Building on the ambitious cybersecurity initiatives announced in 2017, the European Commission proposes as a next step the creation of a Network of Cybersecurity Competence Centres and a new European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre to invest in stronger and pioneering cybersecurity capacity in the EU.

Aims of this proposal

The mission of the proposal to establish a European Cybersecurity Network and a Competence Centre is to help the EU retain and develop the cybersecurity technological and industrial capacities necessary to secure its Digital Single Market. This goes hand-in-hand with the key objective to increase the competitiveness of the EU's cybersecurity industry and turn cybersecurity into a competitive advantage of other European industries.

By managing the cybersecurity funds under the next multi-annual financial framework 2021-2027, the initiative will help to create an inter-connected, Europe-wide cybersecurity industrial and research ecosystem. It should encourage better cooperation between relevant stakeholders (including between cybersecurity civilian and defence sectors) to make the best use of existing cybersecurity resources and expertise spread across Europe. The initiative builds on the expertise that already exists in more than 660 cybersecurity expertise centres from all Member States who have responded to a recent survey conducted by the European Commission.

It should help the EU and Member States take a proactive, longer-term and strategic perspective to cybersecurity industrial policy going beyond research and development only. This approach should help not only to come up with breakthrough solutions to the cybersecurity challenges which the private and public sectors are facing but also support the effective deployment of these solutions.

It will allow relevant research and industrial communities as well as public authorities to gain access to key capacities such as testing and experimentation facilities, which are often beyond the reach of individual Member States due to insufficient financial and human resources. Furthermore, the proposal will contribute to closing the skills gap and to avoiding a brain drain by ensuring access of the best talents to large-scale European cybersecurity research and innovation projects and therefore providing interesting professional challenges.

How it works

The proposal creates a Network of National Coordination Centres, a Cybersecurity Competence Community and a European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre.

Network of National Coordination Centres

Each Member State will nominate one National Coordination Centre. They will function as contact point at the national level for the Competence Community and the Competence Centre. They are the "gatekeeper" for the Community in their country support to carry out actions under this Regulation, and they can pass on financial support to national/local ecosystems.

The Cybersecurity Competence Community

This Community will involve a large, open, and diverse group of actors involved in cybersecurity technology, including in particular research entities, supply/demand-side industries and the public sector. It will provide input to the activities and work plan of the Competence Centre and it will also benefit from the community-building activities of the Competence Centre and the Network.

The European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre

The Competence Centre will facilitate and help coordinate the work of the Network and nurture the Cybersecurity Competence Community, driving the cybersecurity technological agenda and facilitating common access to the expertise of national centres. The Competence Centre will in particular do so by implementing relevant parts of the Digital Europe and Horizon Europe programmes by allocating grants and carrying out procurements.

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