SEcurity REsearch Ncp network – phase 2
The Security National Contact Points (NCPs) network is still at an early stage and its members were quite recently appointed as NCPs, as compared to NCPs from other Themes within FP7, therefore an enhanced communication and collaboration among the members are deemed necessary in order to further strengthen the network.
Presently, the main tool on which potential participants in security call for proposals rely on for building balanced consortia and for writing high quality proposals is the NCP network being, and for that reason it is essential to reinforce the network’s capability to cope with issues that might arise, especially with those which have a security specific character.
To tackle and overcome the difficulties of building international partnerships and in order to foster the participation in the security research field, the network will organize joint brokerage events and awareness campaigns with focus on promoting good project ideas and on identifying ways and means for the end-user involvement. To support these activities, special tools will be developed and implemented as security tailored partner search system and matchmaking tool for competencies.
Security research new aspects (policies, new programmes, conferences and workshops) will be monitored and analyzed to provide synthesized information to stakeholders at all levels (from NCPs level to clients level).
Having in mind that security in general is a very dynamic field, that security research has been recently included in the Framework Programme and because it presents several particularities as compared to other themes it is important that the Security NCPs project foresees activities focused on this particularities and specific eleme
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Grant agreement ID: 261814
1 April 2011
31 December 2013
€ 1 802 474,84
€ 1 499 546,21
ROMANIAN SPACE AGENCY
Securing cooperation on security
Grant agreement ID: 261814
1 April 2011
31 December 2013
€ 1 802 474,84
€ 1 499 546,21
ROMANIAN SPACE AGENCY
Final Report Summary - SEREN 2 (SEcurity REsearch Ncp network – phase 2)
SEREN2 project was a Coordination Action funded by the European Commission in support of the FP7 Security National Contact Points (NCPs) Network.
The National Contact Points networks represent the main instrument in support of the researchers and organizations participating in the FP7 programme. The concept behind the project is to combine training on general and specific security issues, with practical activities in support of the NCPs clients, to be jointly undertaken by partners within the consortia.
The activities and tasks to be performed have been grouped into seven work packages, with a twofold orientation: i) NCPs capacity building at the highest possible standards and ii) effective and efficient support for potential contractors. Each WP has been built on several specific objectives, dedicated either to enhance the NCPs skills in providing services to their clients, or to support the security actors in their attempt to participate within the FP7 security calls for proposals.
The project consortium comprised 26 partners from 25 countries, from which one established within a FP7 Third Country - South Africa.
Some main results of the projects should be mentioned, like the tools that have been developed in support of the FP7 security calls participants, namely the SEREMA data base containing security related European actors, and the Partner Search tool, offering a quality check procedure in order to enhance the quality of the proposals to be submitted. In addition, as support for the participants to the Security calls, 2 International Partnering Days and 2 Brokerage Events were organized within important European Security events, this having as result building coherent and strong consortia for the project ideas in development and building long term partnerships.
In parallel, some activities dedicated to enhance the skills of each Security NCP were implemented. These activities foresaw organization of trainings (basic FP7, Security related or advanced), developing an e-learning tool where the NCPs can learn from the experience of the others and in the same time have the opportunity to test their own knowledge, in order to assess their own strong and weak points. In addition, staff exchange activities were organized, giving the opportunity to less experienced NCPs to learn, by seeing the methodologies and practices of more experienced and successful NCPs.
As the final scope of the project was better NCPs services in support of the participants to the FP7 Security calls, there was the need that the respective support to be promoted, in such a manner that as many organizations as possible to take advantage. Therefore, a whole work package was dedicated to promote the NCP network, their support and the FP7 security domain, to a community as large as possible. The target was reached, as after the completion of the project, an important part of the European security community is aware of the SEREN2 network and of the support provided.
Project Context and Objectives:
The main characteristic of the FP7 Security NCPs network regards the difference between the same types of services that all the NCPs had to provide. The difference is caused by factors like: the personal experience of each NCP, the national organization structure of the FP NCP network, the culture or the national specificity of the domain. SEREN2 project aimed at minimizing this difference, enhancing the general quality of the services and strengthening the FP7 SECURITY NCP network.
The main objective of the SEREN2 project was to promote and enhance trans-national cooperation among the Security National Contact Points (both at the level of people and institutions appointed in this respect), by reaching a balanced distribution of proficient services to be delivered by the Security NCPs to their clients in assisting them to write high quality proposals to be submitted in the future calls.
