Trilateral Insights – October 2023

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Trilateral Research |

Date: 12 October 2023

Get the latest insights from across Trilateral in our new monthly article, featuring the latest developments from across our innovation, research and project teams.

Insights | Health

Making public transport more accessible benefits everybody

A recent study we conducted in the  EU-funded TRIPS project found that making public transport more accessible could increase use across all demographics, not just people with mobility issues.

These results should be leveraged to boost public investment in accessibility upgrades and encourage collaborations between disability advocates and groups fighting for other goals, such as emissions reductions. Our white paper includes policy recommendations on incorporating accessibility information into travel planning tools and ensuring new investments in transit upgrades meet the needs of multiple groups, identified in studies like this.

Read more about the study in this article.


Analysing COVID-19 risks and vulnerabilities

On 7 September, our COVINFORM project team, who were awarded Invest in Ireland’s Best Use of R&D prize last February, were invited to the RESPOND project’s event on promoting pandemic preparedness.

We presented the ‘COVINFORM dashboard’, a quantitative and qualitative data-based model our research and data science teams developed. Its unique features allow end-users, such as researchers, academics, policy makers and the public to:

  • Explore data generated from 100+ national datasets on the threat of COVID-19 vulnerabilities, consequences, and resilience factors to calculate risk scores and rankings for the EU and the UK,
  • Visualise economic, health, socio-demographic and environmental indicators to understand their contributions to public health crises,
  • Analyse the COVID-19 epidemiological data relating to deaths, cases and vaccination,
  • Access resources exploring various dimensions of vulnerability during the COVID-19 crisis and learn from those most at-risk communities through our case study analysis.

Find out more about the dashboard here.


Ethical data sharing in medical contexts will benefit society

Enhancing collaboration and data sharing across the public and private sectors can enable greater awareness of diseases, thus improving outcomes in a variety of medical fields. In 2022, we shared findings from our research in the health domain in response to the UK parliament’s call for evidence on the need for sharing data in medical contexts.

Our research in the iToBoS, COVINFORM and STAMINA EU-funded projects has demonstrated how effective data sharing between government and industry can be beneficial. Whilst there are risks associated with such data sharing, if appropriate safeguards are implemented to ensure that patient privacy is respected, the government can gain the maximum benefit from sharing digital data.

With respect to the UK Government’s data strategy, we support the introduction of an appropriate lawful basis for research, greater clarity on anonymisation, and the inclusion of robust technical and organisational measures to safeguard data-subjects.

You can read the full response here.



Insights | Data Science, Research and Sociotech Innovation

How does the media influence public perception of emerging technologies?

The media both reflect and shape public perception of emerging technologies. Last year, we developed a data analytics approach to analyse online discourse of three families of emerging technologies studied in the TechEthos project: climate engineering, digital extended reality, and neurotechnology. Exploring this media representation has given us insight into the way the media represents these technologies and a better understanding of public perception and awareness of them.

Our data collection and data analysis covered the media discourse in 13 different countries and in 10 different languages. This allowed us to understand the dominant themes being discussed and what ethical, legal, or social issues are highlighted in the news stories discussing these technologies.

Our findings indicated that digital extended reality (‘virtual reality’ in particular) is the family of technologies most prevalent in the media discourse, with ‘society’, ‘security’, and ‘privacy’ being the most frequently mentioned topics. This was the case for all countries, except for Germany and Austria where climate technologies (although not climate engineering specifically) were the most discussed.

The full analysis is available here.



Insights | Ethics, Human Rights and Emerging Technologies

Virtual worlds and metaverses – how can we protect fundamental rights?

This May we submitted our response to the European Commission’s (EC) call for evidence on virtual worlds and metaverses. Our response builds on key results and insights from the EU-funded DARLENE, MEMENTOES, and TechEthos projects and includes a series of recommendations to ensure users’ fundamental rights are respected. We recommended that the EC should:

  • Promote EU fundamental rights and encourage the adoption of ethics-by-design and privacy-by-design approaches,
  • Evaluate measures to strengthen compliance with and enforcement of existing legislation, particularly the GDPR, and ensure that companies do not process the data collected without users’ explicit consent,
  • Regulate and monitor the emerging market of virtual worlds to achieve greater competitiveness and diverse innovation,
  • Create an environment where virtual worlds address interoperability, transparency, and accountability considerations,
  • Encourage streamlining of public and private sector data protection and cybersecurity initiatives to promote a unified response to security vulnerabilities in virtual worlds.

