Security research: Where do we go from here?


Law enforcement bodies around the globe are facing a changing world, bringing both opportunities and challenges that require rethinking the capabilities needed to perform their missions. Policymakers, experts, industry and government representatives gathered this week in Brussels for a security research event organised by the European Commission to discuss current and upcoming challenges in Europe.

The theme of this year’s meeting was “Societal transformations, climate change and digitalisation – a new paradigm of Security Research?”, which echoed in many live debates, cutting-edge demos, and interactive networking sessions. The discussions centred around challenges stemming from global megatrends, which are visibly shifting the ground for security in the European Union.

Deputy Executive Director for Standing Corps, Aija Kalnaja, who represented Frontex at the gathering, emphasised that innovative technologies can strengthen the Schengen area, make the EU’s external borders more resilient, and help respond to security threats.

In today’s rapidly changing world, adapting to changes, driving innovation, and developing new capabilities is crucial. Frontex plays an important role in ensuring that the results of security research are turned into tools that can be used in the operational field, “said Kalnaja.

The speakers also discussed long- and short-term impacts of digitalisation, societal transformations, and climate change on the security landscape and the role security research should play here. They also described some of the global, EU and national policies, adding new perspective to the panel discussion.

Olivier Onidi, Deputy Director-General for Security (DG-HOME) delivered the closing speech, highlighting the central role of the Frontex capability planning in guiding the efforts of research and innovation for border management.

Alongside the discussions, an exhibition illustrated the main theme of the event with almost 50 booths presenting selected security research projects funded by the EU programmes, as well booths of the European Commission, the agencies from the Justice and Home Affairs Network, and national security research activities. Frontex representatives, including two EU Border Guard officers, were available during the event to present and answer questions about the agency’s research and innovation activities.