The issue of radicalization leading to terrorism has become a crucial part of the political and academic agendas in Europe, confronted, especially in the last decade, not only to the threat from Jihadist terrorism but also with right/left wing violent extremism. Though violent radicalization is not a new phenomenon, its most recent manifestations require a more comprehensive and holistic approach addressing not only security concerns but also framing of the problem in social and psychological terms.

MINDb4ACT tries to solve limitations in conventional research methodologies through the Living Labs framework in which all stakeholders –academia, Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), private sector, governments, municipalities, first-line respondents and other practitioners– collaborate to co-design new practices to prevent violent extremisms addressing all dimension (security, political, societal and ethical).

To analyse the design, impact and constraints of current Countering Violent Extremism policies, the project will focus on four dimensions:

MIND the PROBLEM
How decision-making, operating level and first practitioners are framing the problem.
MIND the STRATEGY
The rationales of regulation and forecasting behind the concrete policy measures, including ethical concerns.
MIND the CAPACITIES
Skills and needs from stakeholders that can be addressed through training and support from academy and technology.
MIND the PRACTICES
Evaluation of outputs concerning pursued goals: identity formation, mitigation of violence, transformation of attitudes.

Approach: Living Labs

A Living Lab is an innovation environment to test new solutions with main stakeholders, developed in the 90s by research on cognitive and decision-making process. It is often used in innovation and technology environments and has been tested and used successfully in some security contexts (cyber-security, intelligence) evolving from engineering-computing to socio-cultural fields. The European Commission has characterized Living Labs and Public-Private-Persons Partnerships open for innovation and lead by end-users.

MINDb4ACT will use such framework to develop 21 pilot projects to tackle violent radicalization developed by LEAs, first-line practitioners and civil society actors. The tests will develop practices and interventions based on empirical evidences in five key areas:

Prisons and Judiciary System

DESCRIPTION


Though the competences are under Member States, the European Commission has increased their efforts to prevent and counter radicalization in prisons.

MINDb4ACT ROLE


MINDb4ACT will facilitate knowledge and information for Member States in regard with the prevention and counter of radicalization in prisons, by providing empirical data, risk and evaluation assessment tools, and proper training for professionals in prisons. A special focus on youth probation and women will be taken into account.

Schools and Learning Centres

DESCRIPTION


Schools and professional centres may have a key role in fostering inclusion, by working closely with parents and local associations. Regular contacts of LEAs with representatives of civil society and role models can make a difference in motivating young people and preventing them from drifting to the margins of society.

MINDb4ACT ROLE


MINDb4ACT will contribute to provide empirical data, risk and evaluation assessment tools and training of professionals for early detection schools and related professional centres.

Immigration Hotspots and Asylum Centres

DESCRIPTION


There is a potential risk for elements of the refugee diaspora to become vulnerable to radicalization once in Europe, and to be specifically targeted by Islamist extremist recruiters. In addition, the continuous rise of irregular migrants or asylum seekers and their relevance in the social and media discourse is fueling rightwing extremism that exploits the asylum crisis in a polarizing manner for its own purposes.

MINDb4ACT ROLE


MINDb4ACT will contribute to provide empirical data, risk and evaluation assessment tools and training of professionals in migration hotspots and asylum centers. The project will facilitate knowledge and information for LEAs in Member States represented in the consortium, through its MINDb4ACT Platform (a community of practice), and associated partners in each country and EU level.

Cities

DESCRIPTION


European societies are more resilient when they combat social exclusion, discrimination and promote justice, pluralism, tolerance and solidarity. Collaborating with communities through liaison officers, community leaders and civil society is key for countering discrimination that may lead to radicalization. Reaching vulnerable people, and promote activities fostering social inclusion may mitigate the effects of poverty or lack of opportunities.

MINDb4ACT ROLE


MINDb4ACT will promote engagement as part of a broader collaboration with all relevant actors, including social institutions, community organizations, employers, social workers and those closest to young people: their families and friends. The project will provide empirical data (practical knowledge) and evaluation tools to foster social resilience in peri-urban contexts, determining the impact of right/left wing extremism.

The Internet and Media

DESCRIPTION


The internet provides radical recruiters more opportunities to interact with people who would not otherwise be reachable by conventional means. Online interactions with likeminded individuals can substitute for an individual’s physical community and create an online social environment in which deviant behaviour and violence are acceptable.

