“The future of Intelligence according to Ing. Alessandro Zanasi”

We are excited to share an interview to Ing. Alessandro Zanasi carried out by the NOTIONES Project.

In this interview, the Z&P President talks about our role and experience in NOTIONES, our involvement in other European research and innovation projects, and our advice and vision for the future of intelligence and security technologies.

For the complete intervew: https://www.notiones.eu/2023/12/12/interview-with-zanasi-partners/

Giorgi, G., Cristofori, D., Zanasi, A. (2021). The European Commission contribution to cybersecurity through the ECHO project

Our paper “The European Commission contribution to cybersecurity through the ECHO project” has been published in IEEE Xplore, after being presented at the 2021 14th CMI International Conference – Critical ICT Infrastructures and Platforms (CMI).


This paper introduces the work carried out within the project ECHO (European network of Cybersecurity centres and competence Hub for innovation and Operations), one of the four pilot projects financed under the H2020 framework aiming to connect and share knowledge across multiple domains, while building a common cybersecurity strategy for Europe, inside the framework of the European Cybersecurity Competence Center located in Bucharest.


The question we tried to answer to is: what can EU countries do to strengthen the Union’s cyber defence and ensure a secure cybersecurity ecosystem that would protect citizens, economy and infrastructures from cyber-attacks? We believe that the first step is to assure that EU citizens are aware of these risks and are ready to fight them. To this purpose, ECHO project develops:

  1. a marketplace of multi-sector services coming from multiple cyber ranges, the E-FCR (ECHO Federated Cyber Range), to be applied in several areas (e.g. Healthcare),
  2. a distributed platform, the E-EWS (ECHO Early Warning System), for information sharing across organizational boundaries that provides companies with a common operational cyber threat situation picture tailored for different types of users (from technical cyber experts to management executives).


This paper gives an overview of the architecture of the abovementioned solutions, highlighting why they could become paramount for a standardised cybersecurity training at European and international levels.



pop AI first online workshop on AI in support of Civil Security: mapping functionalities and controversies



On 15th March 2022, pop AI project has organised its first online workshop (webinar) presenting the preliminary findings regarding AI functionalities in support of Civil Security and controversies mapping.


pop AI project is a 24-month Coordination and Support Action (CSA) funded by Horizon 2020 and coordinated by the National for Scientific Research Demokritos (NCSRD), based in Athens. The core vision of the project is to boost trust in AI by increasing awareness and current social engagement, consolidating distinct spheres of knowledge, and delivering a unified European view and recommendations, creating an ecosystem and the structural basis for a sustainable and inclusive European AI hub for Law Enforcement. Among key results, pop AI will provide the pandect of recommendations for the ethical use of AI by LEAs together with short-term foresight scenarios on AI ethics controversies and a long-term roadmap for 2040 with risks, mitigation and policy strategies to get there.


The objectives of the workshop were (i) to present and discuss the preliminary findings of the project (ii) discuss on AI scenario prioritisation, complementarity and synergies within the SU-AI cluster (ALIGNER, pop AI and STARLIGHT) and (iii) to provide entry to the platform for an inclusive stakeholders’ community engagement around the ethical development and application of AI in LEAs. The workshop included 50 attendees including 10 practitioners from Law Enforcement Authorities (20%) and a 40% participation from external experts: members of the pop AI Stakeholder Advisory Board, EC Officers, representatives from the sibling projects, ALIGNER and STARLIGHT as well as other projects of the extended AI research cluster.


In the context of pop AI results this first webinar illustrated the work carried out within two different tasks: the taxonomy of AI functionalities in the security domain (led by NCSRD), and the mapping of on controversy ecosystem of AI application in civil security domain (led by Trilateral Research Enterprise).


The first part of the webinar and after a short pop AI project overview by the Coordinator, provided an overview of the use of AI in different areas of application in civil security in Europe namely, i) crime prevention, ii) crime investigation, iii) cyber operations, iv) migration, asylum and border control, and v) administration of justice. Controversial cases were presented to discuss and identify the relevant legal, ethical, social and organisational issues, the potentials and the concerns of AI application in these areas as well as the stakeholders involved from the development and employment to the policy-making of the technologies; including civil society organizations, local and national authorities, MEPs. The discussion of the findings and among the partners showed that there is a need for multi-disciplinary collaboration to address issues that emerge from diverse levels; technological limitations (i.e. poor design decisions, biases in datasets), problematic employment of technology (i.e. lack of training), lack of policies and transparency at an organizational level and lack of unified and harmonized legal frameworks which the Artificial Intelligence Act aims to cover. This exercise led to the mapping of the AI innovation in civil security controversy ecosystem allowing the identification and inclusion of stakeholders beyond innovators and technologists.


