The Science for Peace and Security Programme
The Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme is a policy tool that enhances cooperation and dialogue with all partners, based on scientific research, innovation, and knowledge exchange. The SPS Programme provides funding, expert advice, and support to security-relevant activities jointly developed by a NATO member and partner country.
Founded in 1958, the Programme contributes towards the Alliance’s core goals and promotes regional cooperation through scientific projects and activities. Over its long history, the SPS Programme has continuously adapted to the demands of the times. To this end, a comprehensive reorientation of the Programme took place in 2013, which gave SPS a renewed focus on larger scale strategic activities beyond purely scientific cooperation.
The SPS Programme now promotes civil, security-related practical cooperation, and focuses on a growing range of contemporary security challenges, including terrorism, defence against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) agents, cyber defence, energy security and environmental concerns, as well as human and social aspects of security, such as the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325).
The Programme provides the Alliance with distinctive, non-military communication channels, including in situations where other forms of dialogue are difficult to establish. Accordingly, SPS often serves as the first concrete link between NATO and a partner.
The Programme promotes collaboration and cooperative security based on three core dimensions: science, partnership and security.
The Programme helps to foster research, innovation, and knowledge exchange in an effort to address mutual security challenges. SPS has a vast network reaching out to hundreds of universities and institutions across the world.
The collaborative framework of the Programme brings together scientists, experts, and policy makers from Allied and partner countries to address today’s security challenges. Moreover, the SPS Programme is well known as a tool available to all partners, thus proving that practical cooperation is achievable across political barriers through scientific exchange. Over the past five years the Programme has initiated over 450 collaborative activities in more than 40 partner countries.
In line with guidance from NATO nations, all projects developed under SPS must have a relevant security dimension. This fundamental link to security is also reflected in the SPS Key Priorities developed by Allies. All activities funded under the SPS Programme must address one or more of the SPS Key Priorities
The SPS Programme supports collaboration through three established grant mechanisms: multi-year research projects, workshops, and training courses. Interested applicants should develop proposals for activities that fit within one of these formats.
To that end, interested parties submit an application for funding that must be led by project directors from at least one Allied and one partner country. These applications must also directly address the SPS Key Priorities and have a clear link to security. Once an application has been received by the SPS Programme it will undergo a comprehensive evaluation and approval process, taking into account expert, scientific and political guidance.
This process ensures that all SPS applications approved for funding have been evaluated by NATO experts, independent scientists, and NATO nations themselves.