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TOPIC : Security for smart and safe cities, including for public spaces

Topic identifier: SU-INFRA02-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Boosting the effectiveness of the Security Union (SU)

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

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

In the cities, public spaces such as malls, open crowded gathering areas and events, and non-restricted areas of transport infrastructures, constitute “soft targets”, that is potential, numerous targets spread across the urban area and subject to “low cost” attacks strongly impacting the citizens. The generation, processing and sharing of large quantities of data in smart cities make urban systems and services potentially more responsive, and able to act upon real-time data. On the one hand, smart cities provide for improving the security of open and crowded areas against threats (including terrorist threats) and risks, by leveraging wide networks of detection and prevention capabilities that can be combined with human response to crisis to enhance first responders' actions. On the other hand, the distinct smart technological and communication environments (urban, transport infrastructures, companies, industry) within a smart city require a common cybersecurity management approach.


The security and good operation of a smart and safe city relies on interconnected, complex and interdependent networks and systems: public transportation networks, energy, communication, transactional infrastructure, civil security and law enforcement agencies, road traffic, public interest networks and services.

Such networks provide with an efficient infrastructure for detection resources and "big data" collection. The screening of such data are being used by security practitioners to enhance their capabilities and performances. For instance, crowd protection and the security of public and government buildings can be improved through the identification of threats or of crime perpetrators, and the early detection of dangerous devices or products; first responders may get quicker on site by calculating in real time the shorter possible route to the scene of disaster.

Proposals under this topic should develop and integrate experimentally, in situ, the components of an open platform for sharing and managing information between public service operators and security practitioners of a large, smart city. The proposed pilots should consider how to combine, inter alia:

  • Methods to detect weapons, explosives, toxic substances
  • Systems for video surveillance
  • Methods to identify, and neutralize crime perpetrators whilst minimizing intrusion into crowded areas

In designing the platform, proposals should:

  • involve actively the security actors of the city area, their coordination and governance;
  • solve interoperability issues, and ensure the interconnection and integration of the city smart systems with the systems supporting the security practitioners locally, including through modelling and simulating their interdependence;
  • enhance the security of city smart systems, notably in terms of access control (e.g. with digital security measures such as layered authentication and access), secure communication and data storage, and address their possible misuse by criminals;
  • consider new concepts of operation resulting from novel monitoring methods, data provided by extensive networks of sensors and social media;
  • consider mitigation strategies in the context of a variety of scenarios in order to increase resilience;
  • integrate modules to simulate security incidents, and their consequences;
  • integrate modules to measure the quantitative and qualitative impact of the platform on security;
  • provide for the sharing, consolidation and analysis of multi-sourced data.

The proposals should also address at least one of the following key issues:

  • Simulation, detection and analysis of the additional security threats and risks created through the interconnection of smart systems (e.g. Internet of Things (IoT), in particular those IoT objects used by security practitioners) and smart infrastructures (e.g. smart (government) buildings, smart railways, smart ports, smart factories, smart bridges, smart hospitals, large gathering of people in smart infrastructure) within a smart city;
  • Delivery of a cyber-security framework to ease collaboration across all smart cities stakeholders, from urban planners to infrastructure operators, security practitioners, IT supervisors and providers across smart organizations within the city;
  • Support and implementation of a common approach to securing and managing in a reliable and untamperable manner the data from all the smart infrastructures and systems hosted in a smart city supporting the citizens, the public authorities, the security practitioners, and the urban economy in creating transparent, efficient, accountable cyber-secure data-handling processes, in line with data protection legislation.

Digital security awareness should be integrated into the eco-system of humans, competences, services and solutions which should be able to adapt rapidly to the evolutions of cyber-threats or even to surpass them.

The centre of gravity for technology development with actions funded under this topic is expected to be up to TRL 7 – see General Annex G of the Horizon 2020 Work Programme.

Solutions are to be developed in compliance with fundamental rights, privacy and data protection, especially as the development of big data creates specific challenges. Therefore, full compliance with data protection legislations must be ensured in exploiting big data. Societal aspects (e.g. perception of security, possible effects of technological solutions on societal resilience) have to be taken into account in a comprehensive and thorough manner.

Projects should also foresee activities and envisage resources for cooperating with other projects funded under this topic and with other relevant projects in the field funded by Horizon 2020.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of about EUR 8 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:
  • Creation of dedicated, harmonised, advance cybersecurity solutions for smart cities adopting common approaches with all involved stakeholders (e.g. administrators of smart city/port/transport) balancing their – sometimes conflicting – goals (e.g. urban development, efficiency, growth, competitiveness, resilience).
  • In situ demonstrations of efficient and cost-effective solutions to the largest audience, beyond the project participants.
  • An easier level of integration by developing a holistic cyber-security framework for smart cities that benefits all smart infrastructures hosted within it (e.g. smart buildings, smart ports, smart railways, smart logistics).
  • IoT ecosystems (rather than distributed IoT infrastructures) built adopting common approaches in their cybersecurity management, achieving economies of scale (e.g. avoiding duplication of efforts in the analysis of IoT data, selection of cybersecurity controls).
  • Novel concepts of operations taking account of mutiple, heterogeneous data sources and the social media.
  • Novel tools and systemic approaches to protect citizens against threats to soft targets in a Smart City.
Delegation Exception Footnote:

This topic complements other smart cities actions, including those under the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities
Contractual Public-Private Partnerships (cPPPs)

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.


At least the local governments of 2 cities or metropolitan areas in 2 Member States or Associated Countries must be beneficiaries (possibly, but not necessarily: coordinator) of the grant agreement and should be directly involved in the carrying out of the tasks foreseen in the grant.

The participation of industry able to provide security solutions is required.

The duration of the proposed activities must not exceed 24 months.

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.


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):

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 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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