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Advanced detection of threats and illicit goods in postal and express courier flows

Research under this topic will contribute to build capabilities for more effective detection of threats and of dangerous and illicit goods within postal and express courier flows, without impeding those flows or disproportionate intrusion into privacy. Currently there is a lack of technology that allows screening the volumes and at the speed of processing the parcels, making manual intervention necessary. At the same time, organised crime groups think they run a relatively low risk in exploiting postal and parcels supply chains to move a range of illicit and dangerous goods. Successful innovation could hence also have a deterrent effect on criminal organisations to use such channels.

Examples of threats and dangerous and illicit goods include explosives and explosive precursors, CBRN material, drugs, cash, contraband or counterfeit items, including counterfeit identity documents, and fake medicines. Detection capabilities should be built for post and parcels crossing the external borders of the Union, but also for internal shipping, but without introducing additional controls that may disrupt free movement of goods. Cooperation with operators of postal and express courier service in the research project is strongly encouraged. Solutions that could improve data quality, availability, integration among different steps in the flow, and interpretability, would also be welcome of projects.

Testing and validation, within the project, of developed tools and solutions in an operational environment, will be an asset. Proposals should be convincing in explaining the methods they intend to use for demonstrating, testing and validating the proposed tools and solutions. Proposals should also delineate the plans to develop possible future uptake and upscaling at national and EU level for possible next steps after the research project.

Research proposals should consider, build on if appropriate and not duplicate, previous research, including but not limiting to research by other projects funded by the Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation. Proposed research that could also link with innovation for fighting crime and terrorism would be an asset.

In order to achieve the expected outcomes, international cooperation is advised.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.