Within the seven Work Packages of the project, several specific objectives were followed:
- WP1 - Capacity Building aimed at reaching a uniform level of expertise and a high quality of NCP services provided throughout Europe, to ensure that less experienced NCPs rapidly acquire the know-how accumulated in other countries and to improve the ability of NCPs to provide more effective services through a support and training structure that provides coherent, targeted and continuous series of capacity building actions;
- WP 2 – Joint Brokerage Events aimed to foster the building of international partnerships and strengthening the cooperation between Security research stakeholders (researchers, large companies, SMEs, end-users) by organizing Joint Brokerage Events and Joint Partnering Days. In addition, a second objective was targeted within the same WP, namely to provide guidance to the NCPs for the organization and preparation of these type of events;
- WP 3 – Mapping of security research competencies was implementer in order to increase the visibility of security related research in Europe and to optimize the networking between research facilities, universities, public authorities, end users and suppliers of security solutions and operators of critical infrastructures;
- WP4 – Partner Search intended to facilitate the access of potential participants to FP7 Security calls by providing a call related Partner Search service with a quality check mechanism to improve the level of the consortia and thus of the projects themselves. Special attention was given to improving the integration of 3rd Country participants;
- WP 5 - Monitoring of Security research was implemented to provide to NCPs and stakeholders an improved information flow on security research area in order to reach a better understanding of national, EU and international programmes and policies;
- WP 6 – Communication and dissemination to oversee and organize all aspects which are related to communication and dissemination of the project results and activities that will finally lead to the reinforcement of the network and its visibility in the research community.
SEREN 2 was a stakeholder oriented project, with the main aim of reaching a balanced distribution of high quality services to be delivered by Security NCPs to their clients while assisting them to write high quality proposals to be submitted in future calls. Improving communication within the network, collecting data upon security research at national / regional / European level and sharing this information, gathering together the researchers and policy makers within different events organized within the project, assessing the needs of the clients and providing an efficient partner search activities, targeted as result a better coordinated security research. During the project’s lifetime, the Security NCPs network’s capability to provide high standard services to stakeholders and to cope with specific issues that might arise was continuously improved by means of intensive and effective cooperation between the people and organizations involved, during trainings, best practices exchange, joint activities carried out and special tools there were implemented, leading to a reinforced trans-national cooperation among the members of the network.
During 38 month, efforts have been invested by the partners in the project consortium to implement the foreseen activities aiming at accomplish the declared objectives. The main activities can be summarised as follows:
- Organizing trainings for the Security NCPs: 2 basic training, 2 advanced training and 2 security related training sessions;
- Writing a handbook having as scope NCPs skills improvement, based on best practices;
- Implementing a twinning and staff exchange scheme, for the less experienced NCPs to learn by seeing the practices and methodologies of the more experienced ones;
- An E-learning tool development;
- Organizing 2 International Partnering Day and 2 Brokerage event in relation with big Security events organized in Europe, for putting Security related actors in direct contact to base further cooperation;
- Development and promotion of the SEREMA data base – making it operational and filling it in with profiles of organizations acting within the security domain, in support to partnerships creation;
- Implementation and promotion of the Partner Search tool, comprising also a Quality Check mechanism as support from the Security NCP network to the actors looking for partners to complete their consortia for the FP7 Security calls;
- Analysing the third countries participation and giving recommendation on improving it;
- Analysing other funding opportunities that could be of interest for Security related actors;
- Dissemination and communication activities: project webpage, newsletter releases, participating at different Security conferences, corporate package creation, etc.
1. Capacity Building
Improving the Security NCPs capabilities and reinforcing the network to become more efficient and effective by reaching a balanced distribution of proficient services to be provided to clients. Technical trainings on general and specific issues, twinning schemes and staff exchange were focused on sharing experiences, expertise and good practices, by promoting an intensive trans-national cooperation.
The following were aimed:
- Improve the individual Security NCPs capabilities;
- Reinforce the network;
- Creation and distribution of educational material;
- Technical trainings on general and specific issues;
- Twinning schemes and staff exchange;
- Share experiences, expertise and good practices Promote an intensive trans-national cooperation.
2.1 Training for the newcomer NCPs & best practices exchange
During the project life time, two basic trainings and one best practices exchange were organized, as follows:
- Basic training, 07/09/2011, Brussels;
- Best practice training, 14/3/2012, Palma de Mallorca;
- Basic training, 5/6/2012, Brussels;
The first basic training was organized taking the opportunity of the Infoday organized by REA for the FP7 Security open call for proposals on 8th of September 2011. The topics addressed were:
- Best Practices in NCP operation;
- NCP Office Management;
- NCP activities Monitoring & Assessment;
- Marketing of NCP Services;
- Fostering Industry Academia Collaboration through NCP services;
- Security Scrutiny Procedures;
- Partner search.
The first best practice exchange covered topics like:
- European Security Research and Innovation Forum;
- EuroRIs-Net (NCP Network of Research Infrastructures);
- Enterprise Europe Network;
- Specific programme ÍSEC;
- Best practices from APRE – partner 3 in the SEREN2 project.
The second basic training addresed:
- Presentation of Horizon 2020 progress
• National and European progress on Horizon 2020 and potential impact on planned changes
- Presentations of IPR Issues in FP7 Projects
• Identification of Training needs for NCPs and clients
2.2 Advanced FP training, Security-specific training
These trainings aimed:
- to harmonize the range of NCP services provided by NCPs;
- Identify certain specificities characterizing the Security theme;
- Provide the NCPs with the required Security specific knowledge.
