Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 2 - DRIVER (DRiving InnoVation in crisis management for European Resilience)

Project Context and Objectives:
The scale and pace of crises pose enormous challenges for the Crisis Management (CM) sector, with new threats emerging all the time. An already complex field must also strive to integrate new technologies and methods, cope with a rapidly changing infrastructure, understand evolving risks, be effective across cultural, administrative and national boundaries and engage with populations to enhance their resilience. Many crises involve interfacing diverse CM systems and solutions. Major crises can also frequently involve more than one country or region, which may have differing CM infrastructures and cultures, and which may necessitate interfacing different systems and combining different solutions. CM innovation must therefore be capable of meeting these multifaceted challenges and delivering solutions that are modular, flexible and adaptable.
The broad aim of the EU-funded DRIVER project is to valorise the wealth of European innovation and science in crisis management by assessing and delivering solutions that can be used – and combined – to address different types of large-scale crises.

DRIVER addresses gaps in research and exploitation identified in previous EU-funded road-mapping projects such as ACRIMAS and CRYSIS. DRIVER addresses ways of improving the ability to adapt European CM to future demands. DRIVER will develop better ways of evaluating future solutions by establishing a European Test-bed infrastructure and evaluation methodologies that are intended to be sustainable beyond the lifetime and scope of the project. This will consist of virtually-connected exercise facilities and crisis labs where CM stakeholders can evaluate new solutions to emerging issues, and develop comprehensive solutions.
The project investigates solutions in three core areas, specifically chosen because of the way they interact and complement each other: Civil Society Resilience; Strengthened Responders; and Training and Learning. These thematic dimensions cover a representative set of areas with vital innovation gaps that need to be addressed in order to cope with the climatic, societal and economic trends faced by today’s practitioners.

In the area of civil society resilience, the project aims to understand and improve the resilience capacity of individuals, communities and local governments - with an emphasis on civil society actors, not professionally trained in CM. It focuses on mainly organisational, but also IT solutions, for facilitating psychosocial training, community engagement and local government assessments, as well as strengthening communication with the public and spontaneous volunteer management.
Work on strengthened responders addresses the areas of interoperability, information sharing, situation assessment, early warning, resource management, capacity building and interaction with citizens. The focus is on decision support and the project tests, enhances and connects together a sample of Crisis Management solutions provided by consortium partners. These solutions are mostly outcomes of previous EC research projects and have different levels of maturity.

To enhance the capacities and capabilities of trainers and human resources (HR) professionals dealing with people involved in Crisis Management at an operational level, DRIVER works on a series of training modules and HR means and frameworks, developed and tested during the project. The main target audience comprises training professionals of all levels, from first responders to high level decision-makers.

The complexity of CM makes it hard to predict the potential benefits of new solutions and approaches analytically, particularly considering the variety of types of crisis and situations addressed.
To address this, DRIVER employs a methodology based on so-called ‘campaigns of experiments’ that build up experience and knowledge step-by-step in a variety of scenarios and combinations of solutions.

Project Results:
A large series of experimentations have been performed what has implied a work across the full range of DRIVER’s activities. Campaigns of experiments were implemented in the three core areas of Civil Resilience, Strengthened Responders, and Training & Learning, by building upon the experience gained in initial reviews and early experimentation. The concrete solutions emerging from these experiments will provide the basis for additional levels of complexity to be added that combine different solutions in more demanding crisis management (CM) scenarios.

For all these experiments, the required Test-bed capabilities in terms of methodology, Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and tools as well as the capabilities to host experiments at the DRIVER platforms have been developed to support the experiment design, execution and evaluation.

In total, more than 20 experiments requesting over 60 actions were conducted. More than 1750 participants were involved in the activities, of which more than 650 were volunteers (70% affiliated and 30% unaffiliated on average) and 250 were end-users.

This is an overview of the activities performed:

Improving civil society resilience: DRIVER is undertaking substantial experimentation on how to enhance the resilience of civil society in the face of potential disasters. Experimentation was carried out covering: individual resilience, community resilience, local government resilience, communication to enhance resilience and the role of volunteers in aiding resilience. Most of this activity was undertaken in cooperation with end-user organisations from outside the consortium.

