• Last updated: 06 Nov. 2017 12:16

Science for Peace and Security

NATO SPS Call for Proposals on Counter Terrorism 2017


Terrorism poses a direct threat to the security of the citizens of NATO countries, and to international stability and prosperity. It is a persistent global threat that knows no border, nationality or religion and is a challenge that the international community must tackle together. NATO’s approach to Counter-Terrorism (CT) is based on three pillars of improving awareness of the threat, developing capabilities to prepare and respond, and enhancing engagement with partner countries and other international actors.
NATO aims at developing new capabilities and technologies to tackle the terrorist threat and to manage the consequences of a terrorist attack. NATO cooperates with partners and international organizations to leverage the full potential of each stakeholder engaged in the global counter-terrorism effort.


In line with its enhanced role in the international community’s fight against terrorism, NATO is issuing a Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme Call for Proposals, to address human, social, cultural, scientific and technological advancements in the field of counter terrorism.

The programme aims to foster practical cooperation by developing collaborative networks between academia, think tanks, civil society and government representatives.

One of the specific objectives of this call for proposals is to encourage applications that bring long term impact and have a thematic and geographical strategic perspective.

To this end, applications that promote long term research in hard sciences, as well as in social disciplines (such as political science, anthropology, sociology, psychology, etc.) are encouraged. Social sciences applications may be in the form of long-term studies, case studies with practical applications (i.e. sharing best practices, developing recommendations, identifying gaps), and field studies, etc.

NATO’s role in the international community’s fight against terrorism contributes to the Alliance’s Deterrence and Defence posture and to its ability to Project Stability to neighboring countries. Applicants should consider their project’s relevance to NATO’s key tasks of collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security.

The SPS Programme addresses the following key priorities in the field of CT:

  • Methods for the protection of critical infrastructure, supplies and personnel (vulnerability reduction, resilience, route clearance, force protection);
  • Human factors in the defence against terrorism (social sciences, security studies, conflict prevention, root causes of terrorism, counter terrorism strategies and human rights);
  • Detection technologies against the terrorist threat for explosive devices and other illicit activities. This could include, for example, sensors technologies, electromagnetic imaging, optoelectronics, chemical sensors, etc.;
  • Risk management, best practices and technologies in response to terrorism. This could include for example risk management strategies, threat analysis tools, crisis management tools, technologies for incident and emergency response, etc.


This call solicits proposals in the following areas:

  • Civil / Military cooperation on CT
    • Associating countering terrorism efforts with peacebuilding strategies; the role of women in countering terrorism
    • Links between internal and external security in the fight against terrorism
  • Human and social factors in defence against terrorism
    • Root causes of terrorism, including home grown terrorism and the Foreign Terrorist Fighter phenomenon
    • Support to counter/ de-radicalization strategies (particularly in collaboration with other organizations already engaged in the field)
    • Countering/ preventing violent extremism
    • Civilian support to NATO operations
    • Terrorism’s impact on society
    • The protection of civilian populations against terrorist attacks
  • Exchange of best practices on policy development and CT strategies, including the respect of Human Rights
    • Interagency cooperation in countering terrorism; regional and international cooperation mechanisms to counter terrorism linked with NATO’s operations
  • Counter Terrorism Capacity Building
    • Education and training; security sector governance challenges hindering the fight against terrorism
    • Threat assessment tools: enhancement of partner capacity in threat analysis
    • Terrorism’s impact on the security sector and its governance
  • Conflict resolution
    • Counter terrorism strategies; conflict prevention and resolution; peaceful transition from conflicts including terrorism; peacebuilding and peacekeeping
    • Pre-deployment training: cultural awareness to avoid aggravating conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism
    • Counter Terrorism conducted through a Comprehensive Approach to crises
    • Counter Insurgency (COIN): distinctions and parallels between COIN and CT
  • Countering terrorism at borders
    • Border defence; NATO-relevant aspects of the integrated border security management approach
    • Maritime situational awareness contribution to border security
  • Technologies in support of CT
    • Countering Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
    • Countering Improvised Explosive Devices
    • Forensic analysis techniques and exploitation tools
    • Non-Lethal Capabilities
    • Big data analysis
    • Video analysis for abnormal behaviour detection
    • Countering terrorism narratives on line: tools and processes for detection and removal of extremist content from internet
    • Social media and IT exploitation in support of disaster and crisis response
    • Artificial intelligence for countering terrorism

Evaluation criteria

Applications will be evaluated on individual merit and on a case by case basis. Applications are evaluated through peer review by an independent scientific group and subsequently subject to Allies’ approval. Applications will be assessed on their quality and on the basis of their relevance to NATO’ strategic objectives, their potential in terms of long term impact, added value to NATO. The entire evaluation and approval process can take between 6-8 months.

Funding mechanisms

The SPS Programme supports collaboration through three established grant mechanisms: multi-year research projects (MYP), workshops (ARW), and training courses (ASI/ATC). Interested applicants should develop proposals for activities that fit within one of these grant mechanisms. Application forms for SPS workshops, training courses, and multi-year projects can be downloaded from: www.nato.int/science.

Programme Requirements

As one of the principal goals of the Science for Peace and Security Programme is to promote cooperation between NATO countries and NATO partner countries, only applications from researchers in those countries (see below) can be accepted. Applications should be submitted to sps.applications@hq.nato.int mentioning in the subject of the email the text “CT Call for proposals 2017“; all relevant enquiries should be submitted to sps.info@hq.nato.int.

The deadline for applications is 1 February 2018.

NATO Countries

Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.

Eligible NATO Partner Countries

Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Egypt, Finland, Georgia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Malta, Mauritania, Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia†, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan.

  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.