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Laurea to coordinate a significant EU project focusing on hybrid threats

The five-year EU-HYBNET project received the EU’s Horizon2020 funding.

Hybrid influencing and other hybrid threats have been identified in Europe as a considerable factor affecting safety and security. Hybrid threats refer to multi-channel influencing where a governmental or non-governmental actors aims to impact the functioning of society. Examples of hybrid threats include cyber attacks, information influencing or economical, political or military pressure.

The Empowering a Pan-European Network to Counter Hybrid Threats (acronym EU-HYBNET) project will be launched in the spring of 2020. It is the first European project that focuses specifically on the preparation for and defending against hybrid threats, as well as on the development and building of an European network for the sector.

The EU-HYBNET project, funded by the European Commission’s Horizon2020 programme, spans five years and has a total budget of EUR 3.5 million. Laurea’s share of the funding received is approximately EUR 450,000, and Laurea will be coordinating the project.

The project’s main partner is the European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats located in Helsinki. In addition to Laurea and the Hybrid CoE, the project participants include 23 other organisations from 16 different European countries.

-    The objective of the project is to strengthen the European cooperation network that disseminates information on hybrid influencing and builds capability against hybrid threats, says Päivi Mattila, Laurea’s Head of Security Research Program, who coordinated the preparation for the project.


Hybrid influencing can take a number of forms (see Figure). Defending against them incorporates various areas of safety and security:

-    Hybrid influencing is a new kind of security threat which aims to influence the opinions and sense of security of people, and through that weaken their trust in society, Mattila says.
-    The common denominators in hybrid influencing include the fact that it happens little by little and that those who commit it are very difficult to identify.

In the recent years, Laurea University of Applied Sciences has succeeded well in European Commission project funding applications. Safety and security are one of the strategic research areas in Laurea’s research, development and innovation activities.

-    With regard to the EU-HYBNET project starting soon, we at Laurea can be particularly proud of us having been invited to coordinate the project. It is a testament to the trust placed in our expertise, says Mattila, Head of Security Research Program.

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