The target group for these trainings comprised:
- experienced Security NCP individuals;
- NCPs who were recently appointed in the Security theme;
- representatives from experienced NCP organisations;
The two advanced FP trainings and 2 security-specific trainings were organized:
- 9-12th of July 2012, Tel Aviv;
- 11-12th of February 2012, Athens.
The topics covered were:
- Most frequent financial errors on FP7, and how to avoid them;
- How to write a successful FP7 Proposal;
- FP7 Legal and Financial Issues;
- JRC Security Features;
- Partner Search/SEREMA and other SEREN features;
- Research Ethics in Security Projects - a reviewer´s perspective;
- Security- How to approach and manage;
- SAFE-COMMS project and sustainability of security research project;
- Why a Security Cluster? The Seguridad Security Cluster in Madrid;
- Formation of Security Policy;
- IP Introduction (incl. New Patent rules);
- IP in FP7/CIP (incl.Horizon 2020 intro);
- IP Management;
- IP commercialization;
- Security & Standardisation;
- Why and how to include standardization in research projects;
- EU security rules and certification;
- The Openfund story: Investing in innovation & the lessons learned;
- TALOS Project;
- Integrated Mission Group for Security - Position for Horison2020;
- Analysis of FP7 security call – lessons learned.
2.3 Training session for all the Security NCPs regarding the Security domain in H2020
The session targeted training the H2020 appointed NCPs on H2020 issues, in order for these to be prepared to support their clients for the first call for proposal.
The training was organized in Brussels, on 3rd of December 2013 and covered:
- SME Instrument & Fast-track to innovation;
- National FP7 data statistical analysis;
- Interlinking with other NCP networks (Idealist).
2.4 Handbook and guidelines
A handbook was commonly written by the consortium partners as a guide to improve the capacity of NCPs in their activities and support services. The handbook is written in a friendly, simple manner, easily to be understood. It comprises the experience, good or bad, gathered together, of all the contributing Security NCPs.
The handbook gives practical information and ensures the dissemination of best practices about NCP services to all Security NCPs.
2.5 E-learning tool
An e-learning tool was developed, as a modern on-line method available for training purposes at any time with the possibility to be continuously improved and upgraded to meet all the requirements of trainees with a different level of know-how.. The tool was developed in such a manner that it meets the continuous needs of all trainees with a different level of know-how. In the same time, the tool covers various levels of NCPs education in a wide range of knowledge.
The tool is based on an open source MOODLE platform.
The knowledge base is divided to 10 chapters and 45 subchapters and includes all the material of Seren2 Trainings.
The user could check acquired knowledge in tests and the system stores individual results.
Figure 1 Interface of the e-learning tool
2.6 Twinning and staff exchange
A twinning and staff exchange scheme was implemented during the project. The aim was to offer one-to-one support and on-the-job training by an experienced mentor / Security NCP, to transfer knowledge and experience on the day-to-day NCP activities, and to strengthen the relations between the new and experienced NCPs so as to practice the acquired knowledge in real cases and establish an active and lasting support link.
Instead of classical bilateral meetings initially foreseen, a ‘triangle’ scheme was agreed, the main reason being to increase the number of beneficiary organizations. Three triangles have been established:
- Triangle 1on Horizon 2020 / Ethics /Security and Society between EURESEARCH, RCN and FFG;
- Triangle 2 on FP7 Security /NCP Services / Crisis Management between RTU, TUBITAK and FOI;
- Triangle 3 on FP7 Security / Cyber Security and Protection of Critical Infrastructures between FFG, APRE and Archimedes.
The scheme is illustrated in the figure below.
Figure 2 Twinning scheme
The schedule for the twinning scheme is given in the table below.
Table 1 Twinning scheme schedule
The capacity building results highlighted above:
- Allowed accomplishing the declared objectives in multiple ways;
- Assisted the network to converge and mature in terms of experience, skills and knowledge;
- Assisted smooth operation of other activities through strengthening the bonds between NCPs and offering practical information on the NCP responsibilities.
2. Joint Brokerage Events / Partnering Days
To foster the building of international partnerships and to strengthen cooperation among security research stakeholders (researchers, large companies, SMEs, end users).
During the life time of the project, 2 Joint Brokerage Events and 2 Joint Partnering Day have been organized, in support of the organizations needing to build consortia for the FP7 Security calls for proposals.
Moreover a consolidated version of NCP Guidelines “How to organize a Joint Partnering and Brokerage Event” has been delivered.
