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Periodic Report Summary 3 - 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. Innovation is therefore critical, but will only be successful if it is relevant and accessible to practitioners and operators. Many crises involve interfacing diverse CM systems and solutions. CM innovation must therefore be capable of meeting these multifaceted challenges and delivering solutions that are modular, flexible and adaptable. These solutions must be tested and validated in realistic environments; they must be evaluated to assess their true benefits and for their overall suitability, before being adopted by end-users.

The broad aim of the 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. This not only encompasses technological tools and solutions, but also operational concepts, methodologies, approaches and policies.

DRIVER draws on existing EU research and best practices and builds upon these using a multidisciplinary approach. Working together with local communities and authorities, civil contingency, first responder and technical relief agencies, it aims to improve the existing knowledge base significantly. The experience gained during the project will be shared with crisis management practitioners, policymakers and technology suppliers by a variety of means and channels, such as the local Innovation for Crisis Management (I4CM) events.

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.

Project Results:
The main project activity during RP3 was to make the first preparations on restructuring DRIVER as a whole, in order to correct the shortcomings of the project at the end of the second year of the project (circa May 2016). These first preparations ended with a General Assembly voting session on which partner should lead the (inevitable) restructuring (20th June, Madrid). This voting session was directly followed by a session led by the chosen partner (TNO), on each partner’s willingness and ability to take part in a ‘new’ DRIVER. The term ‘DRIVER’ was in the new/updated project transformed into ‘DRIVER+’ .

The closure of ongoing activities was adequately managed to ensure that the key results were made available for the continuation of the project after the suspension period.

During the suspension phase (i.e. the period after RP3 until 1st of February 2018), the consortium worked hard on meeting the requirements to improve and continue the project:
• To fully implement all recommendations from the first review as listed in the first review results letter (cf. Ref. Ares(2015)3884100) (aside from the recommendation j)), together with the additional recommendations stemming from the second review.
• To resubmit rejected deliverables for which a second or third version is being requested must be re-submitted, and get these accepted by the REA.
• To submit an amendment request, covering all the changes necessary to fully implement the recommendations, including addressing additional requirements.

All the deep changes did not alter the core objectives of the project, but at the same time, these improvements allowed for translating the core objectives into sub-objectives, and into tangible results, for a more streamlined project structure (i.e., less SPs), and a clearer way forward.

Potential Impact:
Even though the project was restructured, the core expected impacts remain the same.

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.

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