MINDb4ACT ROLE


MINDb4ACT will contribute to EU initiatives on the internet and audiovisual media, by identifying opportunities from technology solutions (Big data and other intelligence tools) to combat online propaganda and hate speech, and by providing empirical data, risk and evaluation assessment tools and training of professionals for early detection.

Milestones


1
Launch of the project and explore opportunities, needs and skills
2
Exchange information and collecting of perspectives on CVE policies.
3
Enhancing capacities.
4
Learning from action: pilot projects.
5
Policy recommendations, updated research agenda and Roadmaps for action

Partners

Real Instituto Elcano (ELCANO), Spain

The Elcano Royal Institute (RIE) is a think-tank for international and strategic studies that analyses world events and trends from a Spanish, European and global perspective. Its aim is to make its research available to policy-makers, academics, business leaders, the media and society in general. Its activities – including frequent working groups, seminars and conferences - and outputs are designed to be of use to decision-makers, both public and private, while also helping to provide rigorous and consistent information to public opinion. RIE is the most influential Spanish think tank according to the Global Think Tank Evaluation Report 2015 prepared by the China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), and it is also the only Spanish think tank collected in the ranking of the top 100. Elcano´s Program on Global Terrorism is held as the leading one in Spain. Moreover, since 2012, Elcano is developing a 2012-2016 devoted to data collection and analysis on social characterization, radicalization processes, individual motivations and involvement patterns among individuals charged with jihadist terrorism offences in Spain since 1995. ELCANO benefits from very close relationships both with the Center for Intelligence on Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO, previously CNCA), with the Antiterrorism Prosecutor’s Office at the Spain’s National Court (Audiencia Nacional) and local polices. Also, RIE is part of the RAN CoE, and have engaged in the draft of many reports for the European Commission under the RAN demands. Thanks to the establishment of a Project Office in 2014, Elcano developed a wide experience in writing and managing projects, mostly of them EU-funded. RIE is the leader of the MINDb4ACT project.

Centre of Excellence in Terrorism, Resilience, Intelligence and Organized Crime Research (CENTRIC), United Kingdom

The Centre of Excellence in Terrorism, Resilience, Intelligence & Organised Crime Research (CENTRIC) is a multi-disciplinary and end-user orientated research body, located within the Cultural, Communication and Computing Research Institute (C3RI) at Sheffield Hallam University (UK). Its aim is to develop the intersection between four key stakeholders in the security domain: citizens, Law enforcement agencies, industry and academia. Its activities – including research, publication – are designed to provide a platform for researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and the public, in order to focus on applied research in the Security domain. CENTRIC has close links with local, national and international LEA’s as well as security specialist groups and is currently collaborating with a number of a law enforcement agencies and leading technology providers. CENTRIC builds on over six years of work by a range of colleagues across government, academia and private sector. At the European level, it has experience of coordinating more than twenty independent projects. CENTRIC is one of the two British partners in MINDb4ACT.

Fachhochschule für öffentliche Verwaltung und Rechtspflege in Bayern (Bay FHVR), Germany

The University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration and Legal Affairs in Bavaria – Police Affairs (FHVR) is the key institution for educating future higher ranked police officers in Bavaria. Its aim is to train the students for the career of the professional and executive level of the Police Enforcement Service. BayFHVR has strong ties with the police practice in all parts of policing and is also involved in certain research projects on several aspects of policing. It holds strong links and collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior and the police stations in Bavaria to keep upgrade their competences and serve the needs of the members of the police officers and the citizens. At European level, BayFHVR supported the police academy in Bulgaria within an Erasmus project, a partnership with the Police Academy in Bucharest (Romania) and a partnership with the Police Academy in Prague (Czech Republic). BayFHVR is one of the two German partners in MINDb4ACT.

Polish National Police – Poznan Policja (Poznan), Poland

Poznan Policja (Poznan) is the Polish national police whose headquarter is in Poznan, in the Wielkopolska Region. It consists from 37 departments. Its aim is to guarantee people safety, but it also organizes education camps and competence trainings for students of prosocial classes in the region. Its Prevention Department focuses on diagnosis of threats and construction of preventive actions in the Wielkopolska region. Its activities – including analysis, coordination and implementation of prevention programs – are designed to protect security and the public order, cooperating with state agencies, local government and social organizations. Regional Pólice Headquarters in Poznan participate in some international and national projects, and specifically the Department of Prevention is now coordinating an interinstitutional and multidisciplinary project called “Threats observatory for young people”. Acting as LEA, Poznan is one of the two Polish partners in MINDb4ACT.

