Building International Cooperation for Trustworthy ICT


Frequently asked questions

1. What kind of project is BIC? The BIC (Building International Cooperation in Trustworthy ICT) is a Coordination Action project funded by the European Commission’s Framework Programme 7. Specifically, it falls under the portfolio of the Unit H.4 Trust and Security within DG CONNECT (Communications Networks, Content and Technology). A Coordination Action (CA) project differs from the traditional research projects (CP Streps or IPs) as their main goal is coordinating research activities (networking – in the case of BIC, international networking of trust and security researchers and programme management (funding agencies), joint events - workshops,  …).

2. What is the main purpose of BIC? The BIC Coordination Action will facilitate a technical- and programme-level platform for engagement, collaboration and networking activities internationally in a step-wise systematic fashion. Although the main countries of participation with BIC are Brazil, India and South Africa, the project will provide continuity and attempt to bring together a truly global collaboration with the participation of the already established connections with the United States, Japan, Australia, South Korea and Canada.

3. Is it possible for other countries to participate?  Although the BIC project has a fixed budget and scope, we would be willing to discuss with other countries if they felt there was a strong need and mutual benefit for collaboration with the EU research communities engaged in Trustworthy ICT research.

4. Why is there a need for a project like BIC? Within the EU, the CA mechanisms are available for coordination of research activities that are necessary to plan, organise and implement the required events and actions. Otherwise, the supported research projects generally don’t have the resources or capacity available to facilitate the larger scale networking events that are required to be successful. In the case of BIC, there is a considerable need for systematic networking and feedback in order to to gain consensus on difficult but important research questions for collaboration in the EU-International research communities working in the Trustworthy ICT areas.

5. Are there projects similar to the BIC project? Within the EU, there is no similar project dealing directly with international cooperation and specifically Trustworthy ICT on both the programme (funding agencies) and the researcher levels in combination. This makes BIC very unique. There are other international projects dealing in more general terms in ICT that are working closely with BIC  (e.g. IST Africa, EU-Africa ICT-P8, [LATIN]AMERICAS, PACE-Net-Plus, IBE, B-Spice++, etc.). Consequently, there was a special session held at the BIC Annual forum in November 2011 and a BIC Workshop in June 2012 dedicated to taking on board the insights and lessons learned from these similar international cooperation projects that dealt directly or indirectly with Trustworthy ICT topics. There are a number of other Networking, Coordination and Support Action projects in the Unit F5 that are also coordinating and supporting research and policy areas, but they don’t deal specifically with International cooperation areas. Some examples are: Effectsplus, ACTOR, GINI-SA, NESSoS and SysSec. In fact, the BIC project is the coordinator of a cluster organised by the Effectsplus coordination action entitled Networking and Coordination cluster, which involves all Coordination and support action projects and NoEs related to ICT Trust and security and other interested projects/initiatives in a coordinating role. The purpose of this cluster is to ensure that the projects are all well aware of the work of the projects and to make sure there is no overlap and foster better synergy between their ongoing activities.

6. Is it possible to become a partner of BIC? While the BIC project is composed of a fixed consortium as per the rules of the FP7 programme, it is possible to become involved in the BIC project as an active participant to the working groups (WGs) and events that are held either in the BIC countries or in Europe. For example, the BIC Annual Forum.

7. Does BIC provide funding for researchers? As a general rule, most of the involved funding bodies from each individual country already have programmes in place looking at international cooperation, and in the past, they have covered their travel costs related to this type of networking with their counterparts in the EU. Likewise, within the EU, there are usually funding mechanisms available, either through existing project budgets or through each country’s National Contact Point networks (NCPs). The NCPs network participants can be found here. In addition, the BIC meetings will be co-located with other relevant events/workshops in which the members could attend to gain added benefit. The BIC project has allocated budget to cover administrative costs related to the venue, facility management and other organisational aspects and, therefore, would not be in a position to cover the travel costs for the participants.

