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The FORTRESS project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 607579. The total budget is €4,716,286.60 with a requested EU contribution of €3,400,665.70.

FORTRESS will identify and understand cascading effects of crises by using evidence-based information from a range of previous crisis situations, as well as drawing on an in-depth analysis of systems and their mutual interconnectivity and (inter-)dependency. The project will seek to intervene in crisis response practices by bridging the gap between the over-reliance on unstructured information collection on one side and a lack of attention to structural communication and management elements of cross-border and cascading crisis situations on the other side. It will use state-of-the-art information collection and modelling tools to assist stakeholders in evaluating what information is significant, relevant and of greater priority so that they can adjust their actions accordingly. It will do so by using evidence-based information from historical crisis case studies (WPs 2 and 3), as well as by making a comprehensive analysis of the different relationships between systems (WP 4), and the actual practice of crisis management and the communication between different groups involved (WP 5). The four crisis scenarios along with possible systems affected by such crises are represented in the image below.

Information generated through analysing historical case studies and the four scenarios will enable FORTRESS to build a collaborative and accessible modelling platform for cascading and cross-border effects in a range of crisis situations (WP 6). This platform will feed into the development of the FORTRESS Incident Evolution Tool (FIET) in WP7: a user-friendly tool with cross-border capabilities that can be used in a cascading crisis situation. The FIET will be user-friendly enough to be employed during a crisis, and can therefore be used as a decision support foresight tool to assist decision-makers in understanding the potential effects of their actions in training environments. The FIET will be subject to rigorous testing in the field to evaluate its effectiveness, and the project will ensure its user-friendliness by undertaking extensive training with decision-makers to optimise the look and feel of the system (WP 8).

To ensure that the FIET and other outcomes of the FORTRESS project are relevant and valid for end-users, close collaboration with end-users is ensured throughout the project. Four end-users contribute to the project as Associated Partners:

  • Piemonte Region Civil Protection Agency
  • Berliner Department of the Interior
  • Vattenfall Distribution
  • Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe

They will assist in defining requirements for the FIET and evaluate and test outcomes of the project. In addition they will help to identify other end-user organisations. The associated partners cover both governmental administrations and private infrastructure providers in several European countries. In addition to having these associated partners, the diversity of the FORTRESS project-partners [please link the word ‘partners’ to the section on partners] provides a range of opportunities to engage with several stakeholders and end-users in a variety of ways.

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