The second part of the webinar explained the theoretical approach for building a taxonomy on AI-related LEAs functionalities. This activity is of outmost importance to guide upcoming activities in the project (e.g.  the definition of a practical Ethics toolbox for the use of AI by LEAs, as well as the delivery of roadmaps and future scenarios) but also to serve as a common ground to align discussions and work with the sibling projects. The proposed approach is to catalogue the AI technologies based on their functionalities (e.g. recognition, communication, data-analytics, surveillance) and, for each of them, identify the related ethical and legal issues, technological maturity level and relation with other functionalities.


In the third session, the floor was given to the representatives of sibling projects ALIGNER and STARLIGHT, which address topics of identified synergy and complementarity and are engaged in defining research roadmaps and outlining possible pilot or future scenarios for the use of AI technologies in LEAs activities.


Within the ALIGNER project, work began in October 2021 on the development of an ‘archetypical scenario’ and the associated framework for the forthcoming scenario narratives. This led to the recognition that AI technology in the context of policing and law enforcement has a dual nature, where it is both a crime and security threat and yet it is also utilised in the service of police and law enforcement agencies (P&LEA). From the perspective of ALIGNER scenarios, there is a need for them to reflect this duality and hence ALIGNER will produce ‘AI crime and security threat scenarios’ and ‘P&LEA AI use-case scenarios’. A framework to support the scenario narratives for both of these types has been developed from two typologies based on the large (and increasing) number of examples and case studies as they come to light. It is envisaged that this process of discovery will continue throughout the life of the project, generating insights and modifications that can in turn be incorporated into the iterations of the ALIGNER research roadmap document.

During ALIGNER session, there were a lot of synergies identified with pop AI. Both look at ethical aspects of the use of AI by law enforcement, both will develop scenarios for the use of AI by law enforcement agencies and police, and both will categorize AI technologies. Both projects have engaged with each other to find the specific synergies within these areas and explore in more detail how to leverage each other’s results. For example, while the technology watch approach by ALIGNER looks in detail at a limited selection of relevant AI technologies, pop AI will provide an exhaustive taxonomy mapping of AI functionalities. These approaches can and will build on each other. Similarly, ALIGNER the taxonomy of AI support crime might be relevant for pop AI. Although, the initial version of the ALIGNER taxonomy is only planned for release in September 2023, timeline discrepancies are already well identified and early engagement is planned between the projects.


Regarding the use of scenarios, the workshop has made clear that the technological and ‘business’ aspects of AI technologies need to be assessed in a cross-disciplinary approach, including the societal implications of AI (mis)use. This is identified as another area of exchange between pop AI and ALIGNER.


The workshop concluded with the STARLIGHT session. The project’s main ambitions include: (i) implementing human-centric AI based solutions with a coherent data strategy for the safety and security of our society and (ii) Building a community that can promote a human-centric approach to AI for security that is: responsible, explainable, trustworthy and accountable.

Early draft of Use Cases was presented and an alignment discussion within the cluster of SU-AI projects took place. The following tasks of the project were identified and discussed in the context of synergy with pop AI: Privacy & Security by design – Data Handling Support and Comparative Study on Data Access; Ethics by Design – Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Algorithmic Bias; LEAs Acceptance: Ethical and Socio-Economic Aspects; Fundamental Rights, Law and Security Research; Impact Assessment Cycle. Finally, STARLIGHT explained the project’s Ethical and Legal Observatory (ELO) platform and a timeline was discussed for follow-up actions and participation to the next ELO meeting.


The webinar was conducted in the spirit of fruitful cooperation and allowed gathering food for thought for pop AI partners and external experts while showing opportunities for further joint activities with the other sibling projects and their networks.




Summary compiled by pop AI [Paola Fratantoni, Dimitris Kyriazanos and Pinelopi Troullinou] with contributions from ALIGNER (Lindsay Clutterbuck and Daniel Lückerath) and STARLIGHT (Dieter Decraene)

pop AI, ALIGNER and STARLIGHT are funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union for Research and Innovation. GA number: 101022001, 101020574 and 101021797 respectively.

SILVANUS: the new European Green Deal project launched for wildfire management, forest resilience and climate change

Funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Green Deal program and coordinated by Università Telematica Pegaso, SILVANUS project includes 49 partners from the European Union, Brazil, Indonesia, and Australia, with a budget of €23 million for a period of 42 months.

