iKNOW ERA Toolkit

Applications of Wild Cards and Weak Signals to the Grand Challenges & Thematic Priorities of the European Research Area

Funded by Directorate-General for Research and Innovation Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities 


Display Wild Cards & Weak Signals

Security has a total budget of € 1.4 billion. Security research is an important building block for supporting European freedom, security and justice. It contributes to developing technologies and capabilities in support of other European Community policies in areas such as transport, civil protection, energy, environment and health.

Emphasis is given to:

1. Increasing the security of citizens - technology solutions for civil protection, bio-security, protection against crime and terrorism;

2. Increasing the security of infrastructures and utilities - examining and securing infrastructures in areas such as ICT, transport, energy and services in the financial and administrative domain;

3. Intelligent surveillance and border security - technologies, equipment, tools and methods for protecting Europe's border controls such as land and coastal borders;

4. Restoring security and safety in case of crisis - technologies and communication, coordination in support of civil, humanitarian and rescue tasks;

5. Improving security systems integration, interconnectivity and interoperability - information gathering for civil security, protection of confidentiality and traceability of transactions;

6. Security and society - socio-economic, political and cultural aspects of security, ethics and values, acceptance of security solutions, social environment and perceptions of security;

7. Security research coordination and structuring - coordination between European and international security research efforts in the areas of civil, security and defence research

Emerging themes and issues

Security is a challenging area, not least because even if we restrict ourselves to threats to security occasioned by direct human agency, these threats can include attacks on key infrastructures (and even on ecosystems or possibly environmental phenomena such as earthquakes). The threats might be expressed via traditional military institutions, or though terrorist initiatives of a highly organised or much more “spontaneous” kind.  They may involve the use of conventional or new weapons (including weapons of mass destruction), or turn civil technologies to aggressive use.  This may well mean that the government and private sector bodies that have been primarily engaged in dealing with defence issues and conventional emergency management may continue – ten years after 9/11 – to be unsuited for dealing wiuth many of these challenges.  Not least, there may be a shortage of relevant wild card thinking, despite the highly sophisticated war gaming and risk analysis capacities of such bodies. 

Click on the Display Wild Cards / Weak Signals button above to see selected issues associated to this theme.