2.1 Joint Partnering Events
SEREN2 organized 2 Joint Partnering Days (JPDs), having as objectives:
- strengthen the cooperation between security research stakeholders (researcher institutes, large companies, SMEs, end-users)
- identify/elaborate concrete project ideas on Security
- stimulate the setting up of consortia building
The first Joint Partnering Event (JPE) was organized in coordination with the Research Executive Agency (REA) Information day that took place in Brussels, on 8th of September 2011. The event offered to participants:
- Networking possibilities;
- Bilateral meetings with Project Officers;
- Answers to questions linked to call areas;
- Details on legal and procedural conditions;
- Firsthand information on the 2012 Work Programme from the representatives of the European Commission and the REA.
Positive feedback was received from the participants, though there was some negative feedback regarding the matchmaking tool used in programming the face to face meetings.
More than 120 participants representing 21 countries have attended the Joint Partnering Event organized by SEREN2.
The second Joint Partnering Event (JPE), organized by SEREN2 network, in Brussels, on the 11th of September 2012, as a networking event in conjunction with the 6th Security call Information Day supported by the Research Executive Agency (REA).
Compared to the previous Infoday and JPE held on September 2011, a closer cooperation between REA and SEREN2 network has been set up, since the early organizational stage in June 2012.
For this purpose, the publication of the respective event webpage has been coordinated, as well the set up of the agenda and the link to the respective registration procedures.
A number of 166 participants have registered (Universities, Industries, End-users), 129 Cooperation profiles were completed for the event, and 25 Project idea/profile were presented, while 121 bilateral meetings were scheduled.
The 2 organized JPEs are considerd a success, as shown by the feedback received from the participants. As example, the figure below shows the statistics made based on a participant satisfaction survey for the second JBE.
Figure 3 Feedback from participants to the 2nd SEREN2 JBE
2.2 Joint Brokerage Events
Joint Brokerage Events (JBEs) were foreseen to be organized as satellite-events (hosted by) to the annual European Security Research Conferences (SRCs) – in September every year. The events offered the participants the opportunity to:
- Create new partnerships for research and develop ventures;
- Express their needs for international research cooperation within FP7 and beyond;
- Present their entities through R&D results and ideas for innovative technologies;
- Seek potential coordinators of future European research consortiums;
- Meet end-user interested in a fruitful and acting participation;
- Develop networking possibilities and bilateral meetings.
The first JBE was organized on the 19th of September 2011, in Warsaw, as an accompanying event to the Security Research Conference (SRC’11).
In regard to the attendance, more than 170 participants representing 21 countries had been registered for the event.
The JBE was divided into three main parts, namely:
- EC and REA information on the 5th Security Call and project proposal writing in FP7;
- Project ideas presentations (at least 26 presentations from 18 speakers have been presented);
- Bilateral meetings (at least 100 bilateral meetings have been supported).
The “Security International Day and Brokerage Event” brought together representatives from enterprise and industry, universities and research institutes, end-users as well as REA and European Commission delegates.
The second JBE was organized on the 25th of September 2012, in Essen, as an accompanying event to the Security Research Event (SRE’12) - "Security Research meets Industry: Growth. Technology. Markets".
Around 100 participants attended the event, this number meeting the expectations of the organizers and being considered as satisfying. 51 Cooperation Profiles were presented, 20 project ideas were discussed within 70 Bilateral meetings scheduled.
The brokerage session was highly appreciated by the participants, who welcomed the efficient organization, underlying the possibility to present project idea and companies profiles.
According to collected opinions and the results of the feedback from the Brokerage event may be considered as successful. The participants highly evaluated both the preparatory facilities to the event, the event itself as well as expressed their high expectations in regard to the SEREN2 and future organisation of similar events.
2.3 Guidelines on “How to organize a Joint Partnering and Brokerage Events”
A Handbook focusing on the key features and hints about organizing a joint partnering or brokerage event and including detailed guidelines for the phases of the entire process of organizing such an event, has been prepared.
The guidelines considered all the main outcomes in terms of organizational techniques and best practices that have been collected during the 2 Joint Partnering events and 2 Brokerage events organized.
JPEs / JBEs highlights:
- According to the collected data, the majority of the participants expressed a high level of satisfaction regarding both the organizational aspects and the quality of the meetings quality. Most of them declared they were satisfied, confirming their willingness to take part in eventual similar events organized in the future;
- The events had offered a further opportunity to communicate and promote the SEREN2 network. Information on the SEREN2 project was spread during the event via leaflets distributed on the dedicated project booth as well as on the EC stand during the SRC’12 exhibition. The project roll-up was also displayed to the open public. Promotion during the events has significantly contributed to the visibility of the SEREN2 project.
2.4 HORIZON 2020 SEREN2 Joint Brokerage Event
SEREN2 consortium has planned to organize the Horizon 2020 Joint Brokerage Event in the second part of 2013. Preliminary, it was agreed with the European Commission that this particular event will be combined with the Security Research Event that was organized in Paris within the MILIPOL Conference in Paris in November 2013.
Unfortunately, and mainly in consideration of a number of logistical constraints at the event venue, and due to the fact that the Work Programme for Secure Societies was not officially launched, the European Commission finally decided not to include a SEREN2 Brokerage Event among the activities of Security Research Event to be organised at MILIPOL.
