Why organising Trials?
The DRIVER+ approach takes as a starting point the fact that there is a strong innovation momentum present in both the technological community and the different user communities in Crisis Management. At the same time, there is inertia to change in Crisis Management which often prevents this momentum to result in sustainable improvement. This points to the need for a better evidence-base for Crisis Management capability investment decisions. However, the complexity of CM makes it hard predicting analytically the potential benefits of new solutions and approaches, particularly considering the wide scope of potentially relevant contingencies, and even harder doing this in a way that convinces end-users of investing into those. Therefore there is no other way for building an evidence-base than to start by testing, benchmarking, and evaluating proposed solutions in realistic environments with real users in the context of their actual legacy resources.
In this context, a series of Trials and a Final Demonstration will be conducted. Their aim is to investigate innovative solutions under simulated crisis condition, by gradually adapting them to operational constrains, as well as creating acceptance among user through their active involvement, and by providing evidence to decision-makers that they are cost-effective.
The DRIVER+ Test-bed provides methods, infrastructure and support to the organisation of trials through the Guidance Tool.
Identifying the gaps to be bridged
Being a Practitioner-driven project, DRIVER+ seeks to provide an updated and consolidated view on the current and future gaps in Crisis Management, related to the Crisis Management cycle phases (Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery). To serve this purpose, the understanding of Crisis Management practitioners’ needs appears as one building block of paramount importance, on which future activities should be developed. The elaboration of a consolidated view on the current and future capability gaps in Crisis Management was carried out in DRIVER+, in which a capability gap is understood to be the difference between a current capability and the capability considered necessary for the adequate performance of one or more disaster management tasks. The conducted work specifically aimed at identifying, better understanding and describing such gaps. This initial set of gaps was challenged and enriched through an in-depth analysis of the available literature in this field. This gaps assessment took into consideration needs and gaps already indicated by the practitioner organisations hosting the trials and the Final Demonstrations. It also identified additional potential ones, that might be included in the respective trials. The consolidated information served as input to a Gaps & needs assessment workshop conducted in January 2018 in France, with all end-users partnering in the project and invited external experts and practitioners, in order to extend the knowledge available outside of the project consortium. The result of this process is the compilation of 21 Crisis Management capability gaps organised in 5 Crisis Management functional domains : Decision support, Information sharing and coordination, Engaging the population, Resource planning and logistics and Casualty management.
Benefiting from the DRIVER Test-bed components, a series of four Trials have been organised to operationalise and test Crisis Management solutions. These trials and their scenarios are based on the updated Crisis Management gaps and practitioner needs, whose main ones identified so far relate to: (1) Cross-Border Tasking and Resource Management, (2) High Level Coordination, (3) Volunteer Management and (4) Situation Assessment and Logistics.
All results from the trials are stored and made available in the Portfolio of Solutions. Towards the end of the project, a Final Demonstration should showcase the selected solutions and demonstrate the added value, when the European-level is brought into operation. The final demo is explicitly addressing the added value the EC/ERCC can bring into play in the particular crisis scenarios addressing these needs.
Trial Poland was organised by SGSP and held in Warsaw, Poland in May 2018.
Trial France was organised by Valabre and held in Valabre, France in October 2018.
Trial- The Netherlands was organised by DLR and SRH in The Hague, The Netherlands in May 2019.
Trial Austria was organised by the Austrian Red Cross (ARC) together with the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Eisenerz, Austria from 12-14th September 2019. Trial Austria was designed in close synergy with the European Civil Protection Exercise IRONORE2019 which was running from 12 September 2019 to 15 September 2019 in Eisenerz, Austria.
The Final Demonstration is currently being organised by SRC and hosted at SRH and SGSP premises. The Final Conference will be held from 18 – 20 February 2020 in Brussels. More infomation will be published soon.