Grants for advanced cybersecurity research team excellence


This grants Programme started in January 2018 and ended in March 2021.

Programme Details

The initiative to launch these grants for advanced cybersecurity research team excellence emerged to meet the current need to retain and attract cybersecurity-research talent, in the framework of the Trust in the Digital Domain Plan  (arising from the Digital agenda for Spain) through measures 19 (Advanced Research Team) and 25 (Network of excellence on cybersecurity R&D&i). Although the Trust in the Digital Domain Plan has currently finished, this initiative was being continued within INCIBE’s actions backed by the Secretaría de Estado de Digitalización e Inteligencia Artificial (SEDIA).

The aim of this call was to drive forward these measures supporting teams and/or centres of advanced research in the field of cybersecurity, such as universities or public research bodies with the goal to reinforce their capabilities and boosting their level of research excellence in cybersecurity

An executive dossier schematically explain the particular features of the grant programme. The dossier includes the main characteristics.

Generally speaking, these grants aimed to contribute to reinforcing advanced research teams in cybersecurity in order to boost their R&D&i programmes and strategic actions that strengthen their capacities and may bring together different lines of scientific-technical research, promoting specialisation in this field with groups that were highly internationally competitive, contributing to increase scientific leadership, the ability to attract and retain talent and the role as a driver in the whole Spanish cybersecurity ecosystem.

The main objective was that R&D&I research centres were able to use the grant to hire new investigators. R&D&I centers are understood to be those whose purpose is to promote scientific and / or technical research activities and which dedícate, at least, part of their activity to conducting research in the field of cybersecurity.

Implicitly, this program created professionals in the sector and fostered the talent of both young PhD students and doctorates. In this way, it was possible to promote an increase in cybersecurity knowledge at different levels, thus increasing the level of global cyberresilience.

The opinion of the research ecosystem

In order to specify the parameters of this aid programme and achieve a better focus and adaptation to the needs of the national cybersecurity research ecosystem, an online questionnaire was sent to collect information prior to the launch of this programme. The questionnaire was received by 120 national technology centers that carry out their research activity in the field of cybersecurity.

Based on the results obtained, a Informe de Resultados del Cuestionario del Programa de Ayudas was prepared.

Cybersecurity is a field in continuous growth, evolution and transformation that requires innovative solutions to face new threats. The cybersecurity sector needs to have specialized teams of researchers who can respond to new challenges in cybersecurity in order for them to materialize into effective solutions for end users.

Along these lines, the need to attract and retain research talent in cybersecurity was detected by increasing the number of professionals in this sector at different levels. For this reason, the call promoted research in cybersecurity and reinforced the existing R&D&I centres that had research teams dedicated to this discipline.

Grant categories included in the Programme

Two categories of grants were offered (not mutually exclusive) to each R&D&i centre:

  • Category A: Call for grants for pre-doctoral contracts. With a duration of 3 years, they were aimed at the training of doctors, it means research personnel in training who wanted to carry out a doctoral thesis related to cybersecurity.
  • Category B: Call for grants for access contracts to the Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation System. With a duration of 2 years, they were aimed at promoting the incorporation of PhDs to research teams that had a research trajectory oriented towards cybersecurity.

Related documents

Programme infographic

Click on the image to see the main features of the Programme.