3. Mapping of security research competencies
To increase the visibility of security related research in Europe, to optimize the networking between research facilities, universities, public authorities, end users, suppliers of security solutions and operators of critical infrastructures.
An important project result is the data base that was developed in order to offer the potential FP7 Security participants the possibility to become more visible and to find suitable partners for their proposals.
3.1 Design and implementation of the database
Based on an analysis of best practice examples at European level, a suitable design and database-structure was developed. Registration in the SeReMa database is user friendly and is an intuitional one. Security NCPs (mainly SEREN2 partners) were responsible for performing a quality check on each new profile from their respective countries. Some NCPs agreed to take over this particular responsibility for other countries.
Figure 4 SEREMA data base interface
3.2 Promotion of the database
All the Security NCPs promoted the SeReMa database in their countries. Moreover, key players from security research related organizations in different countries were selected and approached by the respective NCPs, in order to directly present them the database. The result is that presently, more than 530 organizations have uploaded their security related profile in the data base. In October 2013 survey was distributed among SeReMa database clients. Based on survey analysis, some modifications of the database has been done, in this manner the tool better responds to the users requirements.
SEREMA data base highlights
- The data base is considered a successful result of the project, as more than 300 profiles were filled in less than one month from its launch;
- The data base become more important in the periods before the calls for proposals, as shown by the increasing of the number of profiles;
- Due to the fact that this particular activity was successful, the SEREN2 partners agreed to be responsible for performing a quality check on each new profile from their respective countries in 2014;
- SEREN2 partners agreed that SeReMa could be a basis for the new project website as a “one stop shop” of Secure Societies NCP services for the clients in HORIZON 2020.
4. Partner Search
- facilitating the access of potential participants to Security calls, by providing a call-related partner search service with a quality check mechanism to improve the quality level of the consortia and thus of the projects themselves. An advanced partner search tool should allow project coordinators and project initiators to advertise their interest in collaborating with research partners who have the particular skills or expertise needed to complement a consortium. Attention have been given to establish a number of new third-country relay points and by assessing the needs of their clients and interacting with them to understand their challenges and needs related to participation in the FP7 Security Research Theme.
4.1 Online quality checked partner search tool
For the former Framework Programme 7 Security calls, the organizations in search for a partner for their project ideas were requested to fill in a form that was disseminated by the NCPc network by e-mail, or they were using the CORDIS PS tool, that did not offers a quality check service. For the FP7-SEC-2013 call, an online partner search tool were implemented by SEREN2. The intent of the service was to facilitate the access of potential participants to future security calls by providing a call related partner search service with a quality check mechanism to improve the level of the consortia. For this purpose, the Security specific partner search service included the following parts:
- a website with two electronic forms to enter the relevant project data;
- one form for partner searches for coordinators looking for partners to complete their consortia and a second form for project searches meaning researches looking for existing consortia;
- a searchable database where project profiles can be submitted;
- a quality check function. A profile was published if it fulfilled all the quality criteria set for a project or partner search profile. The NCP of the originating country was responsible for his or her profiles and received a notification by the system for every newly entered profile.
From analysis made by the consortium in advance, it came clear that, from a customer point of view, a security specific partner search service is a need. To verify this argument as well as to get more detailed information on client needs, a survey on different partner search tools was carried out by SEREN2. The main goal was to assess the user experience with such tools with respect to FP7. This customer survey helped the NCPs network to analyse the needs of partner search services for the future to be able to offer clients an improved service that meets their needs also during Horizon2020.
As a finding of the survey it can be said that the partner service of CORDIS (managed by The Publications Office of the European Union) is the most used service according to the participants’ feedback. Still there seems to be a shift of preferences toward the use of social media as LinkedIn. It is also striking that the partner search service of the SEREN2 National Contact Point (NCP) network as well as the EEN platform would need more promotion as they are not well known and used.
For a future SEREN3 project, the partner search tool is foreseen to be integrated into the existing online data base SEREMA (Security Research Map). With this change, clients in the field of Security will still be able to submit their profile on a security specific online tool that still will be running in 2014.
4.2 Improving Third Country Participation
Efforts have been dedicated to create a wider audience for FP7 Security partner searches in general by establishing a number of new third-country relay points and by assessing the needs of their clients, and more specifically:
- To establish a wide network of FP7 Security Relay Points (SRPs) in Third Countries;
- To disseminate information about FP7 to potential partners in Third Countries;
- To determine their needs and reasons for not participating in FP7;
- To make recommendations regarding better integration of Third Countries in FPs.
A report have been provided gathering compilation of considerations to motivate Third Country participation in the FP7 Security Theme, a list of already identified Security Relay Points (for Japan, Australia, Canada, New-Zealand and Russia). The report summarised comments from discussions with SRPs and other Third Country contacts regarding their country’s participation in the FP7 Security Theme and listed some initial suggestions for the promotion of increased participation by Third Countries.