Strengthening the responder communities through innovative methods and technologies: Five experiments were conducted in close cooperation with major Civil Protection organisations. Experiments aimed at assessing innovative solutions, technically supported by tools which interoperated as a system of systems. Ahead of the experiments, a middleware - the Common Information Space - based on emergency management standards, was designed and implemented. It was used to provide interoperability among the IT tools.

Enhancing capabilities and capacities through training and learning: Learning takes place at three different levels: individual, community and institutional. The main goal is to improve CM competencies of both professionals and communities/citizens through enhancing and demonstrating the effectiveness of various learning methods and tools. Six experiments, requiring more than 10 actions were conducted across several countries. They involved different populations of stakeholders (end-users, unaffiliated volunteers, policy makers, etc.) and used various methods, such as workshops, role-playing and serious gaming.

Towards a distributed European Test-bed for CM solutions: It is needed to ensure common methodologies and coherence, especially in the way the experiments are conducted. To achieve it several means of collaboration between the platforms were developed considering technical details as well as their operational understanding.

On the other hand, a DRIVER Catalogue was prepared. It contains information on CM-related tools and simulation models. It discloses information on functionality, interfaces, domain of use, etc. of such tools and models.

Dissemination: Two important aspects of the project are communicating the specific results and sharing information about the project itself amongst all stakeholders, including practitioners, crisis managers and policy makers. One way this is being achieved is via a series of I4CM (Innovation for Crisis Management) events organised regularly. The main aim of these events is to target local practitioners that have an interest in new solutions for crisis management and that possess the appropriate operational knowledge for innovation.

On top of that more than 30 scientific publications/papers were presented at conferences and 19 articles were published in 10 different magazines so far.

Potential Impact:
The expected impact is to provide solutions that can be used on a daily basis by end-users, but that are also scalable in a crisis and adaptable to different crisis situations as well as changing conditions during the disaster. DRIVER also aims at providing an integrated framework bringing together the abilities of industry, research institutions, operational end-users and the citizens, to jointly progress in the critical areas of Crisis Management (CM) and to create acceptance for new solutions and approaches.

The project will help crisis management systems and cross border concepts, and allow for the adaptation to new and changing threats and to the use of new tools. It will also improve preparedness by integrating the development of methodologies and demonstrations for comprehensive situational awareness and risk assessment capabilities, notably with a view to reinforcing preparedness for multi-sectorial crises.

The value and potential of solutions provided (usefulness, scalability, modularity, reliability, affordability) for future deployment will be assessed and demonstrated in realistic conditions through clear, measurable indicators. Through this, success and EU added value achieved in this demo project will be described and measured on the basis of a qualitative and quantitative assessment.

DRIVER will provide an integrated framework for innovation in CM that is designed to bring together the abilities needed to progress further in building a resilient society: (i) innovation coming from research, (ii) industrial development and system-integration capabilities, (iii) operational knowledge and experience of crisis managers defining the CM requirements, and (iv) active participation of individuals, communities, public sector, infrastructure providers, media representatives, and volunteers, bringing in the perspective of the actual subject of CM.

The Test-bed will provide the opportunity for bringing together the supply and demand side of different Member States (MS), and to trial and operationalise promising solutions iteratively, thereby also identifying further research needs.

By including end-users, and also citizens, in the trials and therefore in the actual development of solutions, it is not just the acceptance of new solutions among end-users that will be improved. In fact, the understanding between the different practitioners of each other’s cultures and the understanding of the process of CM among the general public will also be fostered. At the end of the day, acceptance by end-users as much as acceptance by the receivers of CM, the European citizen, is key to innovation and, when it comes to CM, to a more resilient and adaptable society.

Finally, that effective innovation and European industrial competitiveness contains a pan-European dimension is very clear to DRIVER. By contributing – mainly via the Portfolio of Solutions and the Test-bed, but also by dedicated mapping and dissemination activities – towards a more shared understanding of CM across Europe, DRIVER strives to help the European market for CM solutions.

List of Websites:
http://driver-project.eu/

Reported by

ATOS SPAIN SA
Spain

Subjects

Safety
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