NATO Science for Peace and Security 2024

The text below is copied from various pages – NATO – Science for Peace and Security – please always consult the most updated pages.

The SPS Programme is currently accepting proposals for SPS-supported Multi-Year Projects and Events. Click here to read the text of the 2024-2 SPS call for proposals, and follow the link below to start drafting your proposal.

The Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme promotes dialogue and practical cooperation between NATO member states and partner countries based on scientific research, technological innovation and knowledge exchange. The SPS Programme offers funding, expert advice and support to tailor-made, civil security-relevant activities that respond to NATO’s strategic objectives.

The SPS Programme supports scientific cooperation through established grant mechanisms that provide funding for multi-year projects and events. Supported events include advanced research workshops (ARWs), advanced study institutes (ASIs) and advanced training courses (ATCs). All SPS-funded activities fit within one of these formats.

The Programme supports both ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ activities. While the former are initiated by NATO International Staff in cooperation with Allies and/or partner countries, the latter are submitted directly to the SPS Programme by independent scientists and experts themselves in response to calls for proposals advertised on the SPS website.

To be eligible for SPS support, any application must be developed jointly by project directors from at least one NATO member country and one partner country. Applications must also directly address at least one of the SPS key priorities and have a clear link to security. Each application received by the SPS Programme undergoes a comprehensive, multi-phase evaluation and peer review process that takes into account expert, scientific and political guidance.

This process ensures that all SPS applications approved for funding have been thoroughly evaluated for their scientific merit and security impact by NATO experts, independent scientists and NATO member countries in the Partnerships and Cooperative Security Committee (PCSC).

The NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme enhances security-related civil science and technology to address emerging security challenges and their impact on international security. It connects scientists, experts and officials from NATO and its Partner nations to address these challenges through scientific research, technological innovation, and exchange of expertise and know-how. All SPS activities contribute to the Alliance’s Strategic Objectives, as defined in the NATO Strategic Concept and in the NATO Partnership Policy, and arising from high-level political meetings. Initiatives supported by the Programme tackle a set of Allied-approved Key Priorities, which reflect current developments in the international security environment and in NATO’s political priorities. Moreover, SPS activities encourage cooperation between research communities in NATO countries and NATO Partner nations, as each of them must be led by project directors from at least one NATO and one Partner country. SPS supports scientific cooperation through established grant mechanisms that provide funding for Multi-Year Projects and Events. Supported Events include Advanced Research Workshops (ARW), Advanced Study Institutes (ASI), and Advanced Training Courses (ATC).

How to apply?

SPS only accepts applications in line with the SPS grant mechanisms, and in response to calls for proposals advertised on this website. Before starting a new SPS application, potential applicants should ensure that they meet eligibility criteria and requirements for the management of a potential SPS grant.

Specific requirements for the development of new applications are outlined in each call for proposals, the management handbooks and relevant documentation. As handbooks are regularly updated, potential applicants should make use exclusively of their most recent version.

