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EU’s annually Security Research Conference raises expectations

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EU’s annually Security Research Conference raises expectations for policy and economic growth as 27 Member States prepare next seven-year “Horizon 2020” research budget

WARSAW – A broad view of what the EU’s future Security Research policy priorities should be emerged from the sixth yearly Security Research Conference 2011 (SRC11), hosted here during 19-21 September by the EU’s Polish presidency in cooperation with the European Commission.

Officials from government, business and academia pointed to a wide swath of policy issues that require more refinement during the remainder of the current 2007-2013 Security Research programme and beyond it to the EU’s next 2014-2020 research programme known as Horizon 2020. 
Ranging from industrial standards to the societal aspects of security research, these issues require careful coordination in order to bring maximum benefit to Europe’s citizens and economy, Polish and EU officials told their SRC11 audience.

“Security Research is hugely commercial in its implications,” Barbara Kudrycka, Poland’s Minister of Science and Higher Education, said in her opening remarks to the conference on 20 September. “It will lead the growth in competitiveness of the economy as a whole, as well as individual sectors.”

Europe’s security sector is expected to grow by an estimated 5 percent per year, according to industry and government estimates. However for this to be sustained, Kudrycka said “it will be absolutely necessary” for Horizon 2020 to be aligned with national budgets and the EU’s cohesion funds for regional development. “Such a combination will create a critical mass to allow European companies to compete internationally, while supporting excellence in research.”

Christian Ehler, German Member of the European Parliament, agreed. “The Security Research programme has shown great success and we are committed to seeing this continue beyond 2014: the EP will advocate a substantial rise in its budget.”

The EU’s Security Research programme has a budget of EUR 1.4 billion for its seven-year period until the end of 2013.
But Ehler also echoed Kudrycka’s call for tighter alignment of EU and national security research programmes. “We are pursuing a dialogue at ministerial level with the Member States to promote this,” he said, pointing to the positive example of Austria “which has a very structured approach [to security research] at national level and has been very successful at the EU level as a result. This needs to be duplicated across the Member States.”

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