Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 2 - SOURCE (SOURCE - Virtual centre of excellence for research support and coordination on societal security)

Project Context and Objectives:
The aim of the SOURCE network of excellence is to establish a comprehensive network of actors concerned with societal dimensions of security research, development and operationalization. The SOURCE network will link with a wide range of security sectors and types of actors implicated in security research and development where societal dimensions can bring added-value. It will develop tools and methods for bringing together these different actors, integrating their diverse perspectives, premises, needs, expectations, experiences and concrete challenges. It will develop and implement systems, tools and resources of information-gathering and dissemination with the aim of providing a common basis for better understanding and closer collaboration of the range of societal security actors working in Europe today. It will set up the institutions and infrastructure necessary to assure a lasting and sustainable network in the form of a Virtual Centre of Excellence – which is the final aim of the project.

The SOURCE Network of Excellence is based on 5 types of activities: Network-building; research; education and training; documentation; and dissemination. Each type of activity is reflected in one or more workpackages, each linked and based on the evolution and findings of the others.

Network-building (Workpackage 2) contains the core activity of the network as it lays the foundation for the future Virtual Centre of Excellence, the overall aim of the SOURCE project. In this workpackage the SOURCE network gathers excellence from 5 highly diverse sectors— the scholarly research sector, the industrial sector, law-makers and policy makers, civil society, and end-users—each of which has an essential and unique contribution to make to the security of European society. These five primary groups not only make up the target groups for the development of a comprehensive network, they are the very knowledge-base for the excellence that it is the task of the network of excellence to spread. The activities in WP2 (Network-building) have as their primary aim to bring to coordinate the process of bring these sectors together, establishing avenues of communication and understanding, of what each and the other does, how they work, and the values they advance.

The education and training activities of Workpackage 7 are geared towards these five sectors: a PhD course for the academia, training for the industry, course material for policy makers and a handbook and video for first responders and the police and security agencies.

The joint research activities carried out in Workpackages 3-6 aim at forming the state-of-the-art knowledge on societal security and are focusing on four different topics: the perceptions on societal security (WP3), the institutions working with societal security (WP4), the relation between societal security and economics (WP5) and finally the ethical and legal frameworks surrounding societal security (WP6).

The results from these research will feed into the documentation activities of the project (WP8) which is an information hub gathering four types of raw information which will result in a web cartography of the online debate on societal security: research results (both from the project and from other sources), bibliographical indexing, media data and general web data.

Finally, the results of the project will be represent the source of material for the dissemination activities (Workpackage 9) through a dedicated website, newsletters and briefs, policy seminars and international conferences, a special journal, films and scenarios and a visualisation tool.

Project Results:
In the first reporting period and first year of the project one of the main achievements has been to lay out a strategy for the management and expansion of the Primary Network – which is at the centre of the SOURCE project. The first step was to outline a strategy for the management of the network and for the coordination of the extensive workshops activity linked to it. Afterwards, a comprehensive survey of the five network sectors was undertaken through a Survey Meeting. This survey generated concrete data and conceptual knowledge about the available modes of interaction between each of the sectors which served as basis for establishing claims about security values, political priorities, social norms, cultural ideals, morals etc. These claims were then catalogued and analysed, and a map of the inter-linkages, correlations, associations, and determinacies they represent was created.

Another important step in the first period has been the stocktaking of existing survey through a methodology workshop. The exercise allowed dealing with the main question of how to assess societal security by reviewing available empirical knowledge on perceptions of security in society. This also represented the first phase of a three-step research approach heading to the creation of an annual societal security report that will provide the SOURCE Network of Excellence with empirical data and insights on perceptions of societal security.

The first year has naturally also been dedicated to the development of the dissemination and communication tools and materials including the website, intranet, visit cards, brochures, templates for public deliverables, template for newsletters etc. In the second year, these materials and technical capabilities will be shaped into an active webpage that will form the internal and external hub for the network.

In the second reporting period and second year of the project the consortium worked both to consolidate the accomplishments of the first, to raise the value, relevance and quality of ongoing activities, and to anticipate new needs and directions for the coming period. The consortium has become familiar with itself and has a far clearer understanding of the challenges both—explicit and hidden—in building communication and network-based collaborations where none has been before.

The SOURCE webpage ( is without doubt the key tool for the project. Populating it with meaning material, leading relevant stakeholders to it, and, finally making it into a platform where stakeholders will want to actively contribute, these are the key priorities of the SOURCE project. Significant progress has been made in this area. As the project’s information tools are developed, information gathered, technologies of information management matured, and the research components of the SOURCE project bringing a steady flow of insightful knowledge to the webpage, the project website has become a rich and living resource. It is distinctly launched and on its way. The coming year will strengthen and broaden the scope of the webpage, its visibility and its branding of SOURCE and the overall project advancing exchange on the notion and practices of societal security.

The role and function of the stakeholder group (“primary network”) has been a continuous concern. New ways have been sought to engage the network, draw upon its considerable expertise and experience, and draw them into a sense of belonging in a network with widely diverse perceptions and points of view, all using the SOURCE network’s somewhat limited resources. The most successful and meaningful measures have been stakeholder meetings, organize under the aegis of WP2 and WP9. The WP9 policy workshops and policy briefs have been a key to the progress made in bring the network together. The information sharing workshop (WP2) involving public officials, industry lobbyists, produce good output and, as a spinoff a lively video documentary gathering and comparing the perspectives of a variety of participants (cf. WP2 report below). The SOURCE Societal Security Symposium, organised by EOS in Brussels was equally a milestone when it comes to bringing together different stakeholders in dialogue on issues surrounding societal security. That meeting also generated a set of video interviews to be disseminated together with a policy brief on the challenges ahead industry-academia collaboration.

The research components of the SOURCE project also made significant gains in the second reporting period. Solid deliverables in the areas of finance and security (WP5), ethics (WP6), security professionals (WP4) were completed on schedule, raising the bar of scientific understanding of the issues involved in enhancing societal security on a European scale. The considerable results of the societal security survey continue to be collected, collated and analysed (WP3), further strengthening the baseline of knowledge which SOURCE regards as the requirement for effective and practical policy making.

Advances were also made in the educational packages being prepared for dissemination through the SOURCE project (WP7). The knowledge based collected through that workpackage and other SOURCE workpackages has supported the gradual and on-schedule development of teaching and training materials, which will play a central role in the later years of the project.

Potential Impact:
Through an array of networking activities, meetings, scientific and popular publications, film, press and social media, a scholarly journal and the formation of an international association for the study and improvement of societal security, the SOURCE Network of Excellence will meet the goals of raising the awareness among policy makers and end-users, raising the competitiveness of the security industry by better applying it to the social layers of insecurity in society and, as a consequence, contribute to the improvement of the well-being and security of European citizens

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