Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge:

The ever-growing number of travellers crossing the EU borders poses a serious challenge to the border control authorities in terms of a reduced amount of time for carrying out border checks. Consequently, efforts are being undertaken to facilitate the travel of bona-fide and genuine passengers and simultaneously to safeguard high level of security. In particular, in the field of person and document authentication and/or verification, the  deployment of biometric-based approaches led to significant advances as regards making the border control processes more efficient. Further explorations, going beyond state-of-the-art, of biometric-based person identification detection techniques are expected to contribute to making the daily work of border control authorities more efficient and to significantly facilitating bona-fide non-EU citizens in crossing EU external borders.


Research is needed in order to explore whether it is possible to use other biometric data (potentially already used in another context and in another domain) than fingerprint, iris or facial picture to store in the e-Passport chip, which would guarantee the same or higher level of security, but would be more accurate and could be retrieved in a more efficient manner than in the case of the conventionally used biometric data types. In addition, practical experiences lead to the assumption that for non-critical travelers (EU, bona-fide etc.) a most fluent non-intrusive control process is desired. Therefore, to increase accuracy, in this case the use of contactless techniques (e.g. face, 3D face, iris) and multi-biometric fusion is likely to be preferred over contact-based technologies.

While the introduction of new biometric-based modalities in the process of person identification might lead to making this process more accurate and efficient, an integral part of the research should also embrace the related ethical, societal and data protection aspects. Work should include optimization of the use of current biometric modalities and consideration of how services offered by countries outside of the EU may result in a more efficient and user-friendly experience for the traveler. The development of modeling techniques, artificial intelligence and the creation of datasets for use by academics and commercial entities should be a priority. The work carried out should also include research on the theme of multi-modal biometrics in border control.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between €3m and €5m would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

Non-EU residents contributed €271 billion to the economy of Member States and Associated Countries when travelling to the EU in 2011. Business travellers, workers, researchers and students, third country nationals with family ties to EU citizens or living in regions bordering the EU are all likely to cross the borders several times a year. Making it as easy as possible for them to come to the EU would ensure that Europe remains an attractive destination and helps boosting economic activity and job creation. The outcome of the research should be assessed  in terms of potential to improve border management and control modalities facilitating travel without compromising security. The expected impact is to make the daily work of border control authorities more efficient and to significantly facilitate bona-fide non-EU citizens in crossing EU external borders.

Type of action: Research & Innovation Actions

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