[Focus on] Research activities of the Cyber, Data, Nano-Bio, AI group of the CESICE lab

By Karine Bannelier (CESICE)
The Centre for International Security and European Studies (CESICE) is a research centre (unit EA2420) which is part of the University Grenoble Alpes and the Political Science Institute of Grenoble. It includes 25 associate researchers, 4 emeritus professors and 4 associate members.

The CESICE focuses its research on international and European matters, as well as Human Rights, mainly from a legal point of view but is also open to alternative perspectives (political science, economics). Special attention is given to security as a general theme (international security, European security, the links between security and Human rights…). For the past few years, a strong emphasis has been placed on cybersecurity research, data protection and governance as well as artificial intelligence regulation, all of which are addressed from various standpoints : International Law, European Law, Comparative Law and in a multidisciplinary manner.

Research topics and institutional collaborations

Research in the above-mentionned fields is carried out by the Cyber, Data, Nano-Bio, AI group, which was created in 2014. Within the cybersecurity field, the Group’s research works are organised around a central theme: prevention and reactions to cyber-attacks. Five main areas of research are currently favoured:
  1. The protection of critical infrastructures
  2. The legal and political outcomes of the attribution of cyber-attacks
  3. The legal, political and economic outcomes of reverse hacking and supervising the development of IT weapons
  4. The appearance of a European policy (internal and external) and of a European Law for cybersecurity and cyberdefence
  5. International cybersecurity governance and the development of internal and international regulations in the field.
From an institutional point of view, the researchers of the Cyber, Data, Nano-Bio, AI group contributed to setting up AMNECYS (Alpine Multidisciplinary Network on Cyber-Security Studies) in 2015, the Grenoble Alpes Data Institute in 2017, the Grenoble Alpes Cybersecurity Institute in 2018 and the MIAI Grenoble Alpes. In addition the Legal and Regulatory Implications of Artificial Intelligence chair, headed by a Cyber Group researcher and which includes several other researchers has been selected as one of the chairs of the 3IA Institute. Furthermore one the CESICE’s projects (CYBIS: CYBersecurity and International Security) was awarded the title « Centre d’excellence » by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as part of the Projet Pacte Enseignement Supérieur.

National and international collaborations

In the field of cybersecurity, the influence and scientific outreach of the CESICE’s researchers is illustrated by the amount of high quality presentations and international publications given in prestigious institutions or universties, such as the UNO, the Nato Centre of Excellence on cybersecurity, UNESCO, the OECD, the international forum on cybersecurity, the Internet Global Forum, the University of Leiden, the European University Institute of Florence, Stockholm University, the European Society of International law, S. Rajaratnam School of Intl Studies/Nanyang Technological University etc.
Above all, the CESICE’s scientific outreach is also illustrated by its close cooperation in France with the SGDSN, the ANSSI, the MEAE or the French Digital Council. Researchers from the Cyber group helped organise the French international conference Construire la paix et la sécurité dans le monde numérique in April 2017. At the time, two researchers were instructed to write a preliminary study in French and in English (Cyberattaques. Prévention-réactions : rôle des Etats et des acteurs privés/Cyberattacks. Prevention-Reactions : The Role of States and Private Actors) which was handed out to the all the participants at the conference. This study was awarded the best cyberdefense book prize in January 2018 during the FIC (International Cybersecurity Forum).
In November 2017 a seminar for international and government experts on Cyber weapons was organised by one of the Cyber group members alongside the SGDSN, France's National Defence General Secretariat (Secrétariat général de la défense et de la sécurité nationale) and the ANSSI, the French agency for information systems security (the Agence Nationale de la Sécurité des Systèmes d'Information) for the cyberdefence periodical ordered by the French President. The Stratégie Nationale de cyberdéfense (National Cyberdefence Strategy) which was then published in February 2018, illustrates numerous aspects of international law which were analysed in the works of the Cyber group, including the concept of Cyber-diligence, which was developped by one of our reseachers. In May 2018, one of our researchers became a member of the French Digital Council (CNUM).


The researchers of the Cyber group also contribute actively to educating the new generation on the issues and challenges of these new technologies. This is how several multidisciplinary courses on new technologies were introduced in the Masters programmes associated with the CESICE. A few examples are the module on Cybersecurity which is part of the Masters degree for Professions in International Law, the Data Protection/Data Governance module which is part of Masters Degree in International Security and Defence, and a Data Security module which is also part of the Masters Degree in International Security and Defence. Further modules will soon be introduced, such as a module on the regulation of Artificial intelligence for instance.
In addition to providing courses, members of the CESICE also contribute to supervising theses in this field. Since 2014, 6 theses in the field of cybersecurity and data have begun. One PhD student obtained his thesis in september 2018 on the following theme: Cyber espionage and international law, in partnership with the University of Manchester, and 5 theses are currently under way:
  • Cyber operations against the general public (partnership with Swansea)
  • Personal Data Protection (UGA funding)
  • The Protection of critical cyber-infrastructures and the NIS Directive (Cybersecurity Institute funding)
  • Cyber-weapons (with INRIA, Cybersecurity Institute funding)
  • The principle of non-interference in cyberspace (Doctoral School for legal studies funding)
  • Cybersecurity and smart cities (ANSSI and Data Institute funding)

Published on June 29, 2020