SYNYO GmbH (SYNYO), Austria

SYNYO is an independent research, innovation and technology company, which conducts research and develops technological solutions for addressing major societal challenges. Its aim is to generate valuable insights into issues of societal relevance help to understand and support inclusive, reflective and sustainable societies. In order to foster secure societies, SYNYO puts a strong emphasis on social research. Rather than focusing on one particular subject in social sciences, SYNYO attaches great importance to interdisciplinarity and takes into account the full scope of disciplines and stakeholder perspectives. The SYNYO team consists of high-skilled researchers with different academic backgrounds including social and communication sciences. Furthermore, a team of developers creates collaborative systems targeting large end-user groups. SYNYO has access to a vast network of knowledge including research institutions, networking organisations, technology providers, industry partners, public authorities and law enforcement agencies. In 2015 and 2016, SYNYO was among the Top 3 most successful research-oriented Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Austria. SYNYO is one of the two Austrian partners in MINDb4ACT.

Women Without Borders (WwB), Austria

Women without Borders (WwB), founded in 2001, is an organization which translates research into action through community-based strategies that combine theory and grassroots-level fieldwork. Its aim is to build women’s capabilities through education, collaboration and self-confidence. WwB focuses on prevention violent extremism, capacy building, gender based violence, female leadership, and Intercultural dialogue. Over the past decade, the organization has been strengthening local, national, and global security through its pioneering “MotherSchools: Parenting for Peace” Model. This bottom-up security approach positions civil society to address the danger of extremism while fostering dialogue between local stakeholders and global decision-makers. “MotherSchools” have engaged over two thousand mothers in twelve countries across Western and Eastern Europe, South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa. WwB is one of the two Austrian partners in MINDb4ACT.

Free University of Brussels (VUB), Belgium

The Institute for European Studies (IES) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is an academic Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and a policy think tank that focuses on the European Union in international affairs. The Institute advances academic education and research in various disciplines, and provides services to policy-makers, scholars, stakeholders and the general public. The IES also provides a number of academic services to disseminate its research and promote its education as well as stimulate academic and public discussion on topical European issues, like counter-terrorism, security and migration. The Institute fosters academic cooperation with a wide range of Universities and other public as well as private institutions in Belgium and abroad. It pursues its mission both on its own initiative (drawing on its core funding from the Flemish government) and through opportunities offered by funding from third parties. It has executed research projects and it utilises its central location in Brussels to regularly organise academic events for, among others, the European Institutions, governments, science foundations and various governmental and non-governmental, national and international organisations as well as companies. The IES team, as part of VUB, is one of the two Belgian partners in MINDb4ACT.

Poliisiammattikorkeakoulu (POLAMK), Finland

Poliisiammattikorkeakoulu (POLAMK), is solely responsible for the education of police on entry- (BA), middle- and top-level (MA) in Finland. POLAMK is a centre of excellence in police education and RDI-work in policing. It acts under the Ministry of the Interior and the National Police Board. Its activities – police education, organizing short and further education courses in policing and internal security as well as RDI-activities – systematically create, maintain and develop the knowledge base of the Finnish Police and internal security in Finland. POLAMK’s research, development and innovation work focuses on three fields: police work and organization; policing; and police in society. POLAMK is an active partner, contributor and collaborator in European, International and national R&D projects. It has extensive contacts especially with the Nordic countries, but also through the European Police Research Institute Collaboration (EPIC) and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL). POLAMK is the Finnish partner in MINDb4ACT.

Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Denmark

The Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) is an independent research institution for international studies, financed primarily by the Danish state. Its aim is to make its researches available to policy makers and experts promoting public debate on globalization, security, development and foreign policy. Its activities – research, articles, consultancy – are designed to be agenda-setting in research, policy and public debate. DIIS participates in academic networks and publishes in high-ranking academic journals, always striving to excel in academic scholarship. It continuously assesses Denmark’s foreign and political situation and informs the Danish media, politicians and the public about their work. DIIS includes a Terrorism Research Area, which explores current forms of terrorism and extremism as well as strategies of countering, preventing and managing such phenomena. Specifically, DIIS research focuses in three fields: militant Islamist movements and ideologies; radicalization, recruitment and extremism; prevention and counter violent extremism strategies. DIIS is the Danish partner in MINDb4ACT.

