European universities’ cooperation with Israel in EU security research programs

The European Union has several reseach cooperation funding programs, which are open to some non-EU countries including Israel. Israel’s participation in the Framework Programmes, the EU’s main seven-year R&I funding instruments, and in particular the participation of its military and security industry ands its participation in the security themed parts of these programmes has been criticized many times. In 2018 the European Network Against Arms Trade (ENAAT) was one of the signatories of a call to “immediately exclude all Israeli military and security companies from the EU framework programs”.

Total funding for Israeli entities under Framework Programme 7 (2007-2013 – €879 million), Horizon 2020 (2014-2020 – €1.28 billion) and Horizon Europe (2021-2027 – €503 million until 2023) adds up to over €2.6 billion.

In April 2023 the The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine published the briefing ‘Horizon Europe: Funding death, displacement & discrimination in Palestine‘ about Israel’s involvement in the current Horizon Europe programme. The briefing concludes that “European Union research subsidies have been a crucial source of funding for Israeli academic institutions, businesses, and government agencies, including many military companies, that are deeply involved in human rights abuses and international law violations – including entities operating in, and profiting from, illegal Israeli settlements.”

Recent Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe projects in which European universities cooperate with Israeli entities include:

  • LAW-TRAIN, which aimed to develop, coordinate and train in international police interrogation methods. The Portuguese Ministry of Justice withdrew from the project in response to criticism of the participation of Israel’s Police and Ministry of Public Security.
  • MEDEA, to set up a network of security services in the Mediterannean and Black Sea region for responding to security challenges.
  • PERCEPTIONS, which aimed to provide EU policy-makers with advise on how to deter people on the move from migrating to Europe.
  • POLIIICE, which “aims to advance European law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to novel LI, investigation and intelligence methods that can effectively investigate crime and terrorism”.
  • ROXANNE, developing a law enforcement agencies platform to combine new speech technologies, face recognition and network analysis to facilitate identification. The project raised concern about the possible use of its results for mass surveillance purposes.

Stop Wapenhandel made an overview of all the cooperation under FP7, Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe with the three major Israeli arms companies (Elbit, IAI and Rafael) and with the Israeli Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Public Security (including non-security related projects) for European higher education establishments (excluding military, police and security academies) and all the security-related research projects under the same three programmes with the involvement of Israeli entities and European higher education establishments (excluding military, police and security academies).

Note: we listed all security research projects, several of which are about for example disaster response or health issues and not all included Israeli entities might directly ring alarm bells. We advise you to do your own research before using these lists for campaigns and actions, the tables include links to the official project pages. The call of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement clearly asks for “broad boycotts and [to] implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era”. This includes an economic boycott “to put pressure on Israel to comply with international law and to persuade private companies to end their participation in Israel’s crimes” and an academic boycott, as “Israeli universities have played a key role in planning, implementing and justifying Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies, while maintaining a uniquely close relationship with the Israeli military”.

Click on the country names for an overview of the cooperation – Last update: 29 April 2024

CyprusGermanyLuxembourgSlovakiaUnited Kingdom
Czech RepublicGreeceNetherlandsSlovenia

Comprehensive overviews of cooperation in online spreadsheets:

For further research we refer to the Open Security database and the R&I Organisations Profiles dashboard of the EU itself.

This research was made possible by financial support from the Leonhard-Woltjer Stichting