The SILVANUS project brings together a large consortium of interdisciplinary experts from four continents to combat the threat of forest fires and improve forest resilience against climate change.

The key output of the project is the release of a climate resilient forest management platform to prevent and suppress forest fire. SILVANUS relies on environmental, technical and social sciences experts to support regional and national authorities responsible for wildfire management in their respective countries. SILVANUS scientists and research engineers will aid the civil protection authorities to efficiently monitor forest resources, to evaluate biodiversity, to generate more accurate fire risk indicators, and promote safety regulations among the local population affected by wildfire through awareness campaigns.


What makes SILVANUS innovative?

In the climate crisis era, where forest fires are becoming more dangerous and more frequent, SILVANUS aims to offer a new technological solution to improve the preparedness and prevention of wildfire ignition. This will be achieved through the integration of big-data processing framework capable of analysing various data sources such as climate models, weather data, and earth observation tools, leading to the development of intelligent fire ignition models. These models will be furthermore complemented with the use of in-situ environmental sensors, CCTV and multi-spectral imaging solutions to develop an advanced detection and response toolkit. SILVANUS will also introduce sensor technologies that use inventive wireless communication infrastructure through the coordination of unmanned aerial vehicles and automated ground robots for coordinating the response among first fighters.

The important aspect of the project is to consider the expertise and experience of firefighters and the local residents who are faced every year with the dangers of devastating wildfires. SILVANUS will launch a wide-reaching stakeholder engagement programme in forest regions to assess fire risk indicators, to develop training methodology for firefighters, to use for VR and AR training toolkits, and to simulate real-world environments and life-saving scenarios. Awareness campaigns will include the implementation of mobile application for citizen engagement, along with automated notifications on safety practices.


Pilot implementation and long-term impacts

The SILVANUS project innovations will be systematically deployed and demonstrated across eight EU Member States regions (France, Italy, Slovakia, Greece, Czechia, Portugal, Croatia, and Romania). Additional demonstrations will also be carried out across Indonesia, Brazil, and Australia.

To ensure that the results of SILVANUS have a long-term impact, the project will include policy recommendations on forest governance, soil rehabilitation strategy recommendation, and restoration roadmap services for natural resources.

For the duration of its activities and beyond, SILVANUS will focus on all three components of fire suppression: prevention and preparedness, detection and response, restoration and adaptation.

The SILVANUS project will kick off with a hybrid meeting in Naples, Italy, scheduled on the 13th and 14th of December 2021. Please stay tuned for further updates on the project progress.

Additional info at: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101037247


Università Telematica Pegaso (Pegaso Telematic University), Zanasi&Partners, INTRASOFT International SA, Thales, Fincons Spa, Atos IT Solutions and Services Iberia SL, Dell Technologies, Software Imagination & Vision SRL, CNET Centre for New Energy Technologies SA, AdP Valor – Serviços Ambientais, S.A.,  Terraprima – Serviços Ambientais Sociedade Unipessoal LDA,  3MON, s.r.o., Catalink Limited, Synthesis Center for Research and Education Limited, Expert.AI SpA, ITTI Sp. z o.o., Venaka Treleaf GbR, Massive Dynamic Sweden AB, Fondazione Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change), EXUS Software Monoprosopi Etairia Periorismenis Evthinis, RiniGARD d.o.o., Micro Digital d.o.o., Politechnika Warszawska (Warsaw University of Technology), Högskolan I Borås (University of Borås), Geoponiko Panepistimio Athinon (Agricultural University of Athens), Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) – Information Technologies Institute, Panepistimio Thessalias (University of Thessaly), Associação do Instituto Superior Técnico Para a Investigação e Desenvolvimento (IST-ID), Veleučilište Velika Gorica (University of Applied Sciences Velika Gorica), Ústav Informatiky Slovenska Akademia VIED (Insitute of Informatics – Slovak Academy of Sciences), Pompiers de l’urgence Internationale (PUI France), The Main School of Fire Service Poland, Agenzia regionale Strategica per lo Sviluppo Ecosostenibile del Territorio (Regional Strategic Agency for the Eco-sustainable Development of the Territory), LETS Italia SRLS, Parco Naturale Regionale di Tepilora (Regional Natural Park of Tepilora), Fundația Pentru SMURD (SMURD Foundation), Asociația Forestierilor din România (Romainan Forestry Association – ASFOR), Kentro Meleton Asfaleias (Center for Security Studies – KEMEA), Elliniki Omada Diasosis Somateio (Hellenic Rescue Team – HRT), Aristotelio Panepistimio Thessalonikis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Ospedale Israelitico (Jewish Hospital Rome), Region of Sterea Ellada (Central Greece), Hasicsky zachranny sbor Moravskoslezskeho kraje (Fire Rescue Brigade of Moravian-Silesian Region), Hrvatska vatrogasna zajednica (Croatian Firefighting Community), Technická Univerzita vo Zvolene (Technical University in Zvolen), Občianske Združenie Plameň Badín (Plamen), Yayasan AMIKOM Yogyakarta (University of AMIKOM Yogyakarta), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)