Ministero della Giustizia d’Italia (MoJ IT), Italy

The Triveneto Office is part of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ IT) and it is responsible for 16 penitentiary institutions in the North East of Italy. This Office works in collaboration with Central Investigation Office in order to keep the database of the so called Situation Room always updated with behaviours and profiles of certain detainees in order to guarantee the possibility to put in place prevention measures and strategies. Starting from 2014, the Triveneto Office established a dedicated European Projects Designing and Management Group in order to monitor grants, build partnerships, plan actions and implement activities. Currently, the Office is leading two European projects under the DG Home Affairs and Justice. All projects, started in 2016, focus on designing innovative training modules and virtual tools, in order to allow thousands of European front-line practitioners to have access to a comprehensive training course based on European best practices and case studies. Triveneto Office, as part of the Ministry of Justice, is one of the two Italian partners in MINDb4ACT.

Polish Platform for Homeland Security (PPBW), Poland

Polish Platform for Homeland Security (PPBW), was established in 2005 (Listed into the Polish court’s register: number 000251345) and by Decision nº 2/2006 (19 Jan. 2006) Minister of the Interior and Administration agreed for range of PPBW activities PPBW associates representatives of Polish Law Enforcement Agencies which in cooperation with other practitioners and representatives of science develop IT tools and legal environment to support the broadly defined efforts to improve public security. At the same time, it fosters cooperation in the area of security among various fields of science, education, research and development. As a think tank, PPBW’s activities – including reports, summary of workshops and conferences, research and development projects – are designed to define and solve problems in the area of security. Also, by proving consulting and educational services, PPBW supports the process of building public trust in the new security technologies. PPBW cooperates with consultants from the security area: experienced LEAs officers, prosecutors, judges and representatives of science experiences in cooperation with LEAs. It has also developed a strong cooperation with European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services (ENLETS). Acting as a LEA, PPBW is one of the two Polish partners in MINDb4ACT.

Ministry of the Interior of Spain (MoHA ESP)

The Spanish Guardia Civil (www.guardiacivil.org) is an armed institution with military nature which is part of the State's Defence & Security Corps and take part of Security Bodies in Spain. As one of the national agents with responsibilities on security, the Spanish Constitution establishes as their prime mission to protect the free exercise of the rights and liberties of the Spanish people and guarantee security of the citizenship, all of it under the responsibility of the Spanish Government. It is dependent from Ministry of Interior with regard to services, salaries, destinations and means, and from Ministry of Defence with regard to promotions and missions of military nature. Besides, Guardia Civil deals with necessities of the Treasury Ministry related to the financial prosecutions of the state, and watch over fulfilment of the rules and regulations related with the different organizations of Central and Autonomous Communities Administrations. As a Police Corps it performs tasks like Public Security and Order, Judicial Police, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism and also Administrative Police. Guardia Civil do also specifics tasks like Border & Customs Police, Road Traffic Police – interurban, Firearms and explosives control, Coastal security and Nature protection. . In order to carry out all these functions, Guardia Civil has 80,000 components who are deployed all over the national territory and territorial waters. The Guardia Civil is an institution which renders essential services to the community, in conformity with the guidelines provided by its basic behaviour principles. These guidelines constitute a real ethic code binding together all the Guardia Civil members. As LEAs, the Spanish Guardia Civil is one of the three Spanish partners in MINDb4ACT.

City Council of Madrid – Local Police (MADRID), Spain

Madrid City Council (Ayuntamiento de Madrid, ADM), is a public institution whose Police Department, Municipal Police Force of Madrid, an armed force of civil nature with hierarchical structure and organization, is framed in the General Coordination for Security and Emergencies under the authority of Madrid City Council. Madrid Municipal Police is the largest local force in Spain, counting 22 Municipal Police Units. Its aim is to provide security in different areas, preventing and responding to civil security problems and assisting victims. Specifically, their tasks are to monitor public spaces, ensure citizens normal living, preventing criminal acts as well as directing traffic in the city in coordination with the Body of Mobility Agents. Regarding radicalization and prevention to radicalism, they play a crucial role by working in the “citizen’s assistance offices” which, among other duties, are in charge of periodically communicate with the associative network of the districts by interviews, visits, meeting and therefore, gaining possible relevant and delicate information to detect or prevent terrorism. Acting as LEA, Madrid Municipal Police is one of the three Spanish partners in MINDb4ACT.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), United Kingdom

