NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization

The Science for Peace and Security Programme

The Science for Peace and Security Programme, or SPS, is a policy tool for enhancing cooperation and dialogue with all partners, based on civil science and innovation, to contribute to the Alliance’s core goals and to address the priority areas for dialogue and cooperation identified in the new partnership policy.

Research priorities are linked to NATO’s strategic objectives and focus on projects in direct support to NATO’s operations, as well as one projects enhancing the defence against terrorism and addressing other threats to security. As such, projects include explosives detection; physical protection from chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear agents; emergency preparedness; cyber defence; and environmental security.

Originally founded as the NATO Science Programme in the 1950s, the SPS Programme now offers grants for collaboration projects, workshops and training involving scientists from NATO member states and partner countries.

  • How does the SPS Programme work?

    The SPS Programme supports collaboration between scientists and experts from NATO and partner countries that are associated with the Alliance through the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD), Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) and NATO-Ukraine. An additional NATO-Russia cooperative programme is carried out under the NATO-Russia Council (NRC(SPS) Committee).

    The SPS Programme funds collaborative activities on topics that are relevant to NATO’s strategic objectives. Support is given for multi-year projects, technical workshops and training courses.

  • SPS key priorities

    SPS Key Priorities are based on NATO’s Strategic Concept as agreed by Allies in Lisbon in November 2010 and the Strategic Objectives of NATO’s Partner Relations as agreed in Berlin in April 2011, without any indication of priority ranking.

    All SPS activities funded under the SPS Programme must adress the SPS Key Priorities listed below and must have a clear link to security and to NATO’s strategic objectives.

    Information on eligibility is available at:, under “Who can apply”.

    When applying, reference to the addressed priority(ies) should be given directly on the application form.

    1. Facilitate mutually beneficial cooperation on issues of common interest, including international efforts to meet emerging security challenges
      1. Counter-Terrorism
        • Methods for the protection of critical infrastructure, supplies and personnel;
        • Human factors in the defence against terrorism;
        • Detection technologies against the terrorist threat for explosive devices and other illicit activities;
        • Risk management, best practices and technologies in response to terrorism.
      2. Energy Security
        • Innovative energy solutions for the military; battlefield energy solutions; renewable energy solutions with military applications;
        • Energy infrastructure security;
        • Maritime aspects of energy security;
        • Technological aspects of energy security.
      3. Cyber Defence
        • Critical infrastructure protection, including sharing of best practices, capacity building and policies;
        • Support in developing cyber defence capabilities, including new technologies and support to the construction of information technology infrastructure;
        • Cyber defence situation awareness.
      4. Defence against CBRN Agents
        • Methods and technology regarding the protection against, diagnosing effects, detection, decontamination, destruction, disposal and containment of CBRN agents;
        • Risk management and recovery strategies and technologies;
        • Medical countermeasures against CBRN agents.
      5. Environmental Security
        • Security issues arising from key environmental and resource constraints, including health risks, climate change, water scarcity and increasing energy needs, which have the potential to significantly affect NATO’s planning and operations;
        • Disaster forecast and prevention of natural catastrophes;
        • Defence-related environmental issues.

    2. Enhance support for NATO-led operations and missions
      • Provision of civilian support through SPS Key Priorities;
      • Provision of access to information through internet connectivity as in the SILK-Afghanistan Programme;
      • Cultural and social aspects in military operations and missions;
      • Enhancing cooperation with other international actors.

    3. Enhance awareness on security developments including through early warning, with a view to preventing crises
      1. Security-related Advanced Technology

        Emerging technologies including nanotechnology, optical technology, micro satellites, metallurgy and the development of UAV platforms.

      2. Border and Port Security
        • Border and port security technology;
        • Cross border communication systems and data fusion;
        • Expert advice and assessments of border security needs and best practice.
      3. Mine and Unexploded Ordnance Detection and Clearance
        • Development and provision of advanced technologies, methodologies and best practice;
        • Solutions to counter improvised explosive devices (IED).
      4. Human and Social Aspects of Security related to NATO’s strategic objectives

    4. Any project related clearly linked to a threat to security not otherwise defined in these priorities may also be considered for funding under the SPS Programme. Such proposals will be examined for links to NATO’s Strategic Objectives.
  • Political and Partnership Committee (PPC) and Independent Scientific Evaluation Group (ISEG)

    Strategic and political guidance for the SPS Programme is provided by the Political and Partnership Committee (PPC), which has replaced the SPS Committee. The PPC determines, on an annual basis, the work programme for the SPS. This includes a set of priorities consistent with the common security challenges identified in NATO’s Strategic Concept and in line with the Alliance Partnership Policy. The PPC also gives the final approval on the selection of projects recommended after scientific evaluation by an independent group of scientific experts (ISEG). The PPC is regularly informed of progress on the SPS programme activities. In order to keep Partners informed and closely involved in the SPS Programme, a PPC meeting with Partners will be organized once a year.

    The role of the ISEG

    The ISEG has seven primary functions:

    • Provide scientific and technical advice on applications for bottom-up SPS activities;
    • Evaluate (peer-review) and rank bottom-up applications by SPS KeyPriorities as set by the PPC;
    • Review bottom-up and top-down Science for Peace (SfP) project plans presented by applicants;
    • Review Nationally-Funded Activities;
    • Have an horizon scanning role at multi-disciplinary level;
    • Prepare and present reports to the PPC on the progress of the SPSactivities;
    • Initiate applications or develop plans for new top-down projects that respond to identified key priorities.

Last updated: 11-Jun-2012 15:19