SILVANUS proposal has been funded by the EC!

Zanasi & Partners is thrilled to announce the victory of SILVANUS proposal (Integrated Technological and Information Platform for Wildfire Management) consolidating once again the presence of Z&P in Horizon 2020 projects. The project will be techno-scientifically coordinated by Zanasi & Partners (Z&P) and administratively coordinated by Università Telematica Pegaso (PEG). Among the 11 on-site demonstration activities also a pilot organized in Amazonian forest by Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ, Z&P partner).


Nowadays it is clear that the current wildfire management has to be improved, as shown by the increase in number and intensity of recent wildfire events, like the Black Summer in Australia (2020) and the 2020 California bushfire events, which dealt incredible damage both at economic and environmental levels. The SILVANUS project aims to enhance the current wildfire management by developing an AI-based platform for an environmentally-sustainable and climate-resilient forest management in consultation with relevant stakeholders. The platform will have its efficiency demonstrated across 8 EU and 3 non-EU sites (namely Brazil, Indonesia and Australia) and will be based on technical innovations (e.g. AI techniques to coordinate swarms of UAVs and UGVs) that will be adopted in other market segments identified during the project.


Project SILVANUS will be developed with a high stakeholder engagement (e.g. fire brigades, environmental, ecological, healthcare providers) adopting a cyclic approach in order to take into account their feedback and thus adapting the project evolution with regards to their needs and suggestions. The project also envisages a high citizen engagement by developing a scientific programme in order to increase their sensibility to wildfire events, to protect those living close to forests and to decrease human-caused wildfire events.


The SILVANUS platform will be helpful in combatting wildfire in three different phases, as described below:

  • Phase A: Prevention and Preparedness activities. These activities aim to continuously evaluate fire danger indexes, to train and prepare firefighters to events with the use of augmented reality and virtual reality tools, to increase the citizen awareness to wildfire and to create new strategies for fire prevention;
  • Phase B: Detection and Response activities. This phase will develop an AI-based mechanism to quickly detect forest fire considering various factors (e.g., weather, wind, etc) in order to optimise the wildfire containment by first responders;
  • Phase C: Restoration and Adaptation. The last phase will be built on recent innovations in simulation models, aiming to develop a Decision Support System (DSS) that will find the optimal approach to restore an area affected by a wildfire to its pre-fire condition, considering both flora and fauna.


Project SILVANUS will last for 42 months and will be carried out by 50 partners from across 15 EU and 3 non-EU countries (Indonesia, Australia, Brazil), as shown below.

Ing. Zanasi has been invited to present at the IX Moscow Conference on International Security, opened by the President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin

The President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin opened the IX Moscow Conference on International Security held on June 22-24, 2021. The conference is organized by The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and is devoted to discussing issues of strategic stability, global and regional security. The central topics for discussion are contemporary threats and challenges to security in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as well as arms control, cybersecurity, and information warfare.

At the invitation of the General of the Army, Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Sergei Shoigu, more than 150 worldwide experts coming from the US, Russia, China, and other countries of South America, Europe, and Asia joined the forum. Formerly Carabinieri officer, IBM researcher, and academician, Ing. Alessandro Zanasi, founder and president of Zanasi & Partners (Z&P), has been invited to give a speech on the opening day talking about “International Security Research in AI and Cyber defence”. During his speech, he exposed the advances of international cooperation in such fields as national security, cybersecurity, fights against international terrorism, and organized crime.

