New international security project to improve disaster risk management for unexpected events

News - 19 October 2023 - Webredactie

The international security project AGILE will kick start today.  The project is to develop novel tools and methodologies for understanding, anticipating, and managing High Impact Low Probability (HILP) events. This is crucial because new and emerging risks caused by climate change, cyber threats, infectious diseases and terrorism have changed the risk landscape for unexpected events and call for better disaster risk management. TPM researchers Tina Comes and Nazli Aydin are involved in this project.

Venice, 19th October 2023 – Unpredictable high-risk events described as “High Impact Low Probability” (HILP) events confront governments, businesses and decision-makers with new challenges, including the definition of where responsibilities lie. To address the existing challenges, the European funded project AGILE (AGnostic risk management for high Impact Low probability Events) will develop a theoretically and empirically grounded definition of HILP events as well as practical tools and methodologies required to improve the societal resilience towards such events. The transdisciplinary group of 14 partners kicks off the project in Venice today.

High-profile crises and mega-disasters

HILPs are described as “events or occurrences that cannot easily be anticipated, arise randomly and unexpectedly, and have immediate effects and significant impacts”[1].  They include high-profile crises and mega-disasters such as the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident, the 9/11 terrorist attack in the U.S. and the COVID-19 pandemic as well as lower-profile, persistent events such as flooding, droughts and cyclones. Despite the threats posed by these unexpected events, there is no agreed definition nor methodology to characterise HILP events. To overcome the current knowledge and capability gaps, the European Union is providing funding to a ground-breaking transdisciplinary project within the Horizon Europe Framework Programme.

Transdisciplinary approach is needed

“The complex and dynamic nature of HILP requires new expertise, and this is possible only by moving beyond the “traditional” disciplines of academia”, explains project coordinator Gordana Cveljo of Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e. V. “AGILE brings together top scholars from different fields to better understand and strengthen resilience to HILP and to support an impact–oriented approach that addresses the actual needs of practitioners.

Novel methodology

The applied research approach of the project is dedicated to implementation by and for practitioners and policy-makers. It is guided by their needs and requirements in risk and resilience management on local, regional and national levels. The project will combine and integrate a wide range of established and innovative methodologies into a novel and replicable multi-sectoral risk and resilience stress testing methodology to better:

  • UNDERSTAND (Systems theory, Lateral thinking, Strategic Foresight, Machine Learning)
  • ANTICIPATE (Scenario Building & table-top exercises, Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, Machine Learning) and
  • MANAGE (Resilience assessment, capability development strategic training)

In addition, AGILE will also provide recommendations to key European and international policy priorities and global challenges.

Tina Comes and Nazli Aydin: ‘To address the challenges and be better prepared for the impact of unexpected large-scale disasters, TU Delft will be working on a new stress testing methodology. We will create a digital library of HILP events and combine AI research with behavioural insights on how decision-makers act upon information in situations of stress and time pressure. Together with our partners in Rotterdam, and throughout Europe, we aim to improve our societal resilience’.

The AGILE consortium comprises Universities, Research Centers, NGOs, First responders, and local, regional and national authorities. AGILE formally started on the 1st October 2023 and is holding its Kick-Off Meeting with all 14 project partners at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy today (19th Oct 2023) and tomorrow (20th Oct 2023).

For more information and continuous updates see:

Project Contact

Andreas Seipelt
ARTTIC Innovation GmbH

Project Coordinator

Cveljo Gordana
Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe Ev (JUH)

Press Contact

Verena von Scharfenberg
ARTTIC Innovation GmbH