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European Commission gives out 15 million euro to anti-terrorism research projects

The European Commission has allocated €15 million of funding to 15 projects in the field of security research.

The projects are funded under the 'Preparatory Action for Security Research' (PASR), which focuses on bridging the gap between civil research and national s...

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The European Commission has allocated €15 million of funding to 15 projects in the field of security research.

The projects are funded under the 'Preparatory Action for Security Research' (PASR), which focuses on bridging the gap between civil research and national security research initiatives. The projects allocated funding address a range of security issues, from the detection of explosives and biological agents to the development of tracking and surveillance systems.

The ISOTREX (Integrated System for On-line Trace Explosives detection in solid and vapour state) project aims to develop an instrument able to detect a wide range of explosives, including liquids. The technology will be integrated into a portable system for use at large check points such as airports and customs. Another project, HAMLeT, (Hazardous Material Localisation & Person Tracking) will ultimately help security services detect and track individuals in a crowd who could be carrying hazardous materials.

Other projects will address the detection of biological weapons. For example, the AEROBACTICS project (Assessment of the quantity, identity, viability, origin and dispersion of airborne micro-organisms for application in crisis management tools) will develop models to distinguish biological attacks from naturally occurring micro-organisms and then predict how these will disperse.

WATERSAFE (On-Line Monitoring of Drinking Water for Public Security from Deliberate or Accidental Contamination) will develop sensing and decontamination technologies to protect drinking water systems from terrorist and criminal activities.

Meanwhile the i-TRACS (Counter-Terrorism identification and tracking system using the analysis of communications, financial and travel data) project aims to develop a tracking and surveillance system which will enable the gathering of evidence while respecting civil liberties and privacy.

Europe's wider security infrastructure is also addressed by the selected projects. For example, WINTSEC (Wireless INTeroperability for SECurity) will look at ways to break down the barriers for wireless interoperability across different security agencies, while EuroCop aims to improve the efficiency of pedestrian police officers, thereby giving them more time to engage in 'active policing' on the street.

Since its inception in 2004, the Action has funded a total of 39 security research projects to the tune of €45 million. In response to heightened security concerns, security research will be a key part of the Seventh Framework Programme, with an average annual budget of €200 million.