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EU Security Research Projects Awarded (18/01/2016)


COMRADES – Collective Platform for Community Resilience and Social Innovation during Crises
Response to crisis often reveals organisational and technological shortcomings, which threaten community recovery and sustainability. Even though some technological solutions exist, challenges of communication, interoperability, and data analytics remain. The deployment and use of technologies, and the social structures in which they are adopted, are interdependent. Hence it is imperative to develop human-centred technologies that take into account actual real world practices of affected populations and responders.

The rise of social media as an information channel during crisis has become key to community resilience and response. However, existing crisis awareness applications, such as Ushahidi, while vital for information gathering, often struggle to address the challenges of real-time social data analysis and aggregation of crisis micro-events, and filtering of unverified content and reporters.

This project will build an intelligent collective resilience platform to help communities to reconnect, respond, and recover from crisis situations. COMRADES will achieve this through an interdisciplinary, socio-technical approach, which will draw on the latest advances in computational social science, social computing, real-time analytics, text and social media analysis, and Linked Open Data. The open source COMRADES platform will go beyond the now standard data collection, mapping, and manual analysis functions provided by the underpinning, widely used Ushahidi crisis mapping tool, to include new intelligent algorithms aimed at helping communities, citizens, and humanitarian services with analysing, verifying, monitoring, and responding to emergency events.

Start date: 2016-01-01
End date: 2018-12-31
Total cost: EUR 1.999.021
EU contribution: EUR 1.999.021
Project coordinator: The Open University, United Kingdom

ENCASE – EnhaNcing seCurity And privacy in the Social wEb: a user centered approach for the protection of minors
ENCASE will implement a browser-based architecture for the protection of minors from malicious actors in online social networks. The ENCASE user-centric architecture will consist of three distinct services, which can be combined to form an effective protective net against cyberbullying and sexually abusive acts:

  1. a) a browser add-on with its corresponding scalable back-end software stack that collects the users’ online actions to unveil incidents of aggressive or distressed behaviour;
  2. b) a browser add-on with its associated scalable software stack that analyses social web data to detect fraudulent and fake activity and alert the user; and
  3. c) a browser add-on that detects when a user is about to share sensitive content (e.g., photos or address information) with an inappropriate audience and warns the user or his parents of the imminent privacy threat. The third add-on has usable controls that enable users to protect their content by suggesting suitable access lists, by watermarking, and by securing the content via cryptography or steganography.

The three browser add-ons and the back-end social web data analytics software stack will be assessed with user studies and piloting activities and will be released to the public. The foundation of the research and innovation activities will be a diligently planned inter-sectorial and interdisciplinary secondment program for Experienced and Early Stage Researchers that fosters knowledge exchange. The academic partners will contribute know-how on user experience assessment, large scale data processing, machine learning and data-mining algorithm design, and content confidentiality techniques. The industrial partners will primarily offer expertise in production-grade software development, access to real-world online social network data, and access to numerous end-users through widely deployed products.

Start date: 2016-01-01
End date: 2019-12-31
Total cost: EUR 2.160.000
EU contribution: EUR 2.160.000
Project coordinator: Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus

EU-CIVCAP – Preventing and responding to conflict: developing EU CIVilian CAPabilities for a sustainable peace
The goals of preventing the outbreak of conflict and promoting sustainable peace remain a fundamental challenge to policymakers and analysts alike. The European Union and its member states require an adequate set of capabilities if they are to address this challenge in a timely and effective manner.

EU-CIVCAP will provide a comprehensive, comparative and multidisciplinary analysis of EU civilian capabilities for external conflict prevention and peacebuilding in order to identify ‘the best civilian means to enhance these capabilities’ and address existing shortfalls.

More specifically, this project has identified three inter-related objectives:

    (1) To assess EU civilian capabilities for external conflict prevention and peace building;
    (2) To identify and document lessons learned and best practices in EU conflict prevention and peacebuilding;
    (3) To enhance future policy practice and research on EU conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

The project will gather, synthesise, further develop and disseminate knowledge and learning on civilian conflict prevention and peacebuilding. This will be done through, inter alia, the development of a catalogue of lessons learned and best practices reports, the creation of an expert network, engagement through social media, and the organisation of dissemination events in different formats in this area.

Start date: 2015-12-01
End date: 2018-12-01
Total cost: EUR 1.714.975
EU contribution: EUR 1.714.975
Project coordinator: University of Bristol, United Kingdom

Privacy.Us – Privacy and Usabiliy
The PRIVACY.US innovative training network will train thirteen creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early stage researchers (ESRs) to be able to reason, design and develop innovative solutions to questions related to the protection of citizens’ privacy, considering the multidisciplinary and intersectoral aspects of the issue. ESRs will be trained to face both current and future challenges in the area of privacy and usability. PRIVACY.US offers a combination of research-related and transferable competence skills that will enhance the career perspectives of the ESRs in both the academic and non-academic sectors.

The ESRs will receive comprehensive training and engage in intersectoral collaboration. Through this collaborative effort, the project will make a significant contribution and impact to the ESRs future careers. It will also contribute to shaping future privacy policies and practices in Europe and will significantly advance the state of the art in privacy and usability research.

Start date: 2015-12-01
End date: 2019-12-01
Total cost: EUR 3.376.517
EU contribution: EUR 3.376.517
Project coordinator: Karlstads Universitet, Sweden

SCENT – Hybrid Gels for Rapid Microbial Detection
Antimicrobial resistant bacteria are a global threat spreading at an alarming pace. They cause over 25,000 annual deaths in the EU, and represent an economic burden exceeding EUR 1.5 billion a year. Current methods for microbial detection in clinical settings take about 24-36 h, but for slow-growing bacteria, as those causing tuberculosis, it can take more than a week. Early-detection and confinement of the infected individuals are the only ways to provide adequate therapy and control infection spread. Thus, tools for rapid identification of bacterial infections are greatly needed.

The analysis of microbial volatile metabolites is an area of increasing interest in diagnostics. Recent works demonstrate that fast microbial identification is possible with chemical nose sensors. These sensors usually present limited stability and selectivity, and require aggressive conditions during processing and operation. Bioinspired nose sensors employing biological olfactory receptors are an alternative. Unfortunately, their complexity and low stability are a limitation.

This project is intended to further explore gels potential to advance the field of odour detection, while providing new tools for the scientific community. It will focus specifically in fast microbial detection. To accomplish this, it is proposed to 1) build libraries of hybrid gels with semi-selective and selective properties, 2) generate odorant specific peptides mimicking olfactory receptors, 3) fully characterise the gels, 4) assemble artificial noses for analysis of microbial volatiles, 5) create databases with organism-specific signal signatures, 6) identify pathogenic bacteria, including those with acquired antimicrobial-resistances.

Start date: 2015-12-01
End date: 2020-11-30
Total cost: EUR 1.500.000
EU contribution: EUR 1.500.000
Project coordinator: Nova id FCT – Associacao para a Inovacao e Desenvolvimento da FCT, Portugal

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