Strengthening international cooperation is currently one of the priorities of the EU strategy to combat cyber threats and organized crime, and the EU is prioritizing the creation of a strategic framework for conflict prevention and stability in cyberspace. Cyberattacks are one of the main global threats of our time, and therefore international cooperation is extremely important. A tremendous impact in achieving a secure international environment is played by the European projects in which Z&P participated, in particular:

  • the PYTHIA project (funded by the EC, awarded by the EDA, and technically coordinated by Z&P), whose objective is to develop an innovative methodology for performing strategic technology foresight in the defence context;


  • the SOLOMON project (funded by the EC, awarded by the EDA, and technically coordinated by Z&P), that aims at outlining the roadmaps for tackling the supply risk of the EU critical systems in a world of changing strategies, emerging technologies, and EU government restrictions;


  • the ECHO project (funded by the EC under Horizon 2020), which will develop a European Cybersecurity ecosystem to support secure cooperation and development, as well as to protect the citizens of the EU against cyber threats and incidents. ECHO is one of the four pilot projects financed under Horizon 2020 aiming to connect and share knowledge across multiple domains, representing the building framework of the European Cybersecurity Competence Center located in Bucharest;


  • the NOTIONES project (funded by the EC under Horizon 2020 and technically coordinated by Z&P), that will focus on building a network of practitioners from security and intelligence services of the EU Member States and Associated Countries, from the Industry, and from the Academia, with the objective to identify emerging technologies and research how they may satisfy the needs of security and public services.


The Moscow conference is attended by a significant number of top officials representing various world regions states. The Forum provides unique conditions for acquaintance with the broadest possible range of expert views on regional challenges and threats, and the opportunity to discuss the issues of greatest importance in the formation of views on international security.

For more information on the conference, please visit this page or watch the video webcast of the presentations (currently available in Russian, a version with English subtitles will be provided after the event).

Artificial Intelligence for Security: our “popAI” proposal has been awarded!

Zanasi & Partners is glad to announce the successful result of popAI proposal. The proposal has been awarded the grant under the H2020 framework, thus confirming Z&P engagement in the security research field. popAI will be coordinated by the National Center for Scientific Research Demokritos (NCSRD), already valuable partner in multiple proposals and projects, such as TRESSPASS (H2020). 

popAI addresses a crucial topic in today’s security landscape: the role and potentialities of artificial intelligence, as an instrument to support and facilitate the work of Law Enforcement Agencies.

Artificial intelligence offers relevant solutions to improve the protection and safety of EU citizens. However, the last decade has witnessed the emergence of collateral effects and a spread of scepticism towards the use of this technology. Social media controversies, the Snowden case, the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal are amongst those events that highlighted an alarming lack of transparency and adequate regulatory framework for the use and application of AI, thus increasing the sensitivity of the EU population and decision-makers towards this topic.

popAI aims at fostering trust in the application of AI and AI-enabled mechanisms in the security domain, by increasing awareness, social engagement and gathering knowledge and expertise from multiple sectors (e.g. academic and non-academic actors). This approach will offer a unified European view across LEAs, while encouraging the creation of an ecosystem that could provide the structural architecture of a sustainable and inclusive European AI hub for Law Enforcement. Moreover, the project will delineate a roadmap for the implementation of AI systems in the short term (focusing on certification and compliance) and in the long term (addressing potential future scenarios and risks related to the use of AI).

popAI methodology is built on three critical pillars:

  • A background analysis that will investigate the legal, ethical, and social framework related to the use of AI tools in security and ethics, thus creating a taxonomy of ethical principles for LEA’s use of AI applications;
  • A multidisciplinary analysis of experts and citizen awareness and acceptance, conducted through different forms of engagement (e.g. social media analysis, interactive webinars, etc.) to get a comprehensive perspective of how AI is perceived by diverse audiences;
  • Definition of recommendations and best practises promoting a human-centric, socially-driven, successful and responsible implementation of the AI in the security domain.


The 24-month project will rely on the experience of 13 partners from 7 countries:

  • Coordinator: National Center for Scientific Research Demokritos (NCSRD)
  • Technology experts:
    • Zanasi & Partners – Z&P (Italy);
    • Centre for Research & Technology Hellas – CERTH (Greece);
    • Technische Universiteit Eindhoven – TU/e (Germany);
    • Centre for Security Studies – KEMEA (Greece);
  • Legal and ethics experts:
    • Trilateral Research (Ireland);
    • European Citizen Action Service – ECAS (Belgium);
    • Eticas Research and Innovation – ERI (Spain);
  • Security practitioners (LEAs):
    • Hellenic police – HP (Greece);
    • Hochschule fur den Offentlichen Dienst in Bayern – BayHfoD (Germany);
    • Akademia Policajneho Zboru V Bratislave – APZ (Slovakia);
    • Polizia municipale Città di Torino – PLTO (Italy).

