The Cascading Effects Conference took place on 16 and 17 March 2017 in Brussels (http://www.cascadingeffects.eu/). The aim of this conference was to present the academic and practical output of the research projects CascEff, CIPRNet, FORTRESS, PREDICT and SnowBall. All these projects are currently coming to a conclusion and were funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme. During four sessions, the 125 participants talked about the understanding, modelling of cascading effects, acting during crisis and implementation of results and tools into practice. The UIC Security Division was involved in the projects PREDICT and CIPRNet.
The aim of the PREDICT project (PREparing of the Domino Effect in Crisis siTuations; 2014-2017) was to provide a comprehensive solution for dealing with cascading effects in multi-sectoral crisis situations covering aspects of critical infrastructures. The key results of the project are as follows:
- The PREDICT incident evolution framework, which provides a threat quantification methodology allowing for the assessment of cascading effects and the modelling of interdependencies between critical infrastructures.
- Improved versions of tools:
- SBR, a tool supporting the generation and analysis of most probable set of scenarios;
- PROCeed, which enables crisis managers to model and run crisis scenarios on a Geographic Information System (GIS) web-interface;
- Myriad, a tool supporting decision-making by risk-based assessment of the current and predicted situation.
- The Integrated PREDICT Tool Suite (iPDT), which successfully combined these tools to provide a solution enabling crisis managers to generate, run and analyse alternative scenarios of a given crisis, identify crucial dependencies between critical infrastructures, and act with a better understanding of the future.
Throughout the PREDICT project, crisis management practitioners have thus followed the progress of work, exchanged best practices with their peers and assisted in defining common needs pertaining to the management of cascading effects.
This method of “co-development” ensured that the solutions developed in the project respond to the requirements and constraints of these professionals. According to this, several dissemination activities have been conducted and papers have been published over the course of the project, ensuring that the results of PREDICT are usable and exploitable by the research community.
In addition, the Critical Infrastructure Preparedness and Resilience Research Network (CIPRNet; 2013-2017) established a Network of Excellence in Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) and provided accessible tools and resources for the critical infrastructure community. The project CIRPNet performed research and development that addresses a wide range of stakeholders including (multi)national emergency management, critical infrastructure operators, policy makers, and the society. It integrated resources inform more than 60 EU co-funded research projects. A key technology for the new capabilities was modelling, simulation and analysis for CIP. CIPRNet built a long-lasting virtual centre of shared and integrated knowledge and expertise in CIP which includes new services and capabilities such as:
- CIPedia©: a Wikipedia-like online community service focusing on CIP and Resilience(CIR)-related issues, aiming to establish a common reference point for CIP and CIR concepts and definitions: https://publicwiki-01.fraunhofer.de/CIPedia/index.php/CIPedia%C2%A9_Main_Page.
- CIPCast©: a Decision Support System (DSS) enabling the evaluation of the complete risk analysis workflow, the prediction of physical harms, the impacts evaluations, and the consequences that the expected reduction (or loss) of services might produce on citizens, primary services, environment or industrial sectors: http://ciprnet.casaccia.enea.it/dss/.
- Ask the Expert service: a platform of experts in various domains of crisis management and CIP created to answer questions and help solving problems: https://www.ciprnet.eu/asktheexpert.html
- End-User Training facilities such as the CIPRTrainer Web Service (https://www.ciprnet.eu/cws/main) or the e-Learning platform on Modelling, Simulation and Analysis (MS&A) of Critical Infrastructures (CI) is composed of four modules; each one comprising one to seven lectures. The course is available at: http://www.security-learning.eu/.
- Collection of publications: which includes state-of-the-art referred publications such as the latest book on the Complexity of Critical Infrastructures – A Modelling and Simulation Approach (open access at: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-51043-9).
The aim of the CascEff project (Modelling of dependencies and cascading effects for emergency management in crisis situations) was to improve the understanding of cascading effects in crisis situations to reduce the consequences of escalating incidents in complex environments. The CascEff project identified initiators, dependencies and key decision points. These were used to develop an Incident Evolution Tool which enables improved decision support in escalating incidents, contributing to the reduction of collateral damages and other unfortunate consequences associated with large crises. Further information available at http://casceff.eu/.
The FORTRESS project (Foresight Tools for Responding to cascading effects in a crisis) helped to identify and understand cascading effects of a crisis by using evidence-based information from a range of previous crisis situations. FORTRESS aimed to improve crisis management practices by identifying the diversity of such cascading effects. Its main outputs include the development of a predictive model addressing potential impacts of decisions made in crisis situations, and the development of an incident evolution tool to assist decision-makers in preparing and training for crises with cascading effects. Further information available at http://fortress-project.eu.
The project Snowball (Aggravating Factors in Crisis) aimed at lowering the impact of aggravating factors in crisis situations thanks to adaptive foresight and decision-support tools. Snowball project aimed at increasing the preparedness of the European Union in respect to hazards that could amplify a large crisis. SnowBall outcomes primarily consist in a deep analysis of cascading effects, in the development of methods to anticipate them, and in a Decision Support System able to display current crisis monitoring and results of simulated decisions integrating cascading effects. Further information available at http://snowball-project.eu/.
Crisis Management is a continuous topic, which will be further discussed during the 3rd Security Week (6 – 9 June 2017 in Paris).