8. What areas of ‘Trustworthy ICT’ are covered by BIC? In general, the BIC project is very open to hear from the international research communities on the topics of interest. However, it is necessary for the topics to be of significant interest and high priority to the EU research communities engaged in the FP7 research areas of trustworthy ICTs that respect citizens’ rights and protect their privacy and personal data. The EU ambition is to coherently address security, trust and privacy from a technological, economic, legal and social perspective, in an effort to ensure innovation and economic growth in a society providing freedom and security for its citizens. Research priorities are strongly related to the development of the Future Internet and target: trustworthy network and service infrastructures, user-centric identity and privacy management and technologies for secure software development, trusted computing, cryptology and advanced biometrics. Support to interoperability and standardisation is given when appropriate, to strengthen the societal impact of the technology results. Particular attention is paid to the horizontal aspects of trust and security in ICT, by emphasising multidisciplinary research and the relevance of aspects like usability, societal acceptance and economic and legal viability of the research results.

9. What are the Working groups of BIC covering? At the BIC Annual forum in November 2011 and in the preparation leading up to the Annual forum, it was agreed that three working groups would be of benefit to the international research communities.

WG1. Human oriented /citizen trust and security, which as a starting point would focus on the following topics:
• End to end trust assurance for users;
• Usability / user interface designs;
• Addressing prediction, validation and enforcement mechanisms needs and requirements;
• Putting users in control of their data and information;
• Cultural aspects and social norms.
WG2. Network Information security / Cybersecurity, which as a starting point would focus on the following topics:
• International data exchange architecture for cybersecurity;
• Open source trustworthy host platform for collaborative research and education;
• Cryptology;
• Mobile Security of Software Services;
• Joint exercises related to cybersecurity.
WG3. Programme /funding focus/ identify community, which would focus on:
• Identifying stakeholders (contacts in programme management and research communities);
• R&D planning and mapping to technical expertise;
• Raising programme visibility.

10. What is the role of the International Advisory Group (IAG) of BIC? The IAG of BIC is an invitation only membership group composed of both programme management (funding agencies) and research experts. Its role is to strengthen and build upon the EU’s international collaboration base already established in the previous countries from the INCO-Trust project (USA, Canada, Japan, Korea and Australia) and bring them together with the new countries of BIC, namely  Brazil, India and South Africa. In addition, as a collective group, the members will review and advise the project on International collaboration strategy in trustworthy ICT on a regular basis. Their emphasis will be on needs and priorities for international cooperation between the respective research communities, providing directions to the project and recommendations for further actions.

11. Why did the project decide to set up Extended Working Groups (EWGs) in the final year of the project? In the first years of the project, the focus was on more tactical activities e.g. running bi-lateral country to country events, in order to scope the topics for international cooperation. As the project progressed and evolved, moving into the phase where a longer term strategy was being brainstormed, it was suggested by members of the IAG (spearheaded by the India delegation and backed by the International Advisory Group) that BIC’s impact could be greatly enhanced if the foundations to sustain international cooperation were developed by BIC to last beyond the conclusion of the project.

The suggestion was put forward to develop a “Local Interests and Ownership” mechanism to develop a longer term sustainable model that would enable a larger grouping of key researchers to meet on a regular basis to promote their work in a stronger collective voice to their own funding agencies and feed into the wider BIC community. Thus, the concept of setting up in-country EWGs = (Extended Working Groups), shown in the figure below, was brought to the discussions during the BIC June 2012 workshop and further developed and ratified at the BIC IAG Annual Forum in November, 2012.

BIC Extended WGs Structure

An EWG is defined as an ‘in-country’ working group set up in each BIC country, that would have a continual charter, an appropriate support mechanism and a rationale to continue its work effectively after the BIC project concludes. The support would be via the local funding agency “in-country” for the short term until other funding mechanisms could be found (e.g. H2020). The rationale for continuing this work through the EWGs, is to provide assistance to the funding agencies involved when building future research programmes that pertain to international cooperation and trustworthy ICT (although it has been suggested that the concept could be extended to other domains to have a greater scope of coverage in H2020).

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