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EU project ‘drives’ innovation in crisis management

The DRIVER (Driving Innovation in Crisis Management for European Resilience) project brings together 37 organisations to jointly develop solutions for improved crisis management in Europe.

The EU, like every territory in the world, is exposed to an array of potential crises and disasters. A crisis can be caused by anything from climate change and failures in infrastructure to terrorist and cyber attacks. In recent years, different coordination mechanisms, such as the EU emergency and crisis coordination arrangements (EU-CCA), have been set up to enhance the EU's crisis management capacity. However, the EU is aware that there is still room for further improvement in crisis situations, particularly when it comes to efficiency and coherence, rapidity of deployment, operational and political coordination and internal and external visibility. That’s why it is supporting the new DRIVER (Driving Innovation in Crisis Management for European Resilience) project with some EUR 33.4 million in funding via the FP7 programme. Launched in May of this year, DRIVER brings together 37 organisations to jointly develop solutions for improved crisis management in Europe. Building upon the findings of previous research projects, ACRIMAS and CRISYS, DRIVER’s ultimate goal is to enhance European resilience in the face of crisis situations and ascertain sustainable innovation in Crisis Management. DRIVER is part of phase two of the EU’s Aftermath Crisis Management System of Systems Demonstration Programme. To achieve its primary goal, the project team will work on three specific actions: developing a pan-European test-bed of virtually connected exercise facilities and crisis laboratories; consequently developing a portfolio of crisis management tools; and creating a common understanding of crisis management across Europe within a community of crisis management practitioners, policy makers, technology suppliers and citizens. All of this work is still ahead of the DRIVER project which is said to be the largest crisis management research and innovation project in Europe, if not the world. DRIVER’s huge team, comprising representatives from the security and defence industry, from research and academia, SMEs, end-users and several European institutions, met for the first time at the kick-off meeting in May. DRIVER’s work plan has been laid out in the knowledge that European crisis management capabilities are already a mature and competent ‘system-of-systems’ comprising local, regional and national systems able to collaborate in varying configurations and with varying levels of interoperability. The aim of DRIVER is not to radically change these capabilities but rather to enhance them. Over the coming years, the consortium will turn its ambitions into action. Through the pan-European test-bed of virtually connected exercise facilities and crisis laboratories, users, providers, researchers, policy makers and citizens will work on new approaches and solutions to emerging crisis management issues. This will facilitate capability development and help to develop the portfolio of crisis management tools. Led by European IT services leader Atos in Spain, the project team will also work to nurture a community of crisis management practitioners, policy makers, technology suppliers and citizens who share a common understanding of crisis management across Europe.

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Spain