Read our full response to learn more.



Insights | Climate, Environment and Energy

Can standards support a more sustainable use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers in agriculture?

Recently, we carried out a gap analysis for standards in the field of precision agriculture to support the development of some of the EU-funded PestNu project technologies. PestNu aims to revolutionise technology and farming practice using artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain in order to reduce dependence on pesticides and fertilisers and increase food affordability for all.

Standards serve a variety of purposes. They can help bridge gaps between regulation and implementation by providing guidelines for manufacturers to achieve regulatory requirements and best practices.

Our analysis showed that the PestNu project would make the most impact by contributing to the development of standards related to plant biostimulants and fertilisers, as well as AI and blockchain, as this is an area where the project is making an innovative contribution.

Read our report on standards in agriculture.



Insights | Crisis and Security

Addressing the operational needs of crisis management practitioners

In the EU-funded STRATEGY project, we assessed the ethical, societal, and privacy issues to be considered in the development of pre-standards within the field of crisis management, as well as the issues that may arise in their future implementation and what measures can be taken to mitigate and avoid unwanted negative impact to societal values or risks to fundamental rights.

The project’s researchers have created 11 CEN Workshop Agreements (CWAs) and 2 Technical Specifications (TSs) (pre-standardisation processes supporting the development of standards) for eight streams within crisis management, which may go on to be adopted as standards across the EU. Our assessment supported the development of these CWAs and TSs by:

  • increasing awareness around standards in the crisis management field,
  • ensuring that the standard development process is inclusive,
  • making sure that standards are not difficult to understand and interpret by end-users and entities that are affected by them, thus making the standardisation processes more accessible to interested stakeholders,
  • putting in place procedures that will enable the implementation of standards in the future,
  • preventing any adverse effect standards may have, especially on SMEs.

Learn more about our ethical impact assessment approach in STRATEGY here.



Insights | Law Enforcement and Community Safeguarding

Helping practitioners engage with children from families with links to violent extremism

Frontline practitioners in Europe increasingly encounter children raised in families with links to violent extremism, including children from right-wing extremist families, and often require training and advice to better support these children and their families.

As part of our work on the recently completed EU-funded PREPARE project, we developed a comprehensive Train-the-Trainer handbook to support the work of these practitioners. The handbook will increase professionals’ recognition of some of the unique experiences that children may have, when an immediate family member is involved in violent extremism, to better identify their needs.

You can download the Train-the-Trainer handbook here.



Insights | Cybersecurity  

Understanding what drives cybercriminal behaviour

Combating cybercrime starts with understanding the technical and human factors that drive cybercriminal behaviour.

Over the past three years, we coordinated the CC-DRIVER project, which ended in April and aimed to better understand the human and technical drivers of cybercriminality with a special focus on the factors that lead young people to cybercrime.

Spanning such fields as psychology, criminology, anthropology, neurobiology and cyberpsychology, CC-DRIVER

  • produced over 40 reports with insights to support law enforcement agencies and policymakers in tackling cybercrime, ​​​
  • surveyed 8000 young people from eight EU countries to better understand their behaviour and attitude towards cybercrime, 46% of which said they had already committed some form of cybercrime,
  • created a unique online questionnaire that young people, and the organisations that serve them, can use to assess their vulnerability to cybercrime,
  • researched methods to prevent, investigate and mitigate cybercriminal behaviour and made recommendations to assess the socio-economic impact of cybercrime.

For more insights into the results of the project, read this article.



If you’d like to find out more about the ground breaking research and development we’re involved in, visit our website. If you’d like to find out more about how we could support your organisation with research and development, get in touch.

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