SecurePART – Executive summary of the project’s final report

The SecurePART – Increasing the engagement of Civil Society Organisaitons (CSO) in Security Research has a duration of 24 months and started in May 2014. The consortium is made up of 7 partners from 5 different countries: Spain, Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom and Portugal. The consortium, led by Bantec (SP) has the following partners: vdLconsult (DE); ENNA (BE); nexus institute (DE); Goethe
University (DE); University of Salford (UK); LOBA (PT).

This SecurePART team is made up by independent, specialized social research centres and consultancies (specialised in policy analysis, citizen engagement and social marketing) ensuring a neutral approach. Extensive interaction with CSOs was ensured by the EU Network of CSOs (ENNA) that facilitated large consultations with their representatives and the multiplying effect of communication and dissemination actions planned.
The project was organised into seven individual work packages, out of which five are related to
supporting activities, one related to dissemination activities and one related to management.

Project activities included: Analysis and Studies; Reviews on other non-security research who have
a similar problem of acceptance by the society ; Societal & CSO analyses; Development of
communication plan about potential benefits of security research activities; Strategy for increasing
CSO participation & Action plan.

The project also included the constitution and management Stakeholders Board with the following
distinguished members:

  • Tom Sorell
  • Ineke Malsh
  • Dr. Walter Peissl
  • Dr Henk Mulder
  • Christian Sommade
  • Hugo Rosemont
  • Ulrich Dünnes
  • Mirko Schwärzel
  • Hendrik Keersmaekers
  • Sadhbh McCarthy

 

Work performed and the main results achieved

Analyse the content and status of FP7 security research projects

What have we researched and what do we know about CSO involvement in Security Research?

CSOs have often multiple personalities due to the different roles they are called to perform under
varying circumstances, whenever they interact with other stakeholders. This also applies to their
engagement in European security research. CSOs have dramatically grown in number and have
evolved out of their classical role by transforming themselves, as societal challenges and political
contexts of action have changed in the past couple of years. Most generic, “fuzzy” definitions of
CSOs, used by public policy actors nowadays, are inclusive, yet they do not help discern “real”,
public-interest CSOs from organizations and associations with a particularistic, for-profit agenda.
Narrow definitions, on the other hand, may be better at the operative policy level, when it comes
to selecting relevant CSOs for consultations, project funding, etc., but they create many deviations
from the rule, and a lot of exclusion of organizations which do not completely correspond to the
ideal core.

Size and resources of CSOs

Most of the selected CSOs for the study are small or even very small (micro), as regards number of
employees and budget. CSOs with more than 100 employees and 5M€ are a minority in Europe.
Most of the CSOs that are involved in security research are medium or large organizations with
branches at international, European, national and also at regional or local level. This is why;
depending on the focus of activity or project where they are working, they can involve any of the
following specific levels.
CSOs do not have sufficient resources to be committed to activities that are outside of the main
aim of the organization. Only large CSOs, with an international or European focus, have enough
resources or specific units devoted to research activities. But there are exceptions, as there are a
few very small and small CSOs with European activity focused on research.

Interest of CSOs in security research

Interests of CSOs: they are strongly related to ethical and societal dimensions of security research.
Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-threats for CSO engagement in security research: the
analysis of CSOs with regard to the security research landscape has shown that CSOs’ strengths are
their “hands-on” style and their understanding of societal and practical issues “on the ground”. In
the security Science & Technology context, this endows CSOs with the capacity to be trusted
“brokers” and “facilitators”, with the potential to raise trust among researchers, society, and
public policy makers. Therefore, their input can be invaluable in bridging security R&D with
societal needs and ethical concerns of citizens. This untapped potential can under certain
circumstances open windows for them to participate, and also help disseminate and increase the
value of research results, potentially enhancing their uptake. However, if they are not willing or
lack the resources to participate in dialogue with other stakeholders, or find common
denominators in their agenda and that of security research, then their relevance for the ESRP and
their capacity to make a useful contribution will probably decline.

