clients not only in identifying relevant EU funding opportunities and defining specific use cases tailored to sectoral needs and challenges but also in accessing opportunities like these. Additionally, Zabala Innovation teams support in crafting the best consortium and proposal possible to ensure that clients will have the necessary resources to bring their ideas to life and see them implemented.