It is a well-known fact that natural disasters, terrorism, organised crime and major accidents are ignorant of national borders. So it is only logical that we should seek possibilities at the European and international level for sharing ideas about how public security can be guaranteed, rather than debating the subject in the national arena only. In this respect, Austria, France, India, Israel and the US are key partners. Germany’s cooperation with other countries is about harnessing the various potential synergies to shape research and innovation so as to improve security for the public and grasp the opportunities presented by international markets.
In 2009, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of civil security research, with the aim of pooling efforts and intensifying research activities. The agreement set out to open up the two countries' security research programmes to each other. By collaborating in this way and taking a more international approach to security research in general, France and Germany are seeking to strengthen peoples security with innovative solutions.
Building on this successful Franco-German partnership the BMBF and the ANR published a coordinated call for proposals in the field of “Protection of Critical Infrastructures”. This call takes into account that in Germany as well as in France energy, water and transport infrastructures are a vital backbone for society and the economy. These critical infrastructures form a dense grid within, and partially between, both countries and may be closely interconnected. Citizens and businesses rely on these infrastructures, on their smooth operation and dependability. Various new challenges arise for the effective protection of critical infrastructures. The increasing interconnections as well as the opposite trend of organising installations in a more decentralized way lead both to new risks and vulnerabilities. This is a focal field for civil security research in Germany and France, and also within the European context.
Germany and India’s joint education and research activities go back more than 60 years. It was this long relationship that prompted Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and India‘s Department of Science and Technology (DST) to grant funding for research conducted jointly by the two countries.
At the second Indo-German intergovernmental consultations in Berlin on 11 April 2013, Federal Minister Johanna Wanka (BMBF) and her Indian counterpart, Jaipal Reddy (DST), signed a joint declaration of intent to cooperate in civil security research (PDF-file). The aim is to raise the level of civil security for citizens in the two countries by developing innovative solutions. The cooperation will primarily deal with crisis management in natural disasters, protection and rescuing of human beings, urban security and protection against the spread of infectious diseases.
Israel and Germany have been conducting research together for 50 years, in a solid collaboration that has significantly benefited the two countries’ understanding of each other. Working with a partner such as Israel can be an important source of inspiration, especially when it comes to security research and Israel’s long experience of handling public security risks.
The bilateral cooperation programmes supply funding for projects that involve research and industry partners from both countries and, in the area of civil security research, end users such as the fire brigade, police force, disaster management organisations and critical infrastructure operators.
German-Israeli research projects
In April 2013, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and Austria’s Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) signed a civil security research agreement. Its aim is to open up the BMBF’s call for proposals for projects in the “Civil security – Protection against organised crime” area to Austrian partners and the BMVIT’s “KIRAS security research – Autumn 2013/14” call for proposals to German partners. By cooperating in this manner and taking an international approach to civil security research, Austria and Germany are seeking to increase security both in their own countries and in Europe as a whole.
The German-Austrian programme grants funding for projects that involve industry and research partners (including partners from the humanities, social sciences and cultural sciences) plus end users from both countries. The German partners submit their applications in Germany, the Austrian partners in Austria. The objective is to prevent and reduce the systematic perpetration of criminal offences in the area of organised crime, which are of major significance individually or as a whole, in both countries. If both sides’ assessment of the application is positive, the project partners receive funding concurrently through the respective programme.
The intergovernmental agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America on cooperation in the field of civil security research, submitted by Federal Research Minister Annette Schavan, was approved by the Federal Cabinet on 11 February 2009. It was signed by Minister Schavan and US Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, on 16 March of the same year.
The agreement paves the way for cooperation with the US in the important field of civil security research. The aim of this joint research is to draw on shared strengths in research and technology to develop innovative civil security solutions in compliance with today’s and tomorrow’s standards.
Information on the German-US VASA project can be found here (only available in German).