Where CSOs would like to be involved

The project has detected a wide spectrum of fields and technologies where CSOs might be
involved: First ‘individual civil rights’ followed by ‘minority’s rights’, ‘privacy’, ‘environmental risks’,
‘cybersecurity’ or ‘health risks’. In line with the security research fields most interesting to CSOs,
crisis management is by large, the most important, followed by infrastructure protection, counterterror,
physical protection and borders.

When an how the involvement of CSOs in security research took place

The analysis has allowed us to understand the scope and involvement of CSOs in security research
during the last 6 years and the periodicity or frequency of their activity in this matter. 54% of the
activities in security research where CSOs that had a European background, 22% of them were at a
national level, 20% at an international level, and 4% at a regional or local level. We have concluded
that 69% of CSOs had direct involvement in this activity and 31% had an indirect relationship with
SR.

The more usual roles played by CSOs

They are, by order or frequency: observer, actor of research, disseminator of research results,
influencer. Also, a small percentage have worked as users of the research, project evaluators,
program evaluator or commissioner of research.

Internal and external barriers faced by CSOs

Internal barriers have been identified from the analysis: CSOs have more difficulty to be involved
in security research according to – by order – staff structure or size of the CSO, CSOs mandates or
priorities, inappropriate staff skills, poor involvement of the members and other collaborators and
inappropriate plan of the activities to generate interest.
On the institutional side, the rather low compatibility between CSOs’ agendas and missions results
in mutual ignorance and lack of interest. While the ESRP and its research calls have a dominant
high-tech industrial character, aimed to strengthen the marketing of security technologies, most
CSOs care about issues of civil and minority rights. Such agendas could, however, become more
compatible in the future.

 

Reviews on other non-security research who have a similar problem of acceptance by the
society

Analyse best practice not only in the Security Sector but also in other sectors that has a similar
problem of acceptance by the society, like the Chemical technology industry, and more actual the
Nano-technology or Genetic-technology.
Controversial technologies have one feature in common they lack transparency vis-á-vis the
civil society. This contributes considerably to the rejection of critical technologies. In order to
improve this, it needs tools/methods to make technologies tranparent and:

  • to make them understandable
  • to demonstrate their function
  • to demonstrate their benefits
  • to prepare their utilisation.

By implementing these tools feedback is received from the civil society regarding their demands.
For the objective of SecurePART to increase the CSO participation in security research the
proposed tools and methods are a complementary approach to empowering the CSOs. The
proposed tools and methods have the potential to be a key element to support the objective
“Strengthen transparency, fairness, and accountability”.

It is therefore recommended to make the tools:

  • Consensus Conferences
  • Demonstration Projects
  • Participatory Technology Assessment
  • Public Days

an integrated part of the strategy for increasing CSO participation in security research.

 

Societal & CSO analyses

DEFINITION, CATEGORIES and ROLES of CSOs
According to the European Commission, civil society encompasses trade unions and employers’ organisations (“social partners”), non-governmental organisations, professional associations, charities, grass-roots organisations, and organisations that involve citizens in local and municipal life, including churches and religious communities. These are supposed to lend a voice to the needs of all citizens, and provide a communication channel for them to policy makers. Civil Society Organisations are broadly defined as:
“… all non-state, not-for-profit structures, non-partisan and nonviolent, through which people organise to pursue shared objectives and ideals, whether political, cultural, social or economic.” (European Commission (2012), The Roots of Democracy and Sustainable Development. Europe’s Engagement with Civil Society in External Relations, Brussels, 12/9/2012. COM(2012) 492 final)
A preliminary analysis of the CORDIS database conducted by SecurePART helped discern the following categories of CSOs, many of which are practitioners of security provision:

  • Medical disaster first aid/relief associations;
  • Emergency Services (Fire brigades & rescue services;
  • Transport associations & passenger rights NGOs;
  • Community & neighbourhood integration associations;
  • Human/civil rights associations;
  • ICT/cyber liberties & data protection organisations;
  • Climate change and environmental organizations;
  • Development cooperation organizations;
  • Think Tanks & foundations;
  • Science dissemination organisations

