The transnational exchange of DNA profiles for forensic and policing use is an important tool to tackle serious and organised crime. European Union Law, under Prüm Decision, compels Member States to create the conditions for the reciprocal automated exchange of DNA profiles for stepping up on cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime.

What do we study?

The EXCHANGE project explores the societal, cultural, ethical, regulatory and political impacts of the implementation of Prüm Decisions in the European Union. Within the project, an in-depth comparison of the cases of  Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and the United Kingdom will be carried out.

Who supports our research?

We are supported by the European Research Council (ERC), a public body established by the European Commission to promote cutting-edge science through highly competitive funding.

We are hosted by the Communication and Society Research Centre (CECS) | Institute of Social Sciences (ICS) at the University of Minho, Portugal. Between October 2015 and September 2017 the EXCHANGE project was based at the Centre for Social Studies (CES) at the University of Coimbra, Portugal.


The exchange of DNA data in the European Union aims to strengthen cooperation among Member States in order to fight transnational threats to collective security. While focusing on the role of forensic genetics and technology in the implementation of a so-called ‘area of freedom, security and justice’, we investigate the new and old challenges posited by this scenario to social control, citizenship and democracy in contemporary societies.

Rethinking Citizenship

As the exchange of DNA data across the European Union engages multiple dimensions of citizenship and individual rights while promising benefits to collective security, we seek to understand how techno-scientific development is accompanied by due legal, regulatory, and ethical governance.

Rethinking Democacry

We aim to comprehend how the mandatory nature of the Prüm Decisions challenges prevailing notions of democratic governance determined by diverse legal settings, political systems, availability of resources, and differentiated levels of DNA databases’ development among EU countries.