In a world facing the growing risk of man-made and natural disasters resulting from increasingly frequent and severe natural, industrial and man-made hazards, the security of citizens, infrastructure and assets has become a high priority in the European Union. Strengthening capacities in disaster risk and crisis management and improving resilience in CBRN-E (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive) and natural and man-made disaster management represent key EU policy and research challenges.
The overall EU security policy framework covers many different sectors, which implies needs for coordination among various communities. The complexity of policies, the high number of research projects, the disconnect between research and implementation, the challenges involved in bringing innovative tools and solutions to the market, and the lack of "interfacing" mechanisms make it difficult to communicate and share knowledge effectively and efficiently.
To improve this situation, the European Commission is supporting the development of a “Community of Users” in the EU to reduce the current fragmentation in security research and facilitate information exchanges among and between policy-makers, research, industry (including SMEs), practitioners (first responders, civil protection units etc.), and the general public.
The Community of Users has five key objectives:
- Ensuring that research programming (particularly H2020) takes account of practitioners' needs, thereby promoting research results that are relevant to them
- Identifying the most promising tools and methods (including those developed in FP7 and H2020 projects) that have the potential to be taken up by practitioners
- Support the competitiveness of EU industry by enhancing the market for research results
- Ensuring that practitioners' expertise is available to policy makers, thereby facilitating the policy-making process
- Facilitating the implementation of policy.