Many of the above categories contain hybrid organisations, which are on the border between public administration, research organisations, or small enterprises. Yet a major challenge is the lack of a clear, jointly shared and legally binding definition of what is a CSO.
CSOs are under-represented within EU security research projects. The SecurePART coding in the CORDIS database resulted in an approximate percentage of 4% of CSOs out of ca. 2,000 total beneficiaries. However, the ex-post evaluation of FP7 Security theme (2015) did not differentiate among CSOs and other organisations, and CSOs necessarily fell into the category “Other”, accounting for around 3% of total participations.
CSOs have already undertaken a number of roles within security research with different intensity in terms of format, and different goals, while they still aspire to undertake roles with more influence:

  1. Observers: CSOs get information on H2020 programme at info days, project and policy conferences;
  2. Advisors: CSOs are invited to become members in external advisory boards during the project implementation phase;
  3. Actors of research: CSOs participate in research as members of a project consortium, often as disseminators raising awareness to key target groups:
  4. Project evaluators & reviewers: CSOs are invited by the EC services as external experts to conduct evaluations and reviews;
  5. SR agenda consultants: CSOs are consulted during the drafting of the future SR programme agenda;
  6. Commissioners of research: CSOs formulate research calls with a strong SR relevance

THE EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT FOR CSO ENGAGEMENT IN RESEARCH

Since the launch of the Lisbon Treaty societal engagement in policy making in general, and in S&T research is pursued by the EU for both for democratic reasons, and for instrumental reasons – engagement improves the research results and the relevance of policies by including societal knowledge, ideas and capacities in research and increasing the knowledge base for policy making. In contentious and sensitive research fields, such as that of security, compliance with the Treaty of Fundamental Rights is essential. -ree funding lines have been identified, which provide access to CSOs to research funding in the FP7/Horizon 2020 programmes: Priority III “Societal challenges”, which includes seven thematic priorities, one of them being the Work Programme “Secure societies”, as well as one of its two specific objectives, the objective V “Science with and for Society”. A general dedicated funding scheme “Research for the Benefit of Specific Groups – Civil Society Organisations” (BSG-CSO) had been also introduced in FP7. -ere have been many indications for optimism about the degree and the breadth of engagement of CSOs in most areas, something which applies only partially to the ESRP. CSOs are mostly invited for their expertise on the ground, and for their role as brokers and disseminators of results, but less as active influencers, designers, or implementers of the (security) research agenda.

 

THE STAKEHOLDER ENVIRONMENT IN THE EUROPEAN SECURITY RESEARCH

Based upon surveys and data evaluations, stakeholder categories and types, such as social and human scientists, security industry actors/technology developers, end-users, security policy makers, and civil society representatives have been distinguished for analytical reasons as distinct types of actors. -e study of their “master frames”, interests, goals and concerns with security research revealed some common ground, but also a lot of divergence and some deep cleavages. Most interesting thereby is the broad and fuzzy category of end-users, which often comprises CSOs, public authorities, and private companies of security provision. -at notwithstanding, there is a huge discrepancy between CSO and other stakeholders’ participation in security research project consortia, which amounts to less than 5%. -e examination of the role of CSOs within consultation forums and ad-hoc expert groups has shown very limited presence, and a similar picture results out of the comparison of stakeholders with regard to the resources received from the ESRP. -is analysis provided the background for a multi-stakeholder power/interest matrix, which attempted to position CSOs in relation with other stakeholders with regard to their influence on the ESRP. While RTOs and big security industry along SMEs have been the strongest profit and leverage with the security programme, public authorities and universities seem to be left behind, while CSOs play a negligible role, also in the cloak of end-users. -is matrix provided a first mapping of CSOs in relation to other key players within the ESRP research environment, which will help at identifying institutional barriers, but also opportunity windows for CSOs, and contribute to strengthening, upstreaming, and streamlining their engagement in security research for mutual benefit.

