Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ILEAnet (Innovation by Law Enforcement Agencies networking)
Reporting period: 2018-06-01 to 2019-11-30
The ILEAnet project aims to set up and develop a sustainable network of Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) practitioner organisations from all over Europe together with a community of people interested in exchanging and collaborating with respect to LEA challenges and needs and LEA-centred RDI. This network+community’s objective is to stimulate LEA capabilities to influence, develop and take up research, development and innovation (RDI) that is useful and usable for LEAs, and thereby help them tackle the major challenges they face.
The network is organised around ILEAnet National Contacts (INCs) who are in charge of federating the networks of practitioners, policy makers, academics, industrial players and other RDI stakeholders in their respective countries.
Whilst the organisational ILEAnet network follows a “top-down” approach to identify specific challenges, the ILEAnet community contributes via “bottom-up” ideas to exploring new possible ways to face arising challenges.
The ILEAnet Online Platform enables professional social networking and mutual collaboration on new solutions and best practice to address LEA challenges.
By synthesising top-down approaches and bottom-up ideas in iterative processes involving surveys, discussions, polls, brainstorming, etc., ILEAnet has been building up a broad portfolio of RDI results and new RDI project concepts with the aim to deliver recommendations for future RDI policies. Ultimately, ILEAnet is concerned with catalysing innovation between LEAs, academics and industry.
WP1 – ILEAnet networking – is in charge of providing resources to the INCs and their respective national networks of practitioners, academia, industry and other stakeholders, and collecting input from them.
Since the beginning of the project, WP1 has set up an INC in each member country. INCs’ main achievements include inviting new members to the ILEAnet Online Platform, counting now 234 members, and encouraging them to participate, as experts, to the activities initiated by the consortium.
WP2 – Law Enforcement Challenges & Needs – is responsible for enabling and articulating the expression of challenges and needs by the LEA practitioners. The approach developed by WP2 for collecting and analysing practitioners’ needs is twofold. Via top-down approach, topics are being identifyed based on the analysis of policy documents and strategic research agendas.Via a bottom-up approach, input from the ILEAnet Network+Community is being collected. Questionnaires were elaborated following the reviews of policy documents on four selected topics: migration, terrorism, organized crime and cybercrime. These surveys were distributed to the INCs who circulated them to their national networks. The bottom-up side of the work was conducted through the monitoring of discussions on the ILEAnet Online Platform.
WP3 – ILEAnet Knowledge Factory – is in charge of collecting the Knowledge generated on the ILEAnet Online Platform through identification of available expertise, best practices and RDI results, then making it available to the entire community. WP3 has worked on the improvement of the online members profiles and population of the Knowledge Factory Database. The KF provides now the members with a fully functioning tool, which can be used to find useful information on practitioner specific R&I.
WP4 – ILEAnet Scouting activities – focuses on the analysis of the gaps and opportunities proposed by WP3 and looks into ways to enable solutions to the identified challenges and needs that cannot be resolved by WP3. WP4 has developed preparatory documents such as the feasibility study questionnaire and the security research questionnaire.
WP5 – Community Platform Administration, Public Workshops and Dissemination – is in charge of the dissemination strategy which includes the creation, maintenance and development of a the ILEAnet Online Platform, a public website and social media accounts. It also creates various types of supporting materials. Further, WP5 acts as a first point of contact for external stakeholders. It is responsible for the design and organisation of ILEAnet Annual Public Workshops.
WP6 – Governance, Coordination & Sustainability – provides the project management infrastructure to ensure the efficient coordination of the project and monitor the respect of all contractual obligations.
Improving innovation capacity and the integration of knowledge
The ILEAnet “Network+Community” is now set-up and its members are steadily increasing. The project already shows evidence of cooperation and mutual understanding among LEAs about the importance to define LEA-related challenges and needs, to explore emerged priorities and to find ways to support the uptake of existing innovative solutions. The ILEAnet consortium involves19 ILEAnet National Contacts from different countries. The INCs are the cornerstones of ILEAnet, enabling the enlargement of the Network+Community.
The ILEAnet Online Platform provides a web space allowing LEAs and academics to exchange in dedicated groups. The integration of new knowledge is done through different means: a “discussion” in a specific group or a “knowledge” in the Knowledge database where information is posted up in a more structured form.
These foundations will facilitate to prioritise the challenges and needs defined in each cycle, identify existing innovation opportunities and gaps, and thus explore new concepts.
Impact on European research
The association of a bottom-up approach, identification of challenges and needs by the practitioners themselves, in addition to the existing top-down approach (ideas identified by the European and national policies) was enriched by a close collaboration with the existing LEA networks and RDI projects. These networks of practitioners are of great importance for a LEA-driven innovation in research programmes related to societal security.
Some collaborations with relevant projects have been initiated, enabling ILEAnet to prompt LEAs concerned with Financial Investigations to look into the possible uptake of relevant projects’ solutions.
Further, ILEAnet has launched activities that contribute additionally to the project’s overall objective, making ita laboratory that develops and tests tools to bring security research closer to user needs and to facilitate the industrialisation of research results. These experiments are well-aligned with other EU research and innovation initiatives, in particular those of agencies such as Europol (Innovation Lab) or Frontex.
In the 3rd period, ILEAnet will continue networking with stakeholders and engaging with related projects as to populate the ILEAnet Project Portfolio with existing RDI projects, to launch new collaborative undertakings and deliver recommendations for future RDI policies.
Impact on European economy and competitiveness
The invitation of industry representatives at the 3rd ILEAnet Public Workshop is anticipated to raise some economy- and competitiveness-related considerations.