SPS Programme History

The origins of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme date back to 1958, when the NATO Science Programme was founded. At that time, one of the Programme’s major goals was to promote the training of scientists within NATO countries. Over its long history, the SPS Programme has constantly adapted to the demands of the times and has become an established brand for the Alliance. In response to the changing security environment of the 21st century, the Programme’s mission today is to address emerging security challenges and promote cooperative security with NATO’s partners through practical cooperation based on security-related civil science, technology, innovation, and beyond. This timeline of the history and evolution of the SPS Programme has been realized with kind support from the NATO Archive’s Committee.

SPS TELEMEDICINE PROJECT PART OF EADRCC FIELD EXERCISE IN UKRAINE

In September 2015, a Consequence management field exercise, jointly organized by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) and the State Emergency Service (SES) of Ukraine, took place in Lviv, Ukraine. A major NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) project developing a Multinational Telemedicine System was successfully live tested during the exercise in a field environment. It was the first time that independent national telemedicine systems were connected and interacted to provide medical support in a disaster situation. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko visited a demonstration of the SPS Telemedicine project on 21 September 2015.

SPS AT NATO EXERCISE CAPABLE LOGISTICIAN

During Exercise Capable Logistician 2015 NATO tested a range of energy-efficient solutions in an effort to cut cost while enhancing interoperability and military effectiveness. The exercise took place at Bakony Combat Training Centre near Veszprem, Hungary. 30 experts from defence agencies and research institutes participated in a NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) funded workshop as part of the exercise. They provided input and recommendations on how to make best use of smart energy in the armed forces.

INAUGURAL MEETING OF NATO COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE FOR PEACE AND SECURITY

In 2006, the current Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme was established after the merger of the two Committees (Science Committee and the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society). The new NATO Committee on Science for Peace and Security (SPS) held its inaugural meeting on 20 October 2006.

NATO CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF SCIENCE ACTIVITIES

NATO celebrates 50 years of science activities.

SPS PROGRAMME IS TRANSFERRED TO EMERGING SECURITY CHALLENGES DIVISION (ESC)

On 1 November 2010, the SPS Programme and its staff were transferred from the Public Diplomacy Division to the Emerging Security Challenges Division (ESC). In June of the same year, the Science for Peace and Security Committee was disbanded and the Political and Partnerships Committee (PPC) became the forum for the discussion of SPS award recommendations and for providing strategic and political guidance for the SPS Programme. It was also in 2010, that SPS Programme was opened for collaboration to experts in the countries participating in NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.

CREATION OF INDEPENDENT SCIENTIFIC EVALUATION GROUP

A new structure for the SPS Programme is approved by the PPC with the aim of increasing further the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the Programme. During this restructuring, the multi-disciplinary Independent Scientific Evaluation Group (ISEG) was created to replace the four advisory panels previously used for scientific assessment. Moreover, grant mechanisms were reduced from seven to three categories used today: multi-year projects, workshops and training.

NATO SCIENCE COMMITTEE MEETS IN BRUSSELS

The NATO Science Committee met in Brussels on 11 and 12 March 2004 and approved a number of new elements to be included in the Security Through Science Programme. Reintegration Grants for Partner-country scientists currently working in NATO countries were introduced as a new support mechanism; areas of priority research were selected by Partner countries; and stipends for laboratory assistance services were introduced for Security Through Science projects and for experts responsible for setting up computer networking infrastructure grants.

SPS OVERARCHING GUIDELINES ARE APPROVED

In October 2013, the SPS Overarching Guidelines were approved to ensure that all prior political and strategic guidance for the SPS Programme was interpreted in line with the present political and strategic aims of Allies. As a result of these guidelines, the SPS Programme broadened its scope to include activities beyond pure scientific cooperation, while preserving an important scientific dimension of the Programme. Moreover, it was decided that the SPS Programme would aim to increasingly promote larger scale and more strategic activities with a view to enhancing the political impact of NATO’s partnerships and the public diplomacy impact.

REPORT ON SPS FINANCIAL & PERFORMANCE AUDIT ISSUED

In 2014, the SPS Programme underwent a comprehensive financial and performance audit by the International Board of Auditors of NATO (IBAN). In its report, the IBAN concluded that the Science for Peace and Security Programme objectives reflect NATO's overall goals and objectives and that the programme is effectively managed. The report also identified three recommendations on further improving the SPS Programme. On 30 April 2015, the NAC noted these conclusions and recommendations of the IBAN Report on the SPS Programme.

NATO FOREIGN MINISTERS SUSPEND PRACTICAL CIVILIAN AND MILITARY COOPERATION BETWEEN NATO AND RUSSIA

In response to Russia’s illegal military intervention in Ukraine and Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, NATO Foreign Ministers at their meeting in April 2014 decided to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia, while maintaining a political dialogue at ambassadorial level. As a result of this political guidance, no new SPS activities with Russia have been launched since. At the same time, SPS cooperation with Ukraine and other Eastern partners was stepped up significantly, making Ukraine the major beneficiary of the SPS Programme in 2014

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