  • General eligibility criteria
    Applications for funding must be developed jointly by a NATO country Project Director (NPD) and a Partner country Project Director (PPD). To be deemed eligible for funding, proposals submitted to the SPS Programme must:
    • contribute towards NATO’s Strategic Objectives and have a clear link to security;address at least one of the SPS Key Priorities;involve only individuals who are nationals of a NATO member country or a NATO Partner country;be led by an NPD who is resident and employed in a NATO member country, and a PPD who is resident and employed in a NATO Partner nation;be developed and implemented by co-directors affiliated with a government, academic, or other non-profit institutions. For-profit private companies are not eligible for SPS funding;include realistic plans and budgets;be developed and managed in alignment with rules and regulations outlined in relevant SPS handbooks.
    Individual applicants should note that they may not hold more than one SPS grant at a time. Prospective co-directors should ensure that any other SPS activity directed by either of them is formally closed before applying.
    Please refer to the SPS calls for proposals and related documents for more detailed information on eligibility.
  • Eligible countries
    Find below an overview of the countries eligible for participation in SPS activities. Only nationals of the countries listed below are eligible to submit, manage and participate in SPS-supported activities.
    NATO countries: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, the Republic of North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Türkiye, United Kingdom, United States.
    Eligible NATO Partners: Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Malta, Mauritania, the Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, Qatar, Serbia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan.
  • SPS calls for proposals
    The Programme may publish calls in two formats:
    • Open Calls encourage applications addressing any of the SPS Key Priorities.Special Calls invite applications addressing specific priorities and themes of particular relevance at the time of publication of the call.
    Each SPS call welcomes applications in line with all of the SPS grant mechanisms, unless otherwise specified.The SPS Programme launches up to three calls for proposals per year. When available, calls for proposals are published on the SPS website and advertised via the Programme’s newsletter and social media accounts.
    Only complete applications submitted by the deadline specified in the call for proposals may be considered for support. Data pertaining to incomplete applications will be lost after the deadline.
  • How to submit an application
    As from November 2023, proposals must be submitted to the SPS Programme via the SPS grant platform.
    Interested applicants must:
    • Register an account on the SPS grant platform.Find the grant mechanism for which they want to apply.Click on “Start application” to access the application form.
    All relevant documents required to submit a complete application are accessible via the application form on the SPS grant platform. They are also available for download from this page of the SPS website.For queries prior to the submission of an application, potential applicants may contact SPS at The Programme endeavours to support potential applicants in the submission of sound proposals fitting within the scope of the Programme’s activities.
    • As each application undergoes a thorough review process, a decision on funding can take up to nine months following an application deadline. It is important to take this into consideration when proposing dates for an activity.
    • For SPS Multi-Year Projects applications: If your project would require more than EUR 400,000, please first send to a one-page abstract of your proposal, with an estimated budget, in order to evaluate whether such a project would fit in the overall portfolio of SPS before a full application is developed.

Key Priorities

All activities supported by the SPS Programme must address one or more of the SPS Key Priorities (listed below, without any indication of priority). Each activity must also have a clear link to security and to NATO’s Strategic Objectives.
The priority areas for the SPS Programme focus on contemporary security challenges, and are based on NATO’s Strategic Concept agreed by Allies at the November 2010 Lisbon Summit, and on the Strategic Objectives of NATO’s Partner Relations agreed in Berlin in April 2011.

1. Facilitate mutually beneficial cooperation on issues of common interest, including international efforts to meet emerging security challenges

  1. Counter-Terrorism
    • Methods for the protection of critical infrastructure, supplies and personnel;
    • Human factors in the defence against terrorism;
    • Detection technologies against the terrorist threat of explosive devices and other illicit activities;
    • Risk management, best practices and technologies in response to terrorism.
  2. Energy Security
    • Innovative energy solutions for the military; battlefield energy solutions; renewable energy solutions with military applications;
    • Energy infrastructure security;
    • Maritime aspects of energy security;
    • Technological aspects of energy security.
  3. Cyber Defence
    • Critical infrastructure protection, including sharing of best practices, capacity building and policies;
    • Support in developing cyber defence capabilities, including new technologies and support to the construction of information technology infrastructure;
    • Cyber defence situation awareness.
  4. Defence against Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Agents
    • Methods and technology to protect against, diagnose effects of, detect, decontaminate, destruct, dispose and contain CBRN agents;
    • Risk management and recovery strategies and technologies;
    • Medical countermeasures against CBRN agents.
  5. Environmental Security
    • Security issues arising from key environmental and resource constraints, including health risks, climate change, water scarcity and increasing energy needs, which have the potential to significantly affect NATO’s planning and operations;
    • Disaster forecasting and prevention of natural catastrophes;
    • Defence-related environmental issues.

2. Enhance support for NATO-led operations and missions

  • Provision of civilian support through SPS Key Priorities;
  • Provision of access to information through internet connectivity as in the SILK-Afghanistan Programme;
  • Cultural and social aspects in military operations and missions;
  • Enhancing cooperation with other international actors.