 

BARRIERS TO CSO ENGAGEMENT IN THE ESRP

In a series of interviews, online surveys, and an interactive CSO-Stakeholder workshop, SecurePART found out that:
There are CSOs that appear to have an explicit interest in security research and have participated/can participate in research actions. However, more than one third of the interviewed CSOs do not readily recognize much relevance of security research to their activities—at least not at first sight—and therefore do not participate. There is also a considerable proportion among the interviewed CSOs which have an explicit interest in security research, but lack access to research actions. This highlights target groups of CSOs for security research offering an untapped potential. Those that do not yet recognise the relevance of SR could be sensitized and mobilized to participate in future research actions for mutual benefit; Those already willing to participate need better access opportunities.

CSO representatives, from a diverse range of backgrounds, stated that their motivation to participate in EU security research is linked with their activities on the ground, also linked to political, social, and ethical concerns of the citizens.

In general, CSOs are confronted with a series of internal and external barriers when it comes to the European Security Research Programme. CSOs face the challenge of being informed and being visible to other security research actors, link their organisation’s mandates with the concrete security research topics, and, not least, employ the appropriate staff to conduct research. What is more, many CSOs seem to be alienated by the predominantly technological focus of the ESRP, as well as deterred by administrative hurdles, and by the poor relationships with other security research actors. Unfortunately, there is a lack of CSO networks in security-relevant fields to promote their agendas at EU level.

At the same time, it is not easy for research administrators at the European Commission to recognise advantages and benefits of CSO engagement in security research actions. The situation may be exacerbated by a tendency amongst project co-ordinators and partners (such as research and technology organisations, universities, or industry including SMEs) to not include CSOs in their activities, or simply assign them dissemination roles or less-substantial tasks.

A frequent point of resistance toward wide (CSO) participation from the side of industrial developers and commercial service providers is confidentiality about security research outputs fearing about patents and comparative market advantages.

 

Increase the engagement of CSOs in security research

Development of communication plan about potential benefits of security research activities

Main results achieved

Organize several international events with participants coming from all the sectors / categories of stakeholders involved or possibly interested in ESRP. (the detailed communication actions are presented in Deliverable 4.4; all the events attended by the partners are in Deliverables 6.4 and 6.5)

Engage and bring forward, through ENNA, but also through the network of its members and partners, various CSOs on the entire period of the project (participants to the interview phase recommended the project to other colleagues / collaborators which, at a later stage, got involved in the events organized by the consortium).

Realize and promote different materials and communication messages addressed to a diverse public (CSOs, Security Research project coordinators, wide public).

Future strategy & action plan

Main results achieved:

SecurePART Action Plan for strengthening the links between civil society organizations and security reseach
http://www.securepart.eu/en/public-results.html

A set of 4 videos with recommendations for CSO, Project Coordinators, NCPs and European Commission
http://www.securepart.eu/en/gallery.html

Recommendation on permanent institutional set-ups for CSO engagement in Security Research
This study has examined existing set ups in EU for Security Research and institutional and organizational possibilities outside Security Research field, which could be imported to Security Research as reference of CSO involvement. In this regard the study has analysed the Mobilization and Mutual Learning EU projects (precedent and ongoing projects).
It was expected that this study will help on the identification of potential existing set ups as reference models; will Identify formats that are most promising for establishing mutual exchange with CSOs in the context of security research is because of that we analysed MML (Mobilization and Mutual Learning EU projects); and will give us the possibility to suggest tentative key points to be considered when design a platform in SR.

The main aims of the study were to identify existing Multi stakeholder Exchange platforms in EU involving CSO and determinate how permanent and influence they are. Examined institutional and organizational possibilities outside for SR to identify transferable “good practices” which could be imported to Security Research as models of CSO involvement process. And finally suggest key aspects to guarantee involvement of CSO in this kind of Multi stakeholder Exchange Platforms.
More information: D5.3 – Recommendation on permanent institutional set-ups for CSO engagement in Security Research (http://www.securepart.eu/en/public-results.html).

 

This post is a summary of the Executive summary of the project’s final report. The complete version can be found at http://www.securepart.eu/en/public-results.html.

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