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Mapping, IdentifyiNg and Developing skills and opportunities in operating environments to co-create innovative, ethical and effective ACTions to tackle radicalization leading to violent extremism

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MINDb4ACT (Mapping, IdentifyiNg and Developing skills and opportunities in operating environments to co-create innovative, ethical and effective ACTions to tackle radicalization leading to violent extremism)

Reporting period: 2019-03-01 to 2020-08-31

MINDb4ACT “Mapping, Identifying and Developing skills and opportunities in operating environments to co-create innovative, ethical and effective Actions to tackle radicalisation leading to violent extremism” responds to the European need to reassess and improve the copious P/CVE structures and programmes currently existing, by covering knowledge gaps in the field, and introducing innovative, effective techniques to detect and prevent violent extremism. To be as efficient as possible, the project adopted three key research methods. Firstly, it focused the research activity in four specific domains found to be especially vulnerable in terms of radicalisation and terrorist recruitment: prisons and penitentiary centres, schools and learning centres, local initiatives (urban areas), and the Internet and media. Secondly, it applied the innovative participatory approach called Living Lab to the field of P/CVE in order to involve first-line practitioners and relevant stakeholders since the start of the project. Lastly, it designed a four-phase research and implementation approach to make sure all relevant requirements and needs were met: 1) mind the problem; 2) mind the strategy; 3) mind the practices; 4) mind the capacities. Within this framework, four overall objectives have been designed and achieved: 1) Systematise the available knowledge and expertise to support strategic decision-making, through an extensive research desk work which resulted into a state of the art summary, completed with a case study analysis, a mapping of existing initiatives, agreements and programmes which are relevant for the European P/CVE policies and a macro survey to identify the needs and issues where to work on in further WPs; 2) Enhance interdisciplinary fieldwork on terrorist’s recruiting grounds, socialisation and techniques, through the use of the participatory-method Living Lab; 3) Use technologies in order to analyse, prevent and/or counter the process of violent radicalisation through three main ways: research, assessment of already existing technologies and development of new ones. To this concern, MINDb4ACT developed 2 VR prototypes; established one Experimental Forensic Laboratory In Italy, and created one database of critical technologies in the field of P/CVE as well as a number of publications on the potential of technology in P/CVE; 4) Improve existing links between academics including EU researchers, policy-makers and other stakeholders, creating a niche of professionals with extensive experience in intervention and evaluation of policies and practices. In total, 9 professional networks were developed by the project at local level in the 9 Member States, while one great mailing list of professionals in the field of P/CVE originated from the project.
As a results of MINDb4ACT’s action, the four project’s targeting audiences (academics, LEAs and first-line practitioners, policy makers and the general public) can gain benefit from:

• 1 harmonised, digital platform to connect P/CVE professionals in one single network and create synergies with similar EU-funded projects
• 1 Training Catalogue for Law Enforcement Agencies and first-line practitioners concerning radicalisation, prevention and investigation.
• 2 Virtual Reality prototypes to raise awareness of counter-violent extremism and radicalisation processes.
• 4 Datasets and 1 Digital Map to systematise the available knowledge and expertise to support decision-making.
• 15 field-validated and replicable P/CVE interventions at local level – called pilot projects – carried out in 9 European Member States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom) in four domains: prisons, schools, local initiatives and the Internet and media.
• Contributions to the evaluation of P/CVE practices through the publication of two articles concerning evaluation of small-scale intervention as well as the generation of a questionnaire for a self-evaluation of small-scale projects by implementing actors.
• A full set of policy recommendations mainly presented in 3 publications: a White Book on CVEs, Policy Report “Preventing violent extremism: Current trends and debates in Europe”, a Cluster of Policy Briefs.
As pointed out in the DoA, MINDb4ACT has been designed and managed to reach a scientific, policy and societal impact. Altogether, the work done drove to five key transversal achievements.

1. Impact on giving coherence and methodological consistence to preventing and countering violent extremism practices - through the implementation and validation of 2 methodological instruments: a Living Lab methodology applied to the field of P/CVE; a self-evaluation questionnaire for small-scale interventions at local level.
2. Impact on the academic debate on radicalisation, violent extremism and terrorism - through the editing of five scientific publications and contribution to 23 events (organised or participated).
3. Impact on setting the basis for a new European generation of P/CVE strategies, policies and projects – thank to the three policy-oriented publications publicly disseminated both in digital and printed format (i.e. White Book on CVEs, Policy Report, Cluster of Policy Briefs)
4. Impact on fostering collaboration and information exchange between different actors: policy makers, stakeholders, private sector and civil society – by developing knowledge partnerships which resulted in designing a methodology to create effective partnerships.
5. Impact on the knowledge transfer and capacities enhancement f LEAs and first-line practitioners – through three actions. Firstly, one (1) online Training of the Trainers (ToT) jointly organised with other two European projects (J-SAFE & JPCOOPs) that reached 138 professionals from 19 different countries (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Nigeria, Poland, Republic of North Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Tunisia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom). Secondly, six (6) online cascade trainings released in six different European languages (English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish). Lastly, fifteen (15) small scale interventions in nine (9) European Countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom).
6. Impact on the research agenda – identifying and working on new trends such as the role of ideology in radicalisation; ethics and data protection; not-religiously motivated extremism; gender; and P/CVE evaluation.
7. Impact on technologies advancements - through the development of three (3) Virtual Reality exercises as well as the maintenance of a Forensic Laboratory where to test technologies to detect, counter and prevent crime in prison (i.e. ElpeF in Italy), and the training material provision to create other four (4) Virtual Reality and Multi Player Trainings (TRL8) on prison search; radicalisation in prison, data surveillance in prison, and risk assessments and judicial procedures for inmates under obsertation for radical behaviours.
This picture shows the 4 P/CVE contexts where the pilot projects will be implemented
'Project cycle' shows the relation among the various WPs of the project.
This image summarises the four phases of the project, called the 'mind' phases.
The project leaflet is a 1-page description of the project, used for communication aims at events
MINDb4ACT logo (edited as part of the Communication and Outreach Plan)
This is the project's poster created for exhibition slots in events
Rorrel Up created for communication purposes and used at any kind of event MINDb4ACT participated in