Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Human factors, and social, societal, and organisational aspects to solve issues in fighting against crime and terrorism

Topic identifier: SU-FCT01-2018-2019-2020
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:

The free and democratic EU society, based on the rule of law, mobility across national borders, globalised communication and finance infrastructure, provides many opportunities to its people. However, the benefits come along with risks related to crime and terrorism, a significant number of which have cross-border impacts within the EU. Security is a key factor to ensure a high quality of life and to protect our infrastructure through preventing and tackling common threats. The EU must play its part to help prevent, investigate and/or mitigate the impact of criminal acts, whilst protecting fundamental rights. The consistent efforts made by EU Member States and the EU to that effect are not enough, especially when criminal groups and their activities extend far beyond national borders.


The Lisbon Treaty enables the EU to act to develop itself as an area of freedom, security and justice. The EU Security Union is now in the building, and requires an EU-wide approach to security that integrates prevention, investigation and mitigation capabilities in the area of the fight against crime.

The globalisation of communications and finance infrastructure allows crime to develop and take new forms. Trafficking in human beings for all forms of exploitation purposes is a serious and organised crime often with cross-border dimension, violating fundamental rights of the individuals and creating a security challenge. Prevention of child sexual abuse and exploitation is another area where research is acutely needed. The use of the internet as a platform for child sex offenders to communicate, store and share child sexual exploitation material and to hunt for new victims continues to be one of the internet’s most abhorrent aspects. Cybercriminality, as a whole, is not satisfactorily understood nor properly addressed; the constantly expanding attack surface combined with the ever increasing number of attack vectors requires a more structured approach. Radicalisation is yet another challenge of our society that requires a multi-disciplinary approach, with policy recommendations and practical solutions to be implemented by a variety of policy-makers and practitioners.

Proposed approaches need to rely on existing knowledge and to exclude approaches that have previously failed. The societal dimension of fight against crime and terrorism should be at the core of the proposed activities. Proposals should be submitted by consortia involving relevant security practitioners and civil society organisations, each under only one of the following sub-topics:

  • Sub-topic 1: [2018] New methods to prevent, investigate and mitigate trafficking of human beings and child sexual exploitation – and on the protection of victims

Globalisation and technological developments facilitate trafficking in human beings and child sexual exploitation. A variety of preventive measures, as well as measures to ensure adequate victim protection and assistance are needed, that build upon advances in social sciences and humanities.

Proposals in this subtopic should address both phenomena in a balanced way. They should ensure that the research focuses on prevention, investigation and/or assistance related to all victims of trafficking and not only addressing child trafficking. In the same way, the proposals should cover any area concerning prevention, investigation and/or assistance to victims of child sexual exploitation, not only the assistance to victims of child sexual exploitation resulting from trafficking.

With respect to the trafficking of human beings, research should bear on:

  • preventing the phenomenon and to reduce the demand for all forms of exploitation in the trafficking chain and its legal and illegal sectors. The analysis of possible involvement of organized crime groups implicated in trafficking of human beings in other crimes as well (e.g., financial crimes) is recommended;
  • new approaches to investigate cases involving the trafficking of human beings;
  • new approaches to mitigate the impact on victims in the short and long term.

Regarding child sexual exploitation:

  • how to address new threats, such as live-streaming of child abuse and coercion and extortion of victims that have escalated in the last years;
  • how to provide law enforcement with effective means to detect, investigate and bring down the many peer-to-peer networks and the growing number of forums on the darknet that facilitate the exchange of child sexual exploitation material and support offenders;
  • how to help victims of abuse during criminal investigations and court procedures;
  • how to help the victims in the long term, to help them deal with the effects;
  • how to reduce risks of (re-)offending by better understanding the behaviour of abusers and potential abusers.

Sub-topic 2: [2019] Understanding the drivers of cybercriminality, and new methods to prevent, investigate and mitigate cybercriminal behaviour

The Internet of Things, the ever increasing number of internet-connected devices, may pose substantial threats to (cyber)security since this fully connected world as well as the network itself have become a target for cybercriminals. The key challenge in this respect is to determine what the drivers of new forms of cyber criminality are and how they might be prevented and mitigated. The dissemination of "cybercrime-as-a-service" business models is an important enabler for crime and poses significant challenges to security. The increasing variety of such services, the modalities through which they are offered and the connections with different criminal activities need to be investigated to understand their trends and thus to allow for prevention and law enforcement.

Human factors determining online behaviour as described for instance by the online disinhibition effect (individuals acting more boldly online, being less inhibited and with their judgment impaired) are drivers for cybercrime as individuals feel disconnected from the actual crime or do not even perceive it as a crime. Recent trends also indicate a growth in cyber juvenile delinquency and a rise in adolescent hacking.

These developments call for further research in domains such as psychology, criminology, anthropology, neurobiology and cyber psychology to understand better the factors contributing to it and to devise preventive and deterrence measures, including providing alternatives to harness the potential of these young talents for cybersecurity and technologies.

  • Sub-topic 3: [2020] Developing comprehensive multi-disciplinary and multi-agency approaches to prevent and counter violent radicalisation and terrorism in the EU
  • Sub-topic: [2018-2019] Open

Proposals analysing and recommending other ways to solve human, social, and societal issues in fighting against crime and terrorism, and supported by large numbers of practitioners, are invited to apply under this sub-topic (see eligibility and admissibility conditions.)

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

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of about EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately through multidisciplinary projects confronting different schools of thought. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Medium term:

  • improved and consolidated knowledge among EU Law Enforcement Agencies officers on the issues addressed in this topic;
  • exchange of experiences among EU Law Enforcement Agencies about human, social and societal aspects of security problems and their remedies;
  • policy-making toolkits for security policy-makers, to support the establishment of a European Security Model;
  • toolkits for EU Law Enforcement Agencies and/or civil society organisations, validated against practitioners' needs and requirements to facilitate their daily operations.

Long term:

  • European common approaches for assessing risks/threats, and identifying and deploying relevant security measures, which take into account legal and ethical rules of operation, cost-benefit considerations, as well as fundamental rights such as the rights to privacy, to protection of personal data and the free movement of persons;
  • support towards the implementation of the European Security Union by strengthening the perception by citizens of the EU as an area of freedom, justice and security;
  • advances through the cross-fertilisation of concepts resulting from the collision of different ways of thinking and of different approaches developed by various partners in the proposals.
Delegation Exception Footnote:

It is expected that this topic will continue in 2020.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities

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 Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) 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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