Exploring Cross-Cutting Issues: Research Data and the Role of NGOs and CSOs in Security Research and Innovation.
Last week, representatives from EMERITUS and PERIVALLON attended the CERIS FCT/INFRA annual event in Brussels. Fondazione SAFE’s representative, Federico Benolli, participated in a panel and presented the sibling projects. Every year, this event, organised by DG HOME, brings together security research practitioners, policymakers, researchers, civil society, and industry to discuss cross-cutting topics that have a broad and horizontal impact on research and innovation (R&I) in this domain.
The second day of the event, the 15th December, focused on the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) in EU security R&I. The overall objective was to foster the exchange of experiences and research findings to identify current achievements and possible synergies and strengthen collaboration at the European level. At the session, “NGOs/CSOs experiences as consortia members”, panellists shared valuable perspectives on the collaborative efforts within non-governmental organisations to enhance crime prevention and local security. The four speakers introduced their organisations and described their experience with European projects. Given the specificities of the NGOs and CSOs working in the security domain vis-à-vis the private sector, Federico Benolli stated, “It is not always immediate to let others understand our capabilities and the key role NGOs can have in implementing R&I projects”.
Then, the panel offered the possibility to discuss the need for effective collaboration and understanding between NGOs, academia, industry, and authorities to face current security problems and foster innovation in crime prevention.
Among the advice that Fondazione SAFE shared, based on their experience when taking part in European projects, it underlined the importance of approaching end-users as soon as possible, and sometimes even before the publication of Calls for proposal, in order to understand properly their needs, which are very peculiar depending on their nature and mandate such as Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and Border Guards (BGs). Furthermore, Mr. Benolli detailed Fondazione SAFE’s participation in the EMERITUS and PERIVALLON projects, outlining the collaboration between these two projects as a perfect example of the role that NGOs can have in R&I projects as entities whose main commitments are innovation and enabling new synergies to enhance complementarity and impact.
Both projects were offered the opportunity to foster the exchange of experiences and research findings, aiming to identify existing accomplishments. PERIVALLON members identified potential synergies with other projects that will be explored in the future months. Particularly, possible collaborations with LAGO project, building an evidence-based and validated multi-actor reference architecture for a trusted EU FCT Research Data Ecosystem will be looked after.
On the other hand, the first day of the event tackled challenges and solutions for effective access to high-quality and quantity research data in the field of security.
PERIVALLON is committed to open science as an integral part of its approach, aiming to make research data as open as possible (to ensure reproducibility and reuse) and as closed as necessary (to allow for the protection of results). In this regard, the first milestone was achieved in the early stages of the project with the publication of the AerialWaste dataset for the discovery of illegal landfills. This dataset consists of +10,000 annotated images and is expected to produce further actions to boost open science in Artificial Intelligence and environmental crime research. Furthermore, open-source algorithms that both EMERITUS and PERIVALLON will develop will be published on open repositories (e.g. GitHub) with open licenses.
About Fondazione SAFE
Fondazione SAFE is an Italian non-profit organisation promoting security and resilience through research, education, and advocacy. The foundation specialises in the design and implementation of EU-funded projects in the security, defence, and emergency management, as well as peace, stability and fundamental rights sectors. EMERITUS and PERIVALLON are two of more than 50 EU projects in which SAFE has been involved since 2019, whether as a Coordinator or partner.
One of Fondazione SAFE’s key contributions to both projects is the coordination of training and testing activities at the Calvarina military base. SAFE is managing the development of a training program specifically designed for LEAs/BGs that provides trainees with the skills and expertise needed to utilise the project’s advanced security solutions. Then, LEAs and BGs carry out testing activities and apply the project’s components in realistic situations via ad hoc operational training sessions based on selected use cases.
To ensure the effectiveness of EMERITUS’ integrated system and PERIVALLON integrated platform, Fondazione SAFE is conducting preliminary tests in relevant environment, at the Calvarina base to identify any potential issues or areas for improvement as well as advanced testing, aimed at enhancing already assessed technologies to ensure the system’s readiness for real-world deployment.
EMERITUS and PERIVALLON
The collaboration between EMERITUS and PERIVALLON has the objective of strengthening their collective impact. This synergy develops joint engagement and outreach activities through workshops to facilitate discussions among key stakeholders and experts and foster meaningful insights for both projects. Moreover, they are committed to establishing technical collaboration by exchanging technological tools developed within the projects, data and methodologies to enhance capabilities in environmental monitoring, intelligence gathering, and law enforcement.
You can read more about the ongoing collaboration between the two projects here.