Łukasiewicz – PORT is the leader of EU international project on countering disinformation 

Łukasiewicz – PORT Polish Center for Technology Development, as the leader of an international consortium, received a Horizon Europe grant aimed at developing new ways of countering information manipulation. The funds allocated for the implementation of the project amount to EUR 3 million. 

A consortium of Łukasiewicz – PORT-led academic, technology and analytical organisations from Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Poland has signed a three million euro grant agreement with the European Union for the implementation of SAUFEX research project. The agreed project is dedicated to Detecting, analysing and countering foreign information manipulation and interference. The grant will run from 1 February 2024 for three years as part of the EU’s Horizon Programme for the Defence of Democracy

The coordinator of the SAUFEX (Secure Automated Unified Framework for Exchange) project is amb. (ret.) Tomasz Chłoń from the Center for Population Diagnostics at Łukasiewicz – PORT. The consortium partners include the University of Warsaw, the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, as well as international partners: Debunk.org, an independent Lithuanian technology think tank; DROG, an organisation based in the Netherlands which focuses on combating disinformation, promoting media literacy, and fostering a more informed and engaged global citizenry; Faktabaari, a Finnish non-profit promoting fact-checking & media literacy. 

Łukasiewicz – PORT will ensure the expertise necessary to develop advanced AI-based solutions through partnership with Ukrainian professionals in machine learning and software development from OSavul, a software company focused on countering disinformation emerging in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.  

The harmful potential of foreign and domestic disinformation was clearly visible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Misinformation about vaccines led to alarmingly low vaccination rates in some regions globally and locally due to widespread distrust fueled by conspiracy theories. False claims, ranging from those stating that the vaccines were made from human fetuses to those talking about mind control chips being implanted with vaccines, have undermined trust in both, medical knowledge and state institutions. The agreed project will contribute to – among others –  developing models for countering disinformation that threatens population health. 

More broadly, disinformation contributes significantly to spread of hate speech and propaganda on the Internet. This trend fuels societal divisions while eroding public trust in institutions – an essential pillar of any functioning democracy. This emphasises how important it is for democratic societies to actively combat disinformation – not only for the sake of truth, but also for preservation of democratic values around the world.  

Horizon Europe  is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation. The programme facilitates collaboration and strengthens the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting and implementing EU policies while tackling global challenges. It supports creating and better dispersing of excellent knowledge and technologies. Łukasiewicz – PORT is currently involved in 3 HE projects, coordinating one of them on Standardised Approaches to Modelling and Examination of Neuropsychiatric Disorders. 

For more information please contact the project coordinator: amb. (ret.) Tomasz Chłoń tomasz.chlon@port.lukasiewicz.gov.pl