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Empowering a Pan-European Network to Counter Hybrid Threats

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EU-HYBNET (Empowering a Pan-European Network to Counter Hybrid Threats)

Reporting period: 2020-05-01 to 2021-07-31

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 practitioners & stakeholders to identify & analyse common challenges, requirements to counter hybrid threats (HTs). It conducts research, highlights innovation initiatives, arranges training events to test innovations & makes recommendations for uptake, industrialisation & standardisation of innovations. Results are shared w/ EU practitioners & EC 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. Project key activities, figure A.
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.
Kick-Off arranged & project finance/execution proceeded on plan, project internal platforms, templates & working groups est'd (Eduuni, TUOVI) (D1.1 1.2 1.6 1.3 1.15 1.16 MS1, 2, 5, 12)
Network accession criteria & sustainability plan for network extension created (D1.7 D1.8 MS3, 4) alike information& welcome material for members, incl. network member e-badge to signifying membership on their own websites
Network has 37 new members: 12 practitioners, 9 academic, 10 NGOs, & 6 SMEs from 19 countries, (D1.19 MS11)
Cooperation est'd with EEAS/StratComm to deliver project results to European networks
CERIS - Strong participation in workshops, 3 presentations given & contribution to Policy Brief

1st Gaps & Needs (G&N) event arranged, Long & Short List of G&Ns delivered (D2.2 2.1 2.9)
4 publications on G&Ns (D2.12)
Training & exercise scenario, 4 vignettes (incl. 3 injects each) created, each addressing one of the 4 core themes. Training material compiled so as to test most promising innovations to G&Ns (D2.17)
Training event testing innovations arranged, surveyed available training programs EU MS wide to contribute (D2.20 2.23)

Technical & non-technical innovations scanned to find promising innovations to identified G&Ns. Reviewed 1000+ articles, large scale of tech innovations providers & EC funded relevant projects conducted (D3.3 3.7 MS19, 20)
Assessment methodology developed to assess innovations to identified G&Ns to counter HTs; most promising 27 innovations identified & assessed to find 6 lucrative innovations for uptake analysis (D3.1 MS16) Figure 1,2 (TNO T3.1 )
1st online Innovation & Knowledge Exchange Workshop arranged alike 1st Future Trends Workshop (D3.11 3.14 MS21, 22) both gathering almost 100 participants representing EC policy actors, industry, academia, NGOs

Created questionnaires, conducted lit review, examined procurement procedures & identified barriers & success factors as a guide for uptake strategy (D4.1)
Developed a methodology framework to analyse possibilities & barriers for uptake/industrialization of innovations, incl. novel canvas for analysis. 1st report in M17
Identified 6 areas for standardization: Big data; Critical goods & commodities; Cybersecurity; Fake news & disinformation; Resilient Civilians; Strategic Communication. 1st report in M17
A policy brief Information & strategic communications published

DCE Plan & guidelines (incl. a Crises Comms Plan) material (logo, brochure, roll-up, booklets, PPT & WORD templates), platforms (Innovation Arena, TUOVI, webpage, Linked In, Twitter) established (D5.1 5.8 D5.9 MS31, 32, 33) Figure 3, 4, 5, 11
As of June 2021: 2 biannual public newsletters published; website received >23000 page views, 9808 unique sessions, & 6311 new visitors/Figure 6, Twitter acct 171 tweets published & 399 followers/Figure 7, LinkedIn connected with 267 accounts/Figure 8, Innovation Arena has 63 users/Figure 9, 10
1st Annual Workshop (AW) organized (D5.10 MS34) & project results presented to European audience, included 3 innovation presentations to counter HTs (D5.10 MS34)

All ethical guidelines & frames for project execution set (Humans Involvement, Protection of Personal Data, Non-EU Countries & Third Countries, Potential Misuse), (D6.1-6.4)
Network extension: reached set goals/min. 30 new members a year, & interest remains strong, established itself as an important European network in the field of HTs for practitioners, industry, academia & NGOs.

EC Policy activities: Cooperation between EU-HYBNET & EEAS/ StratComm est'd & is focusing on dialogue regarding measures & innovations to support implementation of European Democracy Action Plan & participated to CERIS workshops incl. 3 presentations in workshops & contribution to CERIS DRS Policy Brief.

Defining EU G&Ns to counter HTs & develop methodology to map innovative solutions:
Is the 1st EC funded project to deliver research results & solutions to identified EU G&Ns to counter HTs, & to use the EC “The Landscape of Hybrid Threats: Conceptual Model” as methodological approach. Thus, the project paves way for implementation of the Conceptual Model. So far, EU-HYBNET has identified 12 gaps & 12 needs to counter HTs & created a unique methodology to assess & recommend promising innovations. In total, 27 promising innovations were identified, 6 recommended for further analysis & uptake. Due to the methodology & identified innovations, EU-HYBNET provided a seed for new business opportunities in the context of security innovations needed to counter hybrid threats. Figure 12

Innovation uptake recommendations: Preliminary guidelines for EU security practitioners regarding (innovation) procurement activities & recommended innovations uptake strategy was created & a novel canvas to support innovation uptake in the context of hybrid threats was established. A remarkable discovery identified that innovations which enhance citizens’ response to hybrid threats are mostly of a non-technical nature which are harder for governments to adopt & implement & for practitioners to make joint procurement of. The project has identified a need for government administration to engage & support private citizens to participate in the uptake of innovations counter hybrid threats.