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Empowering a Pan-European Network to Counter Hybrid Threats

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EU-HYBNET (Empowering a Pan-European Network to Counter Hybrid Threats)

Reporting period: 2021-08-01 to 2022-10-31

Empowering a Pan-European Network to Counter Hybrid Threats is a 5 year project (EU-HYBNET, No. 883054) funded by the EC (2020-2025), bringing together EU security practitioners and stakeholders to identify & analyse common challenges, requirements to counter hybrid threats (HTs). It conducts research, highlights innovation initiatives, arranges training events to test innovations and makes recommendations for uptake, industrialisation & standardisation of innovations. Results are shared with EU practitioners & policymakers positively influencing the public procurement process. It is the 1st EU initiative to build an extended network for practitioners, industry, academia & NGOs to collaborate & identify measures to counter HTs. The sustainability of the network is ensured after the life of the project managed by the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats.
EU-HYBNET has seven objectives that aim to deliver tangible results to European needs to counter HTs:
To enrich the existing European network against hybrid threats and ensure long term sustainability of the network
To define common requirements that can fill knowledge gaps, deal with performance needs & enhance capabilities of research, innovation & training endeavours concerning HTs
To monitor developments in research & innovation activities as applied to HTs
To indicate priorities for innovation uptake & industrialization & to determine priorities for standardization to empower the network to counter HTs
To establish conditions for enhanced interaction with practitioners, industry & academia for dialogue & for increasing network membership
To foster capacity building & knowledge exchange on countering HTs among EU practitioners, industry, academia, NGOs
To create a basis for establishing effective synergies with existing European, national, & sub-national networks of practitioners & other actors countering HTs
During the reporting period, EU-HYBNET worked according to the Grant Agreement, deliverables (Ds) & milestones (MSs) have been achieved.
Project execution (incl. finance) proceeds as planned (D1.4 1.5 1.10 1.17; MS6), and all project platforms are well used.
Network extension proceeds according to accession criteria, sustainability plan updated, welcome briefs arranged for new network members. Network consists of 31 practitioners, 37 academia, 18 NGOs, 20 industry/SME from 23 countries (D1.20 1.24).
Cooperation with DG HOME, DG DEFIS, DG RTD, EEAS/StratComm & HT team, EUROPOL Innovation Lab, ESDC, EUISS, DGAP & MSs to deliver project results to European networks.
Participation to CERIS workshops, cooperation with 16+ EC projects.

2nd Gaps & Needs (G&N) event arranged, Long & Short List of G&Ns delivered (D2.5 2.6 2.10; MS13).
4 publications on G&Ns (D2.13).
Training & exercise scenario& vignettes created, each addressing one of the 4 core themes. Training material compiled so as to test most promising innovations to G&Ns (D2.20 2.18).
Training event testing innovations arranged, surveyed available training programs EU MS wide to contribute (D2.21).

Technical & non-technical innovations scanned to find promising innovations to identified G&Ns. Review of articles, technical innovations & EC funded relevant projects conducted (D3.4 3.8 MS19, 20).
Assessment methodology developed to assess innovations to identified G&Ns to counter HTs; most promising innovations identified & assessed to find most lucrative innovations for uptake analysis (D3.1 MS17).
2nd Innovation & Knowledge Exchange Workshop arranged alike 2nd Future Trends Workshop (D3.12 3.15) both gathering c. 100 participants representing EC policy actors, industry, academia, NGOs.

Developed a methodology framework to analyse possibilities & barriers for uptake/industrialization of innovations, incl. novel canvas (figure 1.) for innovation uptake strategy creation and research on EU procurement landscape (D4.4 MS23).
Identified 6 areas for standardization: Big data; Critical goods & commodities; Cybersecurity; Fake news & disinformation; Resilient Civilians; Strategic Communication (D4.8).
Policy briefs published (D19, MS26).

DCE Plan & guidelines & Crises Comms Plan used & updated. New material (brochures) created, platforms (Innovation Arena, TUOVI, webpage, Linked In, Twitter) updated (D5.2 5.3).
As of OCT 2022: 3 biannual public newsletters published; website 8.5k flowers, 27k posts, 13k visits; Twitter 582 followers, 286 posts, 46k visits; LinkedIn 576 followers, 227 posts, 2.5k visits; Innovation Arena has 96 users.
2nd Annual Workshop organized & project results presented to European audience & 6 innovation presentations to counter HTs (D5.11 MS35)

Support given to the project to follow ethical guidelines & frames for task execution.
Network extension: reached set goals/min. 30 new members a year (present 106 members); interest remains strong. Established itself as an important pan-European HT network for practitioners, industry, academia & NGOs

EC Policy activities: Cooperation between EU-HYBNET & various EU DGs, Agencies & Offices has been established; during Presidencies presentations asked; EU MSs ask results sharing. Contribution to DG RTD Policy Document and EEAS/Strat.Com. innovation development. Participation to CERIS workshops.

Defining EU G&Ns to counter HTs and recommending innovations to counter HTs: Is the 1st EC funded project to deliver research results & solutions to identified EU gap& needs (G&N) to counter HTs, & to use the EC “The Landscape of Hybrid Threats: Conceptual Model” (CM) as methodological approach. Thus, the project shows the implementation of CM. So far, EU-HYBNET has identified 24 G&Ns to counter HTs & created a unique methodology to assess &recommend promising innovations for uptake & industrialization. In total, c. 50 promising innovations were identified, 12 recommended for further analysis & 4 for uptake. Due to the methodology & identified innovations, EU-HYBNET provides a seed for new business opportunities in the context of security innovations needed to counter HTs.

Innovation uptake recommendations: Preliminary guidelines for EU security practitioners regarding (innovation) procurement activities & recommended innovations uptake strategy was created. Also a novel canvas to support innovation uptake in the context of hybrid threats was established. The project has promoted EEAS/Strat. Comm FIMI innovation which enhance EU MSs (public private) response to HTs.