With a budget approaching 80 billion euro, Horizon 2020 is the EU’s most extensive research and innovation programme ever. One difference compared with the previous Seventh Framework Programme is a broader focus that includes industrial research and challenges to the security of Europe and its citizens. Something that FOI Engineering Director Sören Jägerhök welcomes.
“FOI has been built up on the basis of supporting the Swedish authorities and developing solutions for the Swedish Armed Forces so this perspective is close to our hearts. So we hope that this will lead to even greater breakthroughs in this field”.
In the Seventh Framework Programme FOI has been very successful both in the extent of allocations granted and the amount of funding provided by the EU. This has meant that FOI ranks tenth on the list of the most successful Swedish participants in the Framework Programme. Applications for Horizon 2020 include projects for efficient crisis management in the event of natural disasters and the detection of explosive substances. In the latter case, the technology includes Raman spectroscopy in which a laser is used to illuminate surfaces in order to detect and classify minute traces of suspicious substances through analysis of the reflected light.
“We are constantly striving to improve the technology in order to allow the detection of still more minute traces more rapidly and under more difficult conditions,” adds Sören Jägerhök.
In another project use is made of drones, unmanned aerial vehicles, to enable the safety of large gatherings in urban areas to be improved. By looking for unusual or suspicious behaviour, the operators are quickly able to detect possible threats.
A notable feature shared by all FOI’s applications is the regard paid to the ethical and legal dimensions.
“Ethical considerations have become increasingly important, both in society as a whole and especially from an EU perspective where regard has to be paid to such ethical aspects as personal integrity,” says Sören Jägerhök.