Human factors, and social, societal, and organisational aspects of border and external security

Border and external security may depend on a variety of human factors, and social and societal issues including gender. The adoption of appropriate organisational measures and the deeper understanding of how novel technologies and social media impact border control are required. One main challenge is to manage the flow of travellers and goods arriving at our external borders, while at the same time tackling irregular migration and enhancing our internal security. Any novel technology or organisational measure will need to be accepted by the European citizens. For the purpose of this topic, 'migration' does not refer to persons enjoying the right of free movement under Article 21 TFUE and secondary legislation (i.e. Union citizens and their family members, independently of their nationality).


Proposals (which should take into account already existing tools) are invited to address related research and innovation issues, each under only one of the following sub-topics:

  • Sub-topic 1: [2018] Detecting security threats possibly resulting from certain perceptions abroad, that deviate from the reality of the EU

Research should investigate how to better detect and understand how the EU is perceived in countries abroad by analysing e.g. social media data, how such perception could possibly lead to threats and security issues on its citizens and territories, and how such perceptions can be avoided or even actively and effectively counteracted through various measures. In line with the objectives of the Union's strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation according to the current rules of participation is encouraged.

  • Sub-topic 2: [2019] Modelling, predicting, and dealing with migration flows to avoid tensions and violence

Better modelling and predicting migration flows, based on a sound analysis and taking into account gender aspects, is required for high-level strategic decision-making, to plan and implement operational activities. For the management of the migratory flow, including relocations within the EU, it is necessary to map public sentiment, including perceptions of migration, by analysing data available from many different governmental or public sources, and by developing socio-economic indicators of integration strategies. Proposals should be solution-oriented and propose convincingly how to better deal with such flows and to reduce risks of tensions and violence among migrants and European citizens.

  • Sub-topic 3: [2020] Developing indicators of threats at the EU external borders on the basis of sound risk and vulnerability assessment methodologies
  • Sub-topic: [2018-2019] Open

Proposals addressing other issues relevant to this challenge, based on a sound rationale, and supported by a large number of relevant practitioners are invited to apply under this sub-topic (see eligibility and admissibility conditions.)

Proposals should lead to solutions developed, tested and validated in compliance with European societal values, fundamental rights (including gender equality) and applicable legislation including in the area of free movement of persons, privacy and protection of personal data. Societal aspects (e.g. perception of security, possible side effects of technological solutions, societal resilience) have to be analysed in a comprehensive and thorough manner with a view to facilitating future acceptance of such solutions.

Proposals should pursue truly innovative approaches. They should be submitted by consortia also involving civil society organisations. Synergies are encouraged with the work for the knowledge centre on migration and demography set up by the Commission.

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

Expected Impact

  • Knowledge and evidence-based support to policy developments, with fitness for purpose validated by policy-makers and by practitioners and in cooperation with civil-society organisations in the Member States, the Associated Countries, and abroad where appropriate.
  • Methods to better manage the complexity (from reducing the incentives for irregular migration, to the analysis and sharing of best practices, and towards an effective application of common rules…) of the issues, with fitness for purpose validated by practitioners and civil-society organisations.
  • Advances through the cross-fertilisation of concepts resulting from the collision of different ways of thinking and of different approaches developed by various partners in the proposals.

Delegation Exception Footnote

It is expected that this topic will continue in 2020.

Cross-cutting Priorities

Socio-economic science and humanities

Application date
Humanities : History, Anthropology & Ethnology
Social sciences : Demography, Environmental Sciences, Gender studies, Identities, gender and sexuality, Geography, International Relations, Law, Pedagogic & Education Research, Political science, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences, Sociology