Over 3 million euros in funding for Surveillance & Protection research project

A research team from the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) has received over 3 million euros in funding from the Knowledge Centre Surveillance and Protection, a partnership between the Dutch National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security, the Public Prosecution Office, the police, and the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee. The money will be used to start a long-term research and educational project on the subject of ‘surveillance and protection’.

A rising number of threats is putting more and more pressure on the system Surveillance and Protection. Think of deadly assaults on persons associated with penal investigations into organised crime, violent displays aimed at administrators on both a national as well as a local level, or civilians being threatened by stalkers or (former) partners. These, as well as other issues such as terrorism, attacks on digital infrastructures and espionage, have an ongoing and profound impact on the safety of persons, objects, and institutions in the Netherlands.

Bart Schuurman: ‘The organisations and professionals that shape the system Surveillance and Protection play an important role in society but are also faced with bigger challenges. As researchers we are honoured to be given the chance to contribute to this professional field.’

Involve scientists

The system Surveillance and Protection is a result of close collaborations between the Public Persecution Office, the police, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee and the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV). The Knowledge Centre Surveillance and Protection has decided to work more closely with the academic world as part of wider reforms of the system based on the recommendations of the Committee Bos in October 2021.

In the summer of 2021, three Leiden researchers of the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA), Bart Schuurman, Jelle van Buuren, and Edwin Bakker, wrote an overview of the threats that the system has had to deal with over the past decades and possible future developments. This report was incorporated into the recommendations of the Committee Bos on safeguarding the system’s ability to deal with future challenges. It was also the starting point for looking into ways in which Leiden University would be able to contribute to the work of the parties involved in the system.

Research and education strategy

Research and education aimed at the practice and policy on dealing with ongoing security issues is one of the main pillars of the strategy recently launched by ISGA. The funding proposal that Schuurman wrote in collaboration with Van Buuren and Bakker directly ties into this. Starting this month, the researchers will have five years to create a ‘strategic research agenda’ in which various combinations of research and education will be incorporated. Schuurman: ‘The organisations and professionals that shape the system Surveillance and Protection play an important role in society but are also faced with bigger challenges. As researchers we are honoured to be given the chance to contribute to this professional field.’

There are plans, for instance, to hire three researchers on PhD tracks, who will be conducting both short-term research projects as well as more fundamental PhD research on issues relevant to the system. The knowledge requirements of the system will be supported further by an annual ‘call’ to which Dutch knowledge institutions can apply.

Collaboration with CPL

The outcome of the various research projects will be used to create bespoke educational tracks for professionals and students. To ensure that the information is made widely and readily available to the end users of the system. To achieve this, they will be working closely with colleagues from the Centre for Professional Learning (CPL). The CPL has been tasked by the Knowledge Centre Surveillance and Protection to create a course that will help improve the collaboration between the partners involved in the knowledge centre. The aim of the course is to promote a joint system perspective, as well as knowledge output and transfer of knowledge regarding relevant substantive topics.

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