A second report summarized the documented reasons why the EU seeks security research collaboration with Third Countries, reviewed the status of Third Country participation in FP7, provided an understanding of the perspectives from Third Country representatives regarding FP7 and proposed recommendations that aim to achieve the EU objectives as well as accommodate Third Country perspectives.
Partner search highlights
Looking at the visitors of the SEREN2 web site it is clear that the partner search support internet pages had the most visitors during the period June to November 2012 (source: deliverable D4.2). This can surely be seen as a success. On the other hand the total number of partner searches and of project searches published on the SEREN2 online tool during the same time period is not very high. Compared with the number of published profiles on the CORDIS partner service it is still a good result.
Third Countries, while generally eager to participate in and benefit from EU FP projects, face a number of challenges including that security may not be a priority in their bilateral agreement with the EU, lack of co-funding, the complexity of FP administration, finding willing EU partners and sensitivities around security research.
The recommendations for increasing participation by Third Countries in future EU Security R&I Calls through Horizon 2020 endeavours to achieve the Horizon 2020 objectives while overcoming the Third Country challenges. It should be noted that Open Calls are not the most effective way to involve third countries. Therefore, the most important recommendations are:
- to promote the security theme in Bilateral Agreements with Third Countries as well as Geographic Differentiation in FP calls to enable mutual benefit in targeted areas as an entry into the EU security industry / research domain;
- the establishment of Multilateral Collaborative Research & Innovation Platforms for global societal challenges;
- the introduction of short term / high impact R&I projects;
- the promotion of Industrial Innovation Exchanges.
5. Monitoring of security research area
Provide to NCPs and stakeholders an improved information flow on security research areas in order to reach a better understanding of national, EU and international programmes and policies.
5.1 Monitoring of EC calls for proposals and other security related European and international calls for proposals
As the Security research is not only covered in the Security theme, and as security related topics can often be found in other calls for proposals, it was of interest to give information to the NCP clients on other financing opportunity in other FP7 calls for proposals, other European and international programmes.
5.2 Task 5.3 Monitoring of the security research systems and programmes
Of interest were considered the national programmes for security research, as in the last 3 years, more and more countries decided funding security activities within civil programmes. The analysis was done based on a questionnaire that was filled in for 19 European countries. A report was prepared that provide a general introduction to the organisation of security research funding in the SEREN2 member states and brief presentation of each security research programme.
5.3 Monitoring of developments within the European Research Area in the field of security research
Two policy notes were developed and submitted as deliverables D5.6a - Policy note on next demo programme (logistic and supply chain), including synthetic powerpoint presentation and a Policy note on next demo programme (crisis management), including synthetic powerpoint presentation).
To prepare the FP7 SEC call for the two European Demonstration Programmes (large scale research project) the EU organized two workshops:
- The 25th January 2012 : on crisis and disaster management;
- The 31rd January 2012: on Logistic and Supply Chain Security.
These workshops gathered a wide range of stakeholders (end users, first responders, public authorities, standardization authorities, academia, industries) to mix the “policy vision” and ‘the present landscape” in some guidelines for the text of the call of the demonstration programmes.
In addition, a collection of strategic ESRIF documents was realized by SEREN, portraying developments in policy and strategy of various stakeholders. Since 2009, industry, research, think tanks and policy makers have both collaborated and worked on their own towards the goals of ESRIF.
An analysis of security research potential in FP8 was also done, with a focus on security research aspects and implications: Key Enabling technologies, Security industrial policy, European research infrastructure with potential interest for the security research community, security related ERA-NETS and European technology platforms.
Monitoring of Security Research Area highlights
Monitoring of Security Research Area clearly showed that Security is a cross cutting activity. This is evident not only through the monitoring of the FP7 calls but also in the monitoring of platforms.
6. Communication and dissemination
Oversee and organize all aspects which are related to communication and dissemination of the project results and activities.
One of the most important aspects of the project was the visibility. The tools created and the activities developed in support of the FP7 Security calls participants, as well as a reinforced and better skilled NCPs network would count less if no proper visibility of the network and no contact between the network and their clients.
Therefore, efforts were sustained by the consortium in order to deal with this aspect.
6.1 SEREN 2 website
A webpage was created at the beginning of the project to offer the consortium the possibility of promoting the network, informing the Security community on security related news, funding opportunities and NCP support tools offered.
Figure 5 SEREN2 webpage
Updating the web page was a continuously activity throughout the project lifetime.
6.2 Corporate identity
A corporate identity was developed for the project (logo, poster and leaflet, roll-up, PowerPoint presentation, templates for newsletter and working documents, etc.). Based on this corporate image, a roll-up for “Security” was also elaborated to be used for all the events associated to the project. Thanks to these promotional materials, the SEREN2 network is easily recognized, by potential security calls participants. The tools and support offered are easily associated now with the SEREN2 network.
