EU-CIP – The Critical Infrastructure Protection & Resilience Europe (CIPRE) interview

Emilia Gugliandolo, Senior Researcher, Engineering Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A, Italy
and Project Co-ordinator at EU-CIP


The main goal of EU-CIP is to establish a novel pan European knowledge network for Resilient Infrastructures, which will enable policy makers to shape and produce data-driven evidence-based policies, while boosting the innovation capacity of Critical Infrastructures (CI) operators, authorities, and innovators (including SMEs).

In this direction, the partners have already established the European Cluster for Securing Critical infrastructures (ECSCI), which brings together 22 projects that collaborate in CI Resilience.

EU-CIP will leverage the capacity, organization, community, and achievements of the ECSCI cluster towards establishing an EU-wide knowledge network with advanced analytical and innovation support capabilities.

Ben Lane, CIPRE event manager, met Emilia Gugliandolo, Senior Researcher, Engineering Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A, Italy and Project Co-ordinator at EU-CIP

The following is a transcription of their conversation.

Ben Lane (BL): Please describe the ultimate purpose and goals of the EU-CIP project.

Emilia Gugliandolo (EG): The EU-CIP project is funded by the European Commission to strengthen security research and innovation. It is a three-year funded project. It started in October 2022 and runs until September 2025. The EU-CIP consortium has 20 partners, including the coordinator of a recent European project, dealing with critical infrastructure and resilient infrastructure. This coordinator is part of the ECSCI cluster that is a European cluster for securing critical infrastructure. So, the project is a natural evolution of this cluster.

To understand the surrounding landscape, we have to consider that innovation and policy development for resilience infrastructure and critical infrastructure protection is a complex process that involves many stakeholders, and must analyze a very rich set of data and information from different sources. So, some of the main challenges that European policy makers and innovators have to deal with is the need of reducing information fragmentation, in terms of security technologies, policy, standards and so on, and also overseeing the continuous and structured analysis and evidence-based policy-making to ensure a unique ecosystem to engage all relevant stakeholders in this landscape.

The main goal of the EU-CIP is to establish a novel pan-European knowledge network for resilience infrastructure, which will enable policymakers to shape and produce data-driven evidence, while boosting the innovation capacity of critical infrastructures for operators, authorities, innovators including small and medium enterprise startups. And this network will produce insights and foresight on critical infrastructure protection, research and innovation activities, to help policymaker’s operators, innovators in their innovation development activities. In particular, the consortium will base its work on three main pillars:

Pillar one is EU-CIP’s analysis in Europe’s analytical capability regarding research outcome, technology policies and to foster data-driven evidence-based policy and innovation development. So, the EU-CIP project continuously collects and analyzes raw data and information towards producing foresight insights and knowledge. The information collected is mainly focused on security research activities and outcomes, security solution and technologies, policy and infrastructure, security, resilience policies, standard and so on.

Pillar two is EU-CIP’s role to maximize the impact of the research and innovation activities in Europe, through innovation support and solution validation services. So, EU-CIP will provide innovation support services to innovators, such as small medium enterprise and startups to support them in identifying unique selling points, business plans and to commercialize their products. Finally, we will offer a test bed for experimentation with standard-based solution and certification projects.

Pillar three is the EU-CIP ecosystem will establish a knowledge hub and create a vibrant ecosystem of interested stakeholders. So, there will be a pool of different knowledge assets that will be integrated in the knowledge hub. This hub will be a unique point of access to all the resources produced in EU-CIP; in particular a directory of policies, standard directory of technologists, research outcomes, research and innovation projects, training material, white papers and so on. Also, we will establish these communities and ecosystems around the analytical services and innovation support services.

BL: In the past you talked about KPIs (key performance indicators) and how you measure success. Can you provide an overview of how you are measuring the success of this project?

EG: Community-building KPIs, production of support resources, and access to these knowledge resources are very important for us. In the EU-CIP, we have a key indicator framework that will provide the means for monitoring the activities, the achievement, the performance and the success of the project. In particular, we will have different kind of indicators; some indicators are linked to the project goals and the objective to evaluate the extent to which the project has met the stated objectives and targets.

Then we will have some project performance KPIs around structuring and monitoring the analytical capability of the project, in particular, our KPI related to the scheduled performance, scope performance, quality performance, risk management. And then, we will have another set of indicators known as impact indicators, which are fundamental to assess who is using the results, and their purpose. This indicator demonstrates the usage and appreciation of results by user.

So, by using a combination of these indicators, we can obtain insight into the satisfaction and the value that we will provide to the user. For example, we have a quantitative indicator for the number of people registered in the Knowledge Hub, the engagement, in terms of download of material, and participation and satisfaction of the experience. All of these indicators and the KPI framework will help us to assess the success of the project. And these indicators will be regularly monitored.

BL: The project is funded until 2025, so what happens then? What’s the next stage?

EG: EU-CIP is expected to continue its operation and activities because the project completion doesn’t imply the termination of our activity. It marks only the end of its initial funding period. So, key outcomes of the EU-SIP project, like the Knowledge Hub will be taken on by a critical infrastructure partner, in order to maintain it and offer a continuous information site.

So, all the knowledge resources, all the deliverables, such as our efforts, our white papers, sectorial studies, roadmaps will be disseminated. The project team may continue to update and maintain the online observatory of the EU-CIP.

Also, we have to consider the policy impact and the implementation, because the project policy recommendation and roadmap can potentially influence policy-making and the decision-making processes at the European, national and regional level. So, we have to consider this aspect.

BL: How will the exploitation stage of this project develop in the future? And, is there space for other organizations to still join the consortium?

EG: EU-CIP collaborator organizations and partners will benefit by establishing a strong brand name in the community, exploiting individual assets of the project, such as training, innovation, support, consulting services and reinforcing research and innovation projects. But also, there will be training in commercialization to gain a better understanding of the commercial partners, their activities and to provide them support.

In general, the consortium is closed, but EU-CIP is open to the engagement of supporting critical infrastructure operators, vendor solution providers, policy-makers and research project research initiatives. We already have established the ECSCI cluster, so, we are open to this type of collaboration and involvement of other organizations.

BL: Thank you and we look forward to hearing you speak at CIPRE 2023 in Prague, in the session: EU Horizon Projects Overview session, Thursday October 5th 2023.