The European border and coast guard agency, Frontex, has announced that its Research Grants Programme – a new collaborative funding program that intends to increase the impact of technological research in border management – will be launched in December. The agency aims to support small-scale research projects of non-profit research organizations and academic institutions operating in EU Member States and Schengen Associated Countries.
This initiative is part of the Frontex Research and Innovation commitment to continuously seek engagement with cross-sectorial research partners who play an important role in developing novel technological solutions for the advancement of border security. Research provided by both non-profit organizations and academia are essential in developing technologies that serve the interest of society. The program is a step towards encouraging and facilitating the dialogue with these institutions and increasing the impact of their applied research activities.
The first call for proposals on novel technologies for border management (open theme) will soon be published under the program. It has three specific objectives:
- Scouting – discover cutting-edge R&I technologies available in the EU’s non-profit academic and research organizations’ ecosystem, which have the potential to address current operational border management challenges and respond to emerging threats.
- Guidance – develop innovative technological solutions by encouraging non-profit EU R&I actors to shape their small-scale technological research products so that they satisfy the operational requirements of the European border and coast guard (EBCG) community.
- Scale-up – support the transition of current small-scale R&I in fields of relevance for border security to higher technology readiness levels, motivating the realization of experimental proof-of-concepts and prototypes, as well as validations and demonstrations in relevant environments.
Although the theme of the call will be open (i.e. there will be no restrictions on the research theme that can be proposed by the applicants), at least one of the following seven thematic categories (which are representative of the typical technologies relevant to EBCG) shall be targeted by the research projects funded under this call:
- Technologies for border checks,
- Technologies for border surveillance and situational awareness,
- Technologies for information and communication management and data analytics,
- Simulation tools,
- Technologies for standing corps and logistic support,
- Advanced technologies for environmentally sustainable systems and operations (cross-cutting thematic category),
- Disruptive, emerging and key enabling technologies (cross-cutting thematic category).
An overall budget of EUR 250,000 has been allocated for this call.
Eligible entities will be invited to submit proposals for research projects lasting between six and 12 months and requesting Frontex a co-funding not exceeding EUR 60,000, which can cover up to 90% of the eligible project’s direct costs. Applications will be welcome from both single entities and consortia of up to four co-applicants and should reach Frontex no later than Sunday, March 5, 2023 12:00 (Central European Time). A simplified funding scheme with minimum administrative burden, based on costs declared by the beneficiaries on the basis of lump sums, will be made available to the projects awarded by Frontex.
This call for proposals and all its annexes (including the application forms) will be available for downloading on the Frontex webpage.