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NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Europe Prepares for Major Hike in R&D Budget

The European Union is paving the way for security technologies by financing efforts to inform the public and end users about research programs at an early stage in their development. All this before the EU launches a major security research project in 2007.

Examined by European ministers during an informal meeting this week in Tampere in Finland, the European Security Research Program (ESRP) will take over in 2007 from the current “preparatory action for security research” (PASR: see graph below) project. And it will have an annual budget of EUR 250 million.

While research projects concerning border controls and anti-terrorism projects were numerous in the framework of PASR, other programs aimed primarily at preparing the ground for the emergence of new security technologies in Europe.

As in the case of Europe’s SAFEE program to enhance security aboard aircraft (IOL 530), regulatory modifications needed to prepare public opinion for changes are borne in mind early on in the research phase. For instance, the Prise project coordinated by Austria’s Institute of Technology Assessment, has drafted criteria aimed at making solutions acceptable from the human rights standpoint to future clients, legislators and the public at large. Much as consumer products are tested, Prise plans to test future security measures in several European countries to see how the public reacts.

Elsewhere, the Petra.net project provides for the creation of a portal that will form the basis of a genuine community of end users of security technologies: law enforcement agencies, fire services, civil security organizations and emergency services.

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