Z&P will lead WP5, devoted to Dissemination, Communications and Sustainable Community Engagement. In particular, the team will be in charge of the development of the popAI platform. This digital platform will function as central access and collaboration framework for the consortium partners and the external community. Relying on its experience, Z&P will lead the definition of the two roadmaps for short and long terms. In addition, as the partner responsible for the Stakeholder Advisory Board, Z&P will engage with the community of experts and relevant actors, exploiting its already vast network.


NOTIONES proposal has been accepted!


Zanasi & Partners has been awarded NOTIONES (iNteracting netwOrk of inTelligence and security practitiOners with iNdustry and acadEmia actorS) proposal, coordinated administratively by Tecnalia and techno-scientifically by Z&P, funded under the H2020 framework programme. This is the third project techno-scientifically coordinated by Zanasi & Partners, after PYTHIA and SOLOMON (PADR-funded) and the fourth in the field of security and defence (with DECISMAR, EDIDP-funded).

NOTIONES finds its roots in this landscape. Emerging technologies are gaining increasing attention in the defence and security domains, looking at the innovation they could bring to equipment and defence forces. NOTIONES transfers this concept into the intelligence domain (not only LEA-related).

The overall objective of NOTIONES is to build a network of practitioners from security and intelligence services of EU Member States and Associated Countries, aiming at identifying which emerging technologies will be more relevant to address the future needs and priorities of EU security and public services.

The project, starting in 2021 and terminating in 2026, can leverage on a multitude of expertise and competences: the 30 partners include academia, think-tanks, research centres, technology providers and practitioners from military, civil, financial, judiciary, local, national and international security and intelligence services. Geographically, the consortium covers 4 main areas: West Europe, North Europe, Mittle Europe and Middle East.

More specifically, the consortium consists of:

  • Tecnalia (Spain);
  • Zanasi & Partners (Italy);
  • LAUREA University (Finland);
  • Bulgarian Defence Institute (Bulgaria);
  • Defence Research Institute (France);
  • Fondazione ICSA (Italy);
  • Bar Ilan University Europe Institute (Israel);
  • Agency for the Promotion of European Research (Italy);
  • ORT (France);
  • VTT Technical Research Centre (Finland);
  • Expert System (Italy);
  • Saher Europe (Estonia);
  • Marketscape (Denmark);
  • Tecoms (Italy);
  • Synyo (Austria);
  • Regional Police Headquarters in Radom (Poland);
  • State Agency for National Security (Bulgaria);
  • Carabinieri Lt. General Leso (Italy);
  • Financial Intelligence Unit (Latvia);
  • Border Police (Bosnia Herzegovina);
  • International Security and Emergency Management Institute (Slovakia);
  • Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs (Ukraine);
  • Ministry of Interior (Georgia);
  • Police Service (Northern Ireland);
  • Police Authority (Sweden);
  • Policia Judiciaria (Portugal);
  • National Police – Intelligence Division (Israel);
  • Military Academy “General Mihailo Apostolski” (North Macedonia);
  • Police University of Bavaria (Germany);
  • Jandarma (Turkey).

NOTIONES aims at contrasting the persistent terrorist threat too, by addressing its multiple facets (e.g. the birth of a radical ideology, the propaganda, the financing, etc.). Each of these aspects may be identified and prevented by the activities carried out by security and intelligence services that realise anti-terrorism intelligence-enabled critical awareness by means of intelligence collection, surveillance and cooperative efforts among all the involved organisations.

NOTIONES will monitor the results of academic research and industrial innovation and suggest actions to be followed by academia and industry to address these results towards a useful implementation. NOTIONES will, thus, promote the interaction of technology providers and academy with intelligence and security practitioners, to detect new relevant technologies and evaluate how they could serve their needs. NOTIONES will periodically publish a report, summarising these findings with the purpose of orientating future research project programming and indicating priorities with regards to the industrialisation of the results.


Controlli ai confini personalizzati per ogni passeggero: procedure adattate al livello di rischio (press release)

Adattare i controlli al confine in base al livello di rischio di ogni passeggero: così il progetto europeo TRESSPASS propone nuovi strumenti analitici per modellare e quantificare il rischio associato a ogni passeggero, velocizzando ed ottimizzando le procedure di controllo.

