Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


HEADS Report Summary

Project ID: 642662
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HEADS (Head protection: a European training network for Advanced Designs in Safety)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The HEADS ITN aims to incorporate the effects of angular kinematics both in determining injury thresholds and in certifying helmet safety standards. The Network aspires to train Early Stage Researchers to be experts in this multidisciplinary intersectoral field.

To date, it is linear acceleration that has been used most to determine head injury risk, although brain injury is influenced by angular kinematics. The scientific goal of the HEADS Network is to improve our understanding of head impact injury by taking account of rotational kinematics. This will result in improved helmets and a reduction in fatalities and the severity of injuries. This scientific objective will be achieved through computer simulations and experimental reconstructions of real-life accidents, combined with new tests to determine injury thresholds and to certify new helmets. The Network’s industry partners manufacture high quality helmets for equestrian sports, cyclist and F1 motorcyclists; our 3rd level partners already provide international leadership in this field of research. The mix of industry and academia is ambitious, comprehensive and goal oriented.

The Network also intends to train a group of highly specialised PhD graduates who are cognisant of head impact biomechanics, helmet design technologies, and are aware of commercial market opportunities. The ESRs will work with world class facilities and highly qualified experts; they will benefit from a training scheme which will draw on the expertise of academic and industrial partners.

This project will provide a new level of understanding of head injury and its prevention, with directly applicable results for European industry. It will develop a well networked group of young engineers and scientists into world class researchers and innovators with numerous career paths open to them. These professionals will advance technology for the benefit of society to maintain Europe as a global leader in industrial development.

In summary, the Network’s objectives are to:

• develop new understanding of head impact injury and injury thresholds for rotational kinematics
• design new helmet standards test methods that recognise the importance of head rotational kinematics in head injury
• train an elite cohort of ESRs in the multidisciplinary field of head impact protection, who will have a unique blend of commercial and industrial market awareness

The Network consortium consists of 6 partners, each of them leaders in their fields.

• University College Dublin, Ireland (NUID UCD)
• Kunliga Tekniska Hoegskolan, Stockholm, Sweden (KTH)
• Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium (KU Leuven)
• Charles Owen & Company Ltd, Wrexham, UK (Charles Owen)
• Lazer Sport NV, Belgium (Lazer Sport)
• AGV SPA, Italy (AGV)

The blend of partners ensures that ESRs receive a multidisciplinary approach to their training, and experience of academia and industry, thereby ensuring that their research is relevant to real world solutions.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In the 1st period of the HEADS project lifecycle [M1–M24], progress has been made in each of the following 6 Work Packages defined by the project:

• WP1 Management of Network
• WP2 Training Programme
• WP3 Communication, Dissemination & IP
• WP4 Accident Reconstruction & Simulation
• WP5 Head Model Refinement
• WP6 Helmet Certification Standards

The first 3 Work Packages deal with the logistics of delivering & managing the Network’s objectives while Work Packages 4-6 refer to the research topics of the Network.

Work Packages 1-3

The 1st period of the project has been productive. The Network has achieved the following logistical and management outcomes:

• Addressing the logistical issues of setting up a Training Network
• Recruiting a Project Manager to provide support to Network members
• Recruiting 13 excellent ESRs whose abilities will ensure delivery of the Network objectives
• Establishing the project’s Supervisory Board
• Delivering EU Reports (Progress; Draft Periodic; Periodic)
• Hosting Midterm Review Meeting with the EU
• Completing Career Development Plans for each of the ESRs
• Advancing ESRs towards completion of their Transfer Assessments
• Commencing the Network’s Secondment programme
• Delivering more than 50% of the training programme
• Engaging in outreach & dissemination activities
• Launching a Network Website (
• Delivering Ethics Requirements

Work Packages 4-6

The same 24-month period has seen the Network’s ESRs yield the following scientific outcomes:

• Publishing an Accident data collection guide (
• Publishing a Helmet Standards Evaluation report (
• Participating in software training e.g. MADYMO, Poser, MATLAB, and ABAQUS
• Expanding our sources of accident data
• EFFECT OF IMPACT SURFACE ON EQUESTRIAN FALLS published in Proceedings of 34th ISBS, Tsukuba, Japan
• Development of polymer anvil
• Performing accident reconstructions which will be applied to the finite head model
• Continuing with the Head Model refinement which includes:
o Modelling skull fracture
o Development of a realistic skin model
o Characterising bridging veins
o Developing an active ageing head model
o Investigating thresholds for neuronal damage in head models
o Analysing brain tissue characterization thresholds for brain contusion
• Developing new equestrian helmet standard tests for improved head impact protection
• Seeking to develop a more biofidelic headform
• Developing new cycling helmet standard tests for improved head impact protection
• Developing new motorcycling & snow sports helmet standard tests for improved head impact protection
• Characterisation and analysis of energy absorbing materials under compression/shear for helmet liner applications

The most significant deliverables and milestones are set out for the first 2-year period. The project partners foresee no obstacles to meeting our remaining deliverables or milestones.
The collaboration between HEADS Network partners and their ESRs has proved productive and successful. The team’s positive dynamic has resulted in cooperative and positive teamwork and partnership across a variety of research environments. There is great enthusiasm for what the HEADS Network research will yield in the 2nd stage of this project.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The Network’s ultimate objective of having 13 highly skilled and specialised ESRs emerge from this programme will have a major positive societal impact, ensuring that the EU remains a leader in this field of research.

It has been recognised that there is an absence of a structured research programme that will improve helmet standards within the EU. The HEADS ITN aims to overcome the challenges of fragmented or duplicated research and to address this deficit. Through its collaborative approach, training workshops, and outreach and secondment opportunities, the Network is effective in transferring and sharing the expert subject knowledge.

Finally, all industry partners are engaged in the research being carried out by the HEADS team. Integrating the research results into their helmet products is a work in progress.

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