Cybersecurity preparedness - cyber range, simulation and economics

The digital infrastructure, upon which other sectors, businesses and society at large critically depend, must be resilient and trustworthy, and must remain secure despite the escalating cyber-threats. New technologies and their novel combinations require innovative ways to implement security measures and to make new security-related assumptions, identifying "zero-day" or potential unknown vulnerabilities, forecasting new threats (plus their cascading effects) and emerging attacks, and managing cyber risks.

Many organisations are unable to forecast and/or estimate the impacts of a cyber-risk. This results often in insufficient and/or irrelevant investments to ensure a more cyber secure environment. In addition, cybersecurity experts and professionals need to continuously adapt their expertise to a constantly evolving landscape with increasingly sophisticated and novel cyber-attacks, a widening surface of exposed ICT systems and services and a set of relevant changing legislation. In a connected EU society, there is an urgent need for highly competent cybersecurity professionals, and security experts need to be in a constant learning process, to match the quick rate of evolution of the cyber threats, attacks and vulnerabilities.

Cybersecurity skills need to be continuously advanced at all levels (e.g. security officers, operators, developers, integrators, administrators, end users) in order to enable cybersecurity, digital privacy and personal data protection within the EU Digital Single Market.


As a continuation of topic DS-07-2017 "Addressing advanced cyber security threats and threat actors", where cyber range is partially addressed, proposals are called to deliver extended capabilities of cyber ranges (e.g. piloting of networked cyber-ranges; extension of the cyber-ranges network, adding domain specificities like cyber range for IoT and/or for Industrial Control Systems such as SCADA).

The proposals should develop, test and validate highly customizable dynamic simulators serving as knowledge-based platforms accompanied with mechanisms for real time interactions and information sharing, feedback loops, developments and adjustments of exercises. These simulation platforms will help professionals responsible for cybersecurity in organizations to collaboratively improve their ability in handling and forecasting security incidents, complex attacks and propagated vulnerabilities, based upon targeted scenarios and exercises. Proposals are encouraged to bring shared approaches to express and transform user needs into actual experiments and cyber exercises (e.g. capture-the-flag) and to develop/integrate/parameterise appropriate tools and methods for supporting current and future generated evidence-based simulation scenarios. The proposed cyber range model should be validated across one critical economic sector, involving as many as possible relevant stakeholders from its supply chain. Proposals should consider the specific needs of end-users, private and public security end-users alike. Proposals are encouraged to include public security end-users and/or private end-users, and to create operational links to the Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) / Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) network across the EU.

Proposals should also develop, test and validate operational ways to continuously analyse the information collected by CERTs and/or CSIRTs and all relevant cybersecurity data. This analysis should feed their risk analysis models (which need to comply with relevant standards e.g. ISO27001, ISO27005 and relevant EU cybersecurity legislation) in order to derive appropriate econometric models that can be used by public/private organisations/companies (e.g. insurance companies, SMEs, governmental bodies). These econometric models should assist them to select realistic, affordable baseline cybersecurity measures that will improve their security, resilience and sustainability, and should also help in identifying the cost and time to recover following a cyber-attack.

In addition, the proposals should show that the econometric models contribute to: (i) identifying affordable security controls that are needed to protect valuable organization assets, (ii) promoting the development of cyber insurance and liability policies/contracts and (iii) fostering service level agreements addressing security, privacy and personal data protection requirements and policies. Proposals should bring innovative solutions to enforce and encourage accountability of security as a shared responsibility.

Proposals should also include (but should not be limited to) the delivery of solutions for specific social aspects of digital security related to training, in particular practical, operational and hands-on training, including: (i) increasing the dynamics of the training and awareness methods, to match/exceed the same rate of evolution of the cyber attackers, that is to say new methods of awareness/training offering more qualification tracks to fully and efficiently integrate ICT security workers and employers in the European e-Skills market; and (ii) integrating awareness into the eco-system of humans, competences, services and solutions which are able to rapidly adapt to the evolutions of cyber-attackers or even surpass them.

Participation of SMEs is strongly encouraged.

The outcome of the proposal is expected to lead to development up to Technology Readiness level (TRL) 7; please see Annex G of the General Annexes.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 5 and 6 million would allow the specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Projects should also foresee activities and envisage resources for clustering with other projects funded under this topic and with other relevant projects in the field funded by H2020.

Expected Impact


  • Professionals better prepared to detect, block and mitigate emerging cyberattacks;
  • End-users of cybersecurity products and services more involved into expressing actual needs to developers/vendors, through cyber range and simulation;
  • More organized collaboration between a network of cyber ranges and Europe-wide initiatives such as the CERTs/CSIRTs cooperation network of the NIS directive.
  • Improved risks analysis models to be used by public/private organisations, through the use of economics for evidence-based cybersecurity and data privacy;
  • Appropriate econometric models able to learn from cyber incident data on a wide scale;
  • Improved knowledge on how organisations can make the right investment to secure their operations against cyber-attacks (e.g. where they result in personal data breaches), using economics for evidence-based cybersecurity and data privacy;

Medium and long term:

  • Improved resilience of ICT systems/infrastructures and reduced time and cost in infrastructures for training users;
  • EU member states better prepared to face malware campaigns and to take down malicious infrastructures; improved EU-skills market;
  • Better preparedness to put in place cybersecurity measures and identify the necessary resources for recovering after a cyber-attack;
  • Improved security, resilience and sustainability of organisations.

Cross-cutting Priorities

  • Socio-economic science and humanities
  • Contractual Public-Private Partnerships (cPPPs)
  • Cybersecurity
Application date
Social sciences : Management and Public administration, Economy, Law
Other : Computer science