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NOK 11 million granted to research on increased public safety

The CIEM centre at UiA was recently granted NOK 11 million from the Research Council of Norway for an international research project about information sharing within emergency preparedness and management.

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Bjørn Erik Munkvold på kontoret, photo
COORDINATING CRISIS INFORMATION: The CIEM centre's director, Professor Bjørn Erik Munkvold, is looking forward to the start-up of the new research project supported by the Research Council of Norway in the form of NOK 11 million.

The funding to the research project Sharing incident and threat information for common situational understanding (INSITU) comes from the Research Council of Norway's programme SAMRISK which will contribute to increased knowledge and understanding for handling public safety.

"It is great that we made the cut. It means that our centre's research is considered relevant and important," Professor Bjørn Erik Munkvold says, who is the director of CIEM – Centre for Integrated Emergency Management at UiA – and manager of the research project.

CIEM also has previous experience with international projects, such as the EU project Smart Mature Resilience: We are smarter, stronger and more secure (Norwegian)

Focusing on common situational understanding

People on parkinglot, photo

The research project will contribute to better information sharing and cooperation between different agencies working in emergency preparedness and management. Pictured is the inter-agency field day at Stoa in Arendal in 2017. (Photo: Bjørn Erik Munkvold)

Despite increased access to digital information services that may be relevant for emergency preparedness and management, the outline of how this information can be efficiently gathered and combined is still lacking. The same applies to what needs exist for sharing information between the different agencies that cooperate in a state of emergency.

The different agencies also use different terms, which creates challenges regarding efficient emergency communication and resource coordination. Furthermore, there is today a lack of standardisation of digital map services that can support inter-agency cooperation within emergency preparedness and management.

"With this basis, the INSITU project will contribute to better coordination and sharing of information, threats and events, unification of the systems of concept and integration of map resources as a basis for common situational understanding between emergency agencies. The solutions that will be developed in the project can also be used for evaluation of and learning from events and practices," Bjørn Erik Munkvold says.

Consortium of expertise from research and practical field

Behind the project proposal from CIEM is a consortium of collaboration partners from academia and the practical field that covers the different focus areas in the project:

  • Department of Geography, NTNU
  • County Governor of Agder
  • Tingtun AS
  • OneVoice
  • Center for Advanced Research in Emergency Response (CARER), Linköping University, Sweden
  • Interoperability in Extreme Events Research Group (IEERG), University of Sydney, Australia

"Contributions from the international partners will also offer possibilities for comparisons and transferring experience with practical training from other countries," Munkvold emphasises.

Broad involvement of the Norwegian "emergency preparedness family"

To make sure the research is relevant, the project has also established a comprehensive reference group consisting of agencies responsible for different areas of public safety and emergency preparedness, both nationally and regionally:

  • The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection
  • The National Police Directorate
  • The Norwegian Communications Authority (Nkom)
  • The Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority
  • The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate
  • The Norwegian Mapping Authority
  • The Norwegian Public Roads Administration
  • Barentswatch
  • The Norwegian Defence University College
  • The Norwegian Firefighting School
  • The Norwegian Fire Protection Association
  • The Norwegian National Emergency Council
  • Forum for Norwegian Volunteer Rescue Organisations
  • Hospital of Southern Norway
  • Agder Energi
  • Østre Agder Fire Department
  • County Governor of Trøndelag
  • Kristiansand municipality
  • The Language Council of Norway

"The project is carried out in the period May 2019 – September 2022 and will emphasise involvement of the 'emergency preparedness family' through workshops with the reference group, as well as evaluations of the project's results from practices and discussions with emergency preparedness agencies," Bjørn Erik Munkvold says.