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Innovation by Law Enforcement Agencies networking

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - ILEAnet (Innovation by Law Enforcement Agencies networking)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2021-05-31

There is a lack of Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) in security research which goes along with a limited innovation uptake by security practitioners, resulting in promising R&D for security not being explored.
Launched in June 2017 and including 21 partners, ILEAnet (Innovation by Law Enforcement Agencies networking) is a 5-year Coordination and Support Action (CSA) project which aims to tackle this issue by bridging a twofold gap: the gap existing between law enforcement and research on one hand, and the gap existing between research outputs and their implementation into practice on the other hand.
To that regard and as a Network of Practitioner-based research project, ILEAnet has created and developed a sustainable network of LEA practitioners interested in innovation while prompting and structuring the dialogue between those practitioners and the research community. This has been supported by a collaborative online platform which provides a secured space for professional networking and collaboration. Carefully designed Public Workshops and webinar series have further contributed to bringing together LEA practitioners and solution developers.
Scope-wise, ILEAnet has been initially focusing on four priority areas (migration, cybercrime, terrorism and organized crime) to which the cross-cutting theme of ways to facilitate the involvement of LEA practitioners in R&I has been added during Period 3.
ILEAnet’s overall objectives are to provide a highly conducive environment for security research and innovation, from the identification of operational challenges and needs to the implementation of practical solutions. It aims to foster LEAs’ capabilities to take up research outputs which include not only technical applications but also standards and best practices. It also aims to contribute to more LEA-oriented R&I strategies and research agenda.
ILEAnet is organised in six Work Packages, as defined below:

WP1 – ILEAnet networking aims to provide resources to ILEAnet National Contacts (INCs) and to solicit and collect inputs from them. Main achievements include the identification and invitation of experts to the ILEAnet events and the contributions to surveys issued within ILEAnet or externally (e.g. by Europol).

WP2 – Law Enforcement Challenges & Needs is responsible for capturing and structuring the challenges and needs faced by LEAs through desk reviews and surveys. Main achievements include the specific intel collected on the “Age assessment technique” topic.

WP3 – ILEAnet Knowledge Factory is concerned with identifying and posting-up security-related intel in a dedicated database, looking for research activities addressing the needs identified by WP2 and identifying potential solutions. Main achievements include the implementation of a new approach for the Knowledge Factory dissemination, the posting-up of more than 200 articles (for a total of 535 articles) and the development of a genuine ILEAnet process (IPUP) to facilitate the uptake of research outputs by LEAs.

WP4 – ILEAnet Scouting activities focuses on the gaps and opportunities identified by WP3 and explores possible solutions to address them. Main achievements include the design of a standardization questionnaire, the review of areas for future standardization and preparatory work for final recommendations for uptake.

WP5 – Community Platform Administration, Public Workshops and Dissemination is in charge of the project’s communication and dissemination-related strategy and activities. Main achievements include: the management and enhancement of the ILEAnet Online Platform and the design and preparation of the ILEAnet Public Workshops 3 and 4.

WP6 – Governance, Coordination & Sustainability supports the project management and entails the Scientific Coordination of the project. Main achievements include the successful maintenance of the management structure and processes of the project, as well as the successful launch of two European tenders by the Scientific Coordination.
Improving innovation capacity and the integration of knowledge

ILEAnet has launched complementary activities and initiatives which have aimed to enhance the innovation capacity and knowledge integration in the security field:
• Knowledge Factory: online information database about security-related intelligence, available expertise, best practices and R&I results.
• Scouting activities: consolidation of end-user needs, identification of solutions brought by research projects, portfolio of security research projects
• Public workshops: events convening an expert audience of LEAs, academics and solution developers, showcasing of research projects’ outputs from a LEA perspective
• Implementation toolbox: tools and processes (IPUP: ILEAnet Project Uptake Process; IPIP: ILEAnet Project Incubation Process) to facilitate uptake and incubation of research projects
• Open calls: studies launched by ILEAnet on “information sharing mechanisms between LEAs” and “Age assessment techniques”
• Recommendations: development of recommendations on ways to improve LEAs’ involvement in R&I
• Standardisation: review of standardization areas in security and prioritization of most relevant ones for security

Impact on European research

ILEAnet has aimed to contribute to European research by delivering “building blocks” to the EU Commission in order to inform and prepare end-users about the requirements and challenges of European security research projects.
More specifically, ILEAnet has designed, developed and tested tools allowing for:
• the identification of capability gaps, operational needs and functional requirements
• the support to end-user-oriented calls
• the mitigation of end-users’ learning curve when willing to participate to research projects
ILEAnet is also expecting to impact on European research through the results and analysis of the two calls it has launched during the Period 3 which should highlight those areas in “information sharing between LEAs” and “Age assessment techniques” which require further research.

Impact on European economy and competitiveness

ILEAnet has been working towards bringing security research closer to user needs and therefore facilitating the industrialisation of research results.
The project has also explored those issues around the uptake of research outputs which involve procurement.