There is no doubt that security needs are increasing worldwide. However, it is important to ensure that the security industry is producing solutions that meet citizens' needs, and that research in the field is channelled with this premise in mind. This was the aim of the EU-funded project ASSERT (Assessing security research: Tools and methodologies to measure societal impact). To achieve this, the project considered important tools such as social impact assessment, constructive technology assessment and privacy/surveillance impact assessment. It looked at the stages of research projects in the field, noting the importance of considering societal impacts to guide researchers and evaluating exploitable results. This was achieved through expert workshops focused on requirements involved in impact assessment mechanisms within the field of security research. The project team also built a database of experts to foster exchanges on the topic beyond the lifetime of the project, in addition to offering training material online to direct researchers. A key project result is the development of an online assessment tool for determining societal impact, which is expected to guide researchers in evaluating their research efforts and goals. Another key result is the creation of the ASSERT masterclass of societal impact assessment that provides an interactive context for stakeholders (researchers, academics, policymakers, evaluators) to advance impact assessments in security research. Overall, the project's results are expected to prove very useful not only to researchers, but also to evaluators of future security research proposals and to policymakers who implement research programmes. Cultural, political, environmental, health and privacy issues – all part of the societal impact assessment – will now be more properly integrated into security solutions emerging from Europe.
Security research, security solutions, societal impact, impact assessment, technology assessment