Figure 6 SEREN2 logo, roll-up
6.3 Communication and international cooperation strategy; Dissemination strategy
A communication and international cooperation strategy and a dissemination strategy were developed in the first part of the project. The strategies include: Intra-network communication – among partners and all Security NCPs Network; communication / dissemination with major security strategic actors, communication with the European Commission, PC members, Advisory Board.
A centralized database with a complete mailing list was elaborated in order to allow NCPs to share their contacts in using the facilities provided by the project. In disseminating activities, the strategies were followed, in order to obtain a better visibility of the network.
Each NCP was involved in raising awareness on the project within events at national level. A total of 68 such national events can be mentioned. A list with all the events can be delivered at request; giving the high number of such events, they are not listed in the electronic submission system of REA.
A final workshop for presenting the project results was organized at the end of SEREN2, on 3rd of December 2013, in Brussels. The target audience comprised:
- Project former reviewers;
- Security NCPs not part of the project;
- Newly appointed H2020 Security NCPs;
- Experts in the advisory board of the project.
Positive feedback was received after the workshop, the important results being noticed: the International Partnering days or Brokerage events organized, SERENA data base, NCPs trainings.
Newsletters were released within the project, the last 2 being dedicated to the new H2020 programme and to the support that the Security NCP network can offer to potential organization interested in participating in the programme.
6.4 Participation of SEREN2 in the ASIS conference
This activity was a direct effect of the close cooperation of the network with ASIS International. SEREN2 project was presented during the ASIS Security Conference in April 2013.
Dissemination and communication highlights
Even with a slow start regarding the dissemination and communication activities, within the second period of the project, efforts have been made, having as result at the end of the project a good visibility of the network. The SEREN2 visuals are easily to be recognized now, and the network became more and more popular among the security related European actors.
Being the link between the EC and the participants to the calls for proposals launched by the Commission, the NCPs network is a critical tool in improving the participation to the calls. Therefore, the impact of a project aiming to reinforce the respective network can only be important.
The knowledge, methods, and tools developed in SEREN2 project will influence future initiatives in the Security area, by enabling the NCPs, research organizational players and the authorities to analyze, understand, and make sound decisions. Results from Security domain will help decision making related to:
- Underpinning the realization of NCP value chains in the Security topic for simplifying access to FP7 calls, for lowering the entry barriers for newcomers and raising the average quality of submitted proposals;
- Improve and increase effectiveness of third countries organization participation alongside European organizations;
- Strengthen the competitiveness of the European R&D in the Security theme, by maintaining and reinforcing the NCP network and sharing and building on the previous experience in the previous similar projects.
The SEREN2 project impact is expected to be extremely high, even from its launch. The eagerness for information as well as the desire for learning are essential conditioners for the NCP security practitioners. And that even more with the continuous development of the field and the permanent state of growth and dynamic of the cooperation. Considering the fact that the efforts started in SEREN2 will be continued by the Security NCPs in H2020, most probably within a SEREN3 project, is to be understood that the impact of the SEREN2 will be important.
On the short term:
The presence of the SEREN2 in the European area certainly stimulated the quality enhancement of the NCP services in the Security topic; the NCPs were motivated and encouraged to take into consideration the quality criteria set by the European institutions and to respect the designing procedures developed within this project according a higher importance to the effective correlation between the scientific approaches and the technical solutions offered by the project.
Access to an updated informational support, from different EU countries, provided a real help to SEREN2 in understanding the users' real needs for instruction, and that will determine the improvement of the cooperation in the Security thematic, encouraging the competitiveness in H2020. The European approaches of the SEREN2 allowed the NCPs to benefit from sharing the experiences and the good practices from different countries.
On the medium and long term
Through SEREN2 a set of tools were created for the NCPs to better support research community. These are to be used by the network, in improved forms, and tailored for the H2020, in supporting the security related organizations in their efforts to participate in the EU research programme.
It must be emphasis that before SEREN / SEREN2 projects, the Security NCPs worked independently and the only tool they had for communication was the NCP web forum. The creation of a network pushed the NCPs to collaborate and work in teams. The activities foreseen increased and improved the contact among the Security NCPs, as they had to work together in leadership and co-leadership. Not only the Leaders and Co-leaders of the different WPs closely worked together in order to perform the activities foreseen, but they also had to collaborate with those NCPs and ICPC CPs gathered at each activity. This way, the network access to communication with other NCPs is facilitated and communication is enhanced. They worked in teams and this served to share their know-how, to put in common new ideas and to try to solve their concerns. The network helped to harmonize the contact of all European Security NCPs with the EC , having a direct impact on the information flow between the EC, researchers and the industry.