3. Enhance awareness of security developments including through early warning, with a view to preventing crises

  1. Security-related Advanced Technology
    • Emerging technologies including nanotechnology, optical technology, micro satellites, metallurgy and the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms.
  2. Border and Port Security
    • Border and port security technology;
    • Cross-border communication systems and data fusion;
    • Expert advice and assessments of border security needs and best practices.
  3. Mine and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Detection and Clearance
    • Development and provision of advanced technologies, methodologies and best practices;
    • Solutions to counter improvised explosive devices (IED).
  4. Human and Social Aspects of Security related to NATO’s Strategic Objectives

4. Any project clearly linked to a threat to security not otherwise defined in these priorities may also be considered for funding under the SPS Programme

Such proposals will be examined for links to NATO’s Strategic Objectives (e.g. in the field of hybrid challenges).

Interested applicants must develop a collaborative activity that fits within one of the formats listed below and meets at least one SPS Key Priority. All SPS activities must be developed and managed following the guidance provided in the SPS Handbooks for Multi-Year Projects and Events. 

Multi-Year Projects (MYP)

  • What: Multi-Year Projects (MYP) are Research and Development (R&D) projects that enable scientists from NATO and its Partner nations to collaborate on applied R&D and capacity building projects that result in new civil science advancements with practical application in the security and defence fields. MYPs enable participants to increase contacts in scientific communities while building a stronger scientific infrastructure in their home countries. Sustainability is ensured through the involvement of end-users offering advice and guidance throughout the lifetime of the projects with the aim of taking up and implementing the results. Projects involving more than one NATO country and one Partner nation are encouraged, as is the participation of early stage researchers.
  • Duration: Projects have a typical duration of 24 to 36 months.
  • Budget: Typically EUR 250,000-400,000 over the entire duration of the project. NATO SPS funds support project-specific costs linked to specific milestones, and may cover costs such as scientific equipment, computers, software and training of project personnel. MYP grants support early stage researchers through stipends, and can co-finance personnel costs of staff involved in the project.

Advanced Research Workshops (ARW)

  • What: Advanced Research Workshops (ARW) provide a platform for experts and scientists from different countries to share their experience and knowledge on security-related topics. ARWs also serve to formulate recommendations and conclusions for policy or further study, and to foster partnerships among experts from different countries, often leading to the formation of new research collaborations.
  • Duration: 2-5 working days.
  • Target Audience: 20-50 participants.
  • Budget: Typically EUR 30,000-40,000. The SPS grant is intended to cover direct organizational expenses of the ARW, the travel and living expenses of key speakers, as well as the attendance of non-speakers from NATO member countries and Partner nations unable to obtain support from other sources.

Advanced Study Institutes (ASI)

  • What: Advanced Study Institutes (ASI) are high-level tutorial courses conveying the latest developments in topics of relevance for NATO and the SPS Key Priorities to an advanced-level audience.
  • Duration: 7-10 working days.
  • Target Audience: 60-80 pre- and post-doctoral level scientists with relevant backgrounds in the subject matter of the course. Early stage researchers from NATO Partner nations are especially encouraged to attend.
  • Budget: On average EUR 60,000. The SPS grant pays for direct organizational costs, travel and living expenses for up to 15 lecturers, and for the attendance of students from countries eligible to receive NATO SPS funding.

Advanced Training Courses (ATC)

  • What: Advanced Training Courses (ATC) are tailor-made, modular courses designed to enable specialists in NATO countries to share their security-related expertise in one of the SPS Key Priority areas. ATCs are not intended to be lecture-driven, but to be intensive, interactive and practical in nature. Courses contribute to the training of experts in Partner nations and enable the formation and strengthening of international expert networks.
  • Target Audience: 20-50 trainees primarily from Partner nations. These trainees are chosen on the basis of their qualifications and experience, and the benefit they may draw from the ATC in their future activities.
  • Duration: 5-7 working days.
  • Budget: On average EUR 60,000. The SPS grant covers direct organizational costs, travel and living expenses of all specialists, and attendance costs of trainees from countries eligible to receive NATO funding.

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