Ognuno di noi sa cosa significhi attraversare un confine: file, burocrazia e stress che possono far iniziare il viaggio con il piede sbagliato. Tutti i passeggeri sono sottoposti allo stesso iter di controlli, basato su regole valide per tutti i passeggeri in transito (sistema cosiddetto “rule-based”), come il controllo dei passaporti, la perquisizione di un veicolo o il passaggio attraverso un metal detector. Se da un lato tale modello garantisce un controllo accurato per tutti i viaggiatori, dall’altro comporta un dispendio di risorse e tempo (vari studi hanno dimostrato che, ad esempio, un passeggero impiega in media oltre un’ora dall’arrivo all’aeroporto al gate di imbarco) per la totalità di essi. In tempi di COVID-19, poi, alle procedure ordinarie si aggiungono il controllo della temperatura e talvolta il tampone: senza un cambio di paradigma, il rischio é pertanto che i tempi si dilatino ulteriormente.

Nonostante questi problemi siano noti ormai da anni, di fatto non è mai stata trovata una soluzione che prevedesse lo svolgimento di controlli con la medesima efficacia ma in un minor tempo. Come uscire dunque da questa impasse? Il progetto TRESSPASS (robusT Risk basEd Screening and alert System for PASSengers and luggage), finanziato dalla Commissione Europea nell’ambito del programma Horizon 2020, punta a sviluppare un nuovo modello di border management europeo tramite cui classificare i passeggeri a seconda del loro diverso livello di rischio (risk-based), proponendo controlli mirati in base al risultato. In altre parole, l’obiettivo di TRESSPASS – coordinato dal centro di ricerca greco Demokritos e comprendente 22 partners da 10 paesi europei – è proporre un nuovo sistema analitico per modellare e quantificare il livello di rischio associato ad ogni passeggero, basato su un insieme di indicatori che possono essere misurati tra i quattro livelli del sistema integrato di border management dell’Unione Europea (EU IBM).

In tale contesto, un contributo importante viene fornito dall’azienda modenese Zanasi & Partners, responsabile della raccolta dei requisiti e delle necessità provenienti dai cosiddetti end users, nonché dell’identificazione degli indicatori di rischio, ovvero caratteristiche e atteggiamenti dei passeggeri che fanno presagire un livello più o meno alto di potenziale pericolo. Tali indicatori vengono stimati sulla base delle informazioni e dei dati ricavati da diverse fonti, tra cui informazioni sul passeggero reperibili tramite ricerche online (e.g. social media), nonché dall’analisi di dati ricavati da sensori e nuove tecnologie (introdotte dai partner tecnici di TRESSPASS) o applicazioni per dispositivi mobili messe a disposizione dei passeggeri. In tal modo, risulta possibile calcolare un livello di rischio da associare ad ogni passeggero per quanto concerne tutte le sue fasi di passaggio (pre, durante, post) attraverso i punti di controllo alle frontiere. Allo stesso tempo, la collaborazione con esperti legali riconosciuti a livello europeo farà sì che le tecnologie utilizzate siano non solo in grado di assicurare il rispetto della privacy dei passeggeri, ma anche di evitare bias cognitivi nei confronti di minoranze e gruppi vulnerabili. Tali attività assumono ulteriore rilevanza alla luce del COVID-19, che sta accelerando la transizione verso procedure di controllo e di riconoscimento sempre più automatiche ma comunque ancora frutto della mente umana.

Per verificare l’efficacia delle soluzioni sviluppate nel corso del progetto – il cui termine è previsto per il Novembre 2021 – TRESSPASS prevede infine lo svolgimento di attività di training e tre simulazioni che riguarderanno i tre principali punti di accesso (aria, mare e terra) e le principali minacce alla sicurezza, tra cui il contrabbando, l’immigrazione illegale, e il terrorismo cross-border.

In sostanza, l’ambizioso obiettivo di TRESSPASS è quello di rivoluzionare l’attuale modello di border management a livello europeo per renderlo più flessibile ed efficace, velocizzando l’iter per i passeggeri ritenuti non pericolosi ed ottimizzando il lavoro delle guardie di frontiera, che potranno dunque concentrare i loro sforzi sui passeggeri ritenuti più a rischio, effettuando controlli ad personam più o meno approfonditi. A tal fine, rimane comunque imprescindibile stabilire un solido rapporto di fiducia reciproca fra viaggiatori (che non devono sentirsi “umiliati” in caso di ulteriori controlli) e addetti al processo di screening (i quali non devono cadere nel tranello di considerare ogni passeggero come un potenziale pericolo). In tal caso, a fronte di un maggiore livello di sicurezza, flessibilità ed efficacia, il viaggio tornerà ad essere un’esperienza rilassante e le lunghe file ai gate diventeranno solo un lontano ricordo.