The aim of this project was to promote cooperation between the NCPs and the research community from Security topic in the MS, AC and ICPCs, in order to improve and increase their participation in the FP7. More specifically, for SECURITY topic, the expected impact was:
- Improve NCP service across Europe; as a result, the FP7 applicants will receive a homogeneous and structured NCP service and the EC will also receive an improved feedback service from NCPs;
- Mobilize all Security NCPs from Member States and Associated Countries;
The impact at NCP level can be summarized as follows:
- The NCPs’ role of being the key to access information on FP7 and opportunities for participation in the programme will be reinforced and consolidated;
- NCPs’ knowledge and expertise were increased thanks to the training programme carefully designed in order to eliminate gaps of knowledge amongst them;
- NCPs’ capacity as a network has been enhanced as they had to work jointly: less experienced NCPs benefited from more experienced NCPs know-how though the staff exchanges and twinning programmes;
- Common standards and benchmarking were established for the Security NCPs Network so that NCP clients will receive the same information and support in accessing the Security calls.
A key challenge for the FP7, and now for the H2020 programme, was the significant simplification of procedures. The objective of simplifying access to FP7 calls consisted in making information delivered and requested more user-friendly to researchers. NCPs played a key role, due to the fact that they are usually directly in touch with potential researchers from a very early stage, so it is their task to help the researchers understand: the relevance of their project to the work programme, the different funding schemes, the need of a solid financial plan for the development of the project; and, in general, why each procedure/document is needed and the importance of a proper elaboration to increase the probability of creating a successful proposal. One specific difficulty that researchers usually encountered was finding adequate partners for their project. This difficulty needed a specific approach, since it is a relevant sub-criterion for the evaluation of projects in all FP7 funding schemes. The adequate created tools (SEREMA data base, Partner search facility, JPEs / JBEs organized) positively impacted the access to researchers to FP7 calls.
Lower entry barriers for new comers
Newcomers to FP7, especially from the new Member States, ICPC’s and SMEs in general, faced significant barriers to enter FP7. These included understanding the administrative procedures, interpreting the work programme and finding the right partners. The main problems that these newcomers faced were covered by SEREN2. These barriers were encountered by new FP7 applicants, but also by new NCPs, so this project focused on both kinds of barriers, and gave to the new NCPs the practical tools to address and give reply to those problems. Learning from the experience of the senior NCPs and having the access to the EC were a key factor to success.
Raise the average quality of submitted proposals
The 7th Framework Programme has established the following evaluation criteria to assess proposals submitted by the FP7 applicants in calls:
- Scientific and/or technological excellence;
- Quality and efficiency of the implementation and the management;
- Potential impact through the development, dissemination and use of project results.
In order to increase the average quality of the proposals, a skilled NCPs network in support of the participants was necessary. Implementing the proposals activities made the network accomplishing this objective and forming a base for further improvements and enhancements.
Moreover, a very important aspect was to increase the visibility of the Security NCP Network, due to the fact that it is not only a question of improvement of the services given by NCPs, but it is also important that these services are well known by FP7 applicants in this thematic area. A number of activities were implemented, and, as a result, the network became popular and easily to be recognized and approached by the European security related actors.
Spreading excellence, exploiting results, disseminating knowledge
A good dissemination of the SEREN project results contributed at forming and enlarging the community of web-based trainers that will promote their professional interests and their competences development according to the new technologies and changes in the approaches. Very important is also the fact that SEREN developed an active resource that will be open to a broader community, reaching beyond the European borders by attracting users from other parts of the world, enabling this way the exchange of experience and, consequently, the achievement of competences at high levels.
Use of results for other thematic NCPs
The experience and results obtained from the Security NCP Net project could have a clear application in other thematic NCP networks. Best practices, success stories of NCPs and researchers, the adoption of standardized form for partner search and strategies for accessing and disseminating information to researchers, could help to raise the profile of other thematic NCPs.
Networking and exchange of experiences with other theme NCPs are tasks initiated in this project, and will be continued by the network in the future.
Making ‘SEREN2’ project visible to researchers
Building researchers’ awareness and confidence about the role of Security NCPs was vital for the success of the work of NCPs. The Security NCP and their activities of NCPs at country / European level were made visible to researchers so that they will benefit from the services provided and the number of instruments that resulted from the project. Most of the said instruments will be available for upgrading and further utilization by the network within H2020 programme.
List of Websites:
The project web address:
Coordinator contact details:
Anca COSTEA – Romanian Space Agency
21-25 Mendeleev Str. , 010362, Bucharest, Romania
tel:+40 21 3167722
fax: +40 21 3128804
Grant agreement ID: 261814
1 April 2011
31 December 2013
€ 1 802 474,84
€ 1 499 546,21
ROMANIAN SPACE AGENCY
Deliverables not available
Publications not available
Grant agreement ID: 261814
1 April 2011
31 December 2013
€ 1 802 474,84
€ 1 499 546,21
ROMANIAN SPACE AGENCY
Grant agreement ID: 261814
1 April 2011
31 December 2013
€ 1 802 474,84
€ 1 499 546,21
ROMANIAN SPACE AGENCY