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), established in 2001, is the Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) in Northern Ireland with responsibility for policing and security. It is one of the most scrutinised LEAs in the world and it operates within an accountability framework that ensures policing is delivered to the highest standards. It is also recognised as a global leader in the delivery of: policing with the community; public order and crowd management; counter terrorism investigation; emergency planning and disaster management; human rights focused policing. Its aim is to keep people safe by policing with the community. PSNI is actively engaged in the area of the European research and development. Specifically, it is presently participating in four European Commission Seven Framework Programme (FP7) secure society projects as well as in three Horizon 2020 projects. Acting as LEA, PSNI is one of the two British partners in MINDb4ACT.

Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS), France

The Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS) is France’s leading think tank on security and defence issues. Its aim is to carry out research and analysis in the field of security and defence to be used by interested decision makers, and to promote the public debate on security and defence issues. Its activities – including closed events, public conferences, publications - are designed to provide expertise on civil security, military issues, crisis management, humanitarian issues, defense industries, Transatlantic security issues; mostly covering the area of Russia, China, The Middle East (Iran included), and Africa. FRS works regularly with IOs (World Bank, NATO, the EU, OSCE), private sector (EADS, SAGEM, MBDA), and institutions (French Prime minister, Ministry of Interior, Justice, Foreign affairs, police and national gendarmerie, Militaries). At European level, it has been involved in numerous EU-funded project, majority of which concerning terrorism and security sector. FRS is the French partner in MINDb4ACT.

Freie Universität Berlin (FUB), Germany

Freie Universität Berlin (FUB) is a leading, internationally oriented University consistently ranking among the Top 10 universities in German national comparisons. It is also one of the eleven universities in Germany awarded Excellence status in the Germany-wide competition to promote top research at German universities. The Unit “Developmental Science and Applied Developmental Psychology” (UDSADP) at the Department of Education and Psychology at FUB has long expertise in the study of socialization and developmental processes into severe targeted forms of violence, such as school shootings, amok runs, or lone wolf terrorism. In addition, UDSADP is one of the leading institutions regarding experiences in the development, evaluation and nationwide implementation of violence preventive intervention and early intervention programs. FUB is one of the two German partners in MINDb4ACT.

Agenfor International (AGENFOR), Italy

Agenfor International, created in 2016 as an independent branch from the long established Agenfor Group, is the International member of non-for profit network specialized in participative security. It specific sectors of interests are security and human rights. The main office is in Milan (Italy), with branches in Padua (Italy), Lugano (Switzerland), Tripoli (Libya) and al-Qamashly (Syria). Agenfor International’s mission is the balancing of relationships between International agencies, states, nations and individuals within the post-modern societies. It aims to ensure security through a better protection of human rights and socio-political participation with a particular focus on minorities, prisoners and other vulnerable groups. The European Convention on Human Rights is the compass used to navigate the rights of individuals, communities and nations co-habiting under the organization of the State. Over the past years Agenfor has lead several EU funded projects operating in the field of prison and probation, minorities, and counter radicalization. Public-Private partnership and multi-agency approaches are a substantial part the organization’s work. Agenfor International is active in the field of counter-radicalization with training courses and research activities addressing the needs of first-line practitioners from the public and private sectors all around Europe. It connects communities and local leaders or experts to institutions, with the aim to share experiences, information and best practices. Agenfor International is one of the two Italian partners in MINDb4ACT.

European Organisation for Security (EOS), Belgium

The European Organisation for Security (EOS), created in 2007 by European private sector providers from all domains of security solutions and services, is a network of members representing all relevant domains of the economy across 13 different European countries. Its aim is the development of a harmonized European security market in line with political, societal and economic needs through the efficient use of budgets in order to achieve a genuine growth of the European industry. Its activities are designed to provide a platform of collaborative work, insightful exchange of ideas, and best practices between the European institutions and European security industry, research centres, universities, local clusters and associations. EOS supports its members work by providing access to business opportunities and by promoting at the highest level the implementation of innovative solutions in priority areas such as cybersecurity, border control, civil protection, crisis management, urban security, and protection of critical infrastructures. EOS is one of the two Belgian partners in MINDb4ACT.