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Europol and CENTRIC develop partnership with Memorandum of Understanding

14 May 2020

EUROPOL AND the Centre of Excellence in Terrorism, Resilience, Intelligence and Organised Crime Research (CENTRIC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The agreement formalises a long-standing partnership and encourages ongoing effective collaboration, combining relevant expertise and state-of-the-art technology.

The rapid development of technology not only creates new opportunities, but also facilitates new criminal models. Nowadays, almost all forms of crime have an online element, which increases the need for awareness and education alongside deeper research to further enhance cyber security and strengthen businesses’ capabilities when it comes to cyber resilience.

Europol and CENTRIC have worked together on a number of initiatives and research projects, including the development of a cryptocurrency investigation game only last year.

CENTRIC is a multi-disciplinary, end user-focused Centre of Excellence located at Sheffield Hallam University. The global reach of CENTRIC links both academic and professional expertise across a range of disciplines, in turn realising opportunities to progress groundbreaking research within the security and policing domains.

The Memorandum of Understanding will assist law enforcement thanks to applied research and tool development designed to improve the capabilities of law enforcement in reacting to, mitigating and recovering from criminal threats (including cyber crime and terrorism) and by way of serious gaming for the training and capacity-building of police and law enforcement officers.


Last October, Europol launched CRYPTOPOL, the first cryptocurrency-tracing training game of its kind. Developed and co-created with CENTRIC, CRYPTOPOL simulates a cryptocurrency investigation, emphasising hands-on practice using real-life scenarios. The game is available to all law enforcement cryptocurrency investigators around the world who can request access to the game from Europol.

Further, there are ongoing efforts with CENTRIC to apply this concept to capacity building efforts in other crime areas as well.

Fernando Ruiz, acting head of Europol's European Cyber Crime Centre, said: “The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding with CENTRIC consolidates an existing long-standing partnership. Pioneering projects such as CRYPTOPOL and our collaboration on a number of research projects already demonstrate the added value of this alliance. We are confident that this is just the beginning and we look forward to continuing our successful co-operation.”

The European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3), which was established back in 2013, is the EU's mechanism for protecting European citizens, businesses and Governments from online crime. With more than 60 experts working on a daily basis, EC3 is involved in hundreds of high-level online operations and provides data analysis and on-the-spot support for Member States.

Babak Akhgar, director of CENTRIC, responded: “I'm delighted to formalise the relationship between CENTRIC and Europol. This builds on years of collaboration in combating cyber crime, serious and organised crime and counter-terrorism and is a milestone in our joint endeavour to bring research and innovation into operational reality in support of law enforcement agencies. I'm looking forward to us delivering a positive impact in the fight against crime and terrorism in the years to come.”