Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Technologies to enhance border and external security

Topic identifier: SU-BES02-2018-2019-2020
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Boosting the effectiveness of the Security Union (SU)

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Planned opening date:
14 March 2019
Deadline: 22 August 2019 17:00:00

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Planned opening date:
15 March 2018
Deadline: 28 August 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Innovation for border and external security may draw, in particular, from novel technologies, provided that they are affordable, accepted by citizens and customized and implemented for the needs of security practitioners.


Proposals are invited to address related research and innovation issues, in particular:

  • Sub-topic 1: [2018] Providing integrated situational awareness and applying augmented reality to border security

Currently, information is made available to border and coast guards in several formats and on different kinds of hardly interoperable displays. However, human cognitive is limited at managing information from several sources simultaneously and at handling too many separate pieces of equipment is a limit to their ability to act. Furthermore, border and coast guards often work in sparsely populated and remote areas where the availability of telecommunication networks may be an issue. Research and innovation should lead towards (cloud-based) integrated systems with simple but complete and highly-standardized interfaces showing real-time information in a user-friendly way that can assist border guards in decision-making, and in remaining in contact with their command and control centre in the actual context of operations. Water, land and air operating resources should be taken into account, to lead to enhanced concept of employment, integration and interoperability standards.

  • Sub-topic 2: [2018] Detecting fraud, verifying document validity, and alternative technologies to identifying people

The use of counterfeit travel documents at borders is a reality, which entails the risk of not identifying known criminals, including terrorists. It is a cross-cutting priority according to the EU Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment 2017[1], since it enables or enhances all types of serious and organized crime and terrorism. New countermeasures are needed to address potential frauds, in particular for the detection of morphed face images. The use of biometrics "on the fly" techniques for identification in a non-intrusive manner and without interrupting the flow of people is an area for further development, testing and validation.

  • Sub-topic 3: [2019] Security on-board passenger ships

Security on-board passenger ships is challenging, given the larger number of specific constraints that apply. To ensure security all along the "life cycle" of a voyage, new technologies can be implemented (together with methods for their deployment and possibly their integration into ship systems), as well as security novel procedures (including for embarkation and disembarkation, mooring at pier, etc.)

  • Sub-topic 4: [2019] Detecting threats in the stream of commerce without disrupting business

The flow of goods crossing borders is increasing, whilst ways of concealing methods for dangerous materials and illegally trafficked goods are improving. The detection of such dangerous and illegal goods should be facilitated by novel technologies and sensing strategies characterized by risk-based protection and non-intrusive security checks that can be implemented without disrupting business.

Proposals should target the automation and integration of existing technologies for the purpose of identifying the largest possible amount of threat materials and ensuring the full supervision of the logistic flow of goods. This would require exploiting information obtained through the analysis of cargo flow data available from open source and documentary control, intelligence gathering, risk management, as well as through physical detection or inspection of cargo in means of transport, luggage, or carried by individuals. The fitness for purpose of novel solutions should be validated at the EU external border, in a context chosen on the basis of a sound and factual risk analysis.

Of particular relevance: the enhancement of detection capabilities of contraband (mainly cigarettes) hidden in high density cargo (coal, iron ore) in particular for rail cargo transport, and well as the fight against illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear (NR) materials (including through the establishment of trans-European network of detection facilities with its specific concept of operations.

  • Sub-topic 5: [2020] Disruptive sensor technologies for border surveillance
  • Sub-topic: [2018-2019-2020] Open

Proposals addressing other issues relevant to this challenge, based on a sound rationale and supported by a large number of relevant practitioners are invited to apply under this sub-topic (see eligibility and admissibility conditions.)

Proposals should lead to solutions developed, tested, and validated in compliance with European societal values, fundamental rights and applicable legislation, including in the area of free movement of persons, privacy and protection of personal data. Societal aspects (e.g. perception of security, possible side effects of technological solutions, societal resilience) have to be addressed in a comprehensive and thorough manner.

The centre of gravity for technology development with actions funded under this topic is expected to be up to TRL 5 to 6 – see General Annex G of the Horizon 2020 Work Programme.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of about EUR 7 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Short term:

  • Clear, realistic benchmarks against which to assess progress, so as to possibly stop the project if at mid-term review progress is not deemed sufficient.
  • Plan to provide confidence in the take up of project results after the completion of the project.

Medium term:

  • Evidence based knowledge, and developments performing beyond the current state of the art and leading quickly to innovation.
  • Technical and operational guidelines, recommendations and best practices set in the EUROSUR handbook and in the future handbook for coast guards (as per Article 53 of the European Border and Coast Guard regulation.)

Long term:

  • Implementation of solutions resulting from the legislative initiative in the "Smart Borders" package;
  • Implementation of actions of civilian nature identified in the EU Maritime Security Strategy action plan;
  • Implementation of the actions identified by the EU Strategy and Action Plan for customs risk management.
Delegation Exception Footnote:

It is expected that this topic will continue in 2020.


Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.

Predefined sub-topics require the active involvement of at least 3 Border or Coast Guards Authorities from at least 3 different EU or Associated countries. Where applicable Sub-topic: Open requires the active involvement of at least 5 such organisations, from at least 5 different EU or Associated countries.

Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme.
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.


Grants will be awarded to proposals according to the ranking list. However, in order to ensure a balanced portfolio of supported actions, at least the highest-ranked proposal per sub-topic will be funded provided that it attains all thresholds.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.


5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Research and Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement


6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

For grants awarded under this Security call for Coordination and Support Actions, Pre-Commercial Procurement Actions, Innovation Actions and/or Research and Innovation Actions, the Commission or Agency may object to a transfer of ownership or the exclusive licensing of results to a third party established in a third country not associated to Horizon 2020. The respective option of Article 30.3 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20

14. Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens WP 2018-20

18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme



7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.


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To access the Electronic Submission Service of the topic, please select the type of action that is most relevant to your proposal from the list below and click on the 'Start Submission' button. You will then be asked to confirm your choice of the type of action and topic, as these cannot be changed in the submission system. Upon confirmation you will be linked to the correct entry point.

To access existing draft proposals for this topic, please login to the Participant Portal and select the My Proposals page of the My Area section.

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