PADR and EDIDP Wins for Zanasi & Partners

Zanasi & Partners is strengthening its position as one of the most successful SMEs leading the foundation of a “European Defence”. After being awarded the PYTHIA and SOLOMON projects by the European Defence Agency under the first and second Preparatory Action on Defence Research (2017-2018), the company has also been awarded the DECISMAR project (2020), funded by the European Commission under the newly established European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), with a total of around 11 million EUR of funding generated in the last three years. This remarkable track record – along with the around 30 EC-funded security projects awarded in the last few years only – makes Z&P at the forefront to penetrate the defence market, giving a strong positioning towards the upcoming European Defence Fund (EDF), which will allocate 8 billion EUR over the 2021-2027 period.

From Security to Defence

Over the past fifteen years, Z&P has participated in multiple research projects under the European Framework Programme (FP7 and FP8, also known as Horizon2020). The projects address a variety of disciplines related to security, from intelligence and crisis management to border control, transport security and critical infrastructure protection. The variegated team of the company, gathering experts with sociopolitical and technical background (e.g. engineers, cybersecurity, etc.), manages to successfully perform a wide range of activities, from formulation of guidelines or policy recommendations to software design. This flexibility makes Z&P a craved partner in a consortium, as it ensures outstanding performances in multiple fields. Furthermore, the multiannual experience in EU project management guarantees a comprehensive understanding of the procedures related to proposal submission, as well as those “winning elements” that make the difference in the proposal evaluation.  Given the cross-border nature of the EU funded initiatives, collaborating in numerous consortia has ensured Z&P an intense network of diverse entities (academia, industrial companies, LEAs, etc.) all across Europe.

In parallel, the winning of two grants under the PADR framework has paved the path to the defence sector. The Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) projects are, indeed, research projects to support innovation in the defence sector. Z&P has received funds for two projects, namely PYTHIA (PADR-STF-01-2017, recently concluded) and SOLOMON (PADR-STF-02-2018), acting in both cases as Technical-Scientific Coordinator. In particular, PYTHIA (Predictive methodologY for TecHnology Intelligence Analysis) was committed to developing an innovative methodology for performing strategic technology foresight in the defence context, whereas SOLOMON (Strategy-Oriented anaLysis Of the Market fOrces in EU defeNce) – benefiting of PYTHIA’s findings – will outline the roadmaps for tackling the supply risk of the EU armament systems in a world of changing strategies, emerging technologies and mutating extra-EU government restrictions. Since PADR and EDIDP have been prepared to pave the way for a substantial defence programme from 2021 onward (the already mentioned EDF), whose procedural mechanism will likely mirror the same process and rules, Z&P is in a strategic and enviable position in addressing the upcoming calls.

Entering the defence industry

Following the successful experience in the PADR framework, Z&P has recently embraced a new challenge within the EDIDP. Last year, the company has been awarded DECISMAR (development of a DECISion support toolbox for enhancing the feasibility study of the upgrade of MARitime surveillance through the integration of legacy assets with new innovative solutions), which aims to develop a decision support toolbox (DSTx), implemented as a cyber-secured and future-proofed integrated IT environment, to provide future technological scenarios.  The participation in EDIDP calls is a crucial achievement as it allows to consolidate relationships with relevant players and create new synergies within the EU defence industry. Indeed, if PADR projects were chiefly oriented towards research activities, EDIDP projects mainly target the capability development: hence, the considerable involvement of EU defence companies. By taking part in H2020, PADR and EDIDP projects, Z&P has shown its ability to act as a bridge between the world of research and the industrial one, thus fostering cooperation and synergy in light of a more solid “European Defence”.

Creating partnerships

Besides enhancing the R&D sector and fostering the EU industrial growth, these R&I projects are established to strengthen cooperation among the multiple and variegated actors involved in the defence sector. Moreover, they are meant to create synergies with activities promoted under other frameworks, such as the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) or NATO-led initiatives. In this respect, it is worth mentioning that Z&P has recently participated in the NATO DTEx (Disruptive Technology Experiment), a wargaming exercise involving crisis scenarios to be addressed relying on new proposed technologies. Such projects and initiatives further allow Z&P to improve its understanding of current needs and gaps as well as to combine necessary expertise and knowledge (e.g. research and technical skills, market posture, etc.) in order to provide the EU with a strong and competitive environment where a “European Defence” could grow its roots and flourish.