Challenges and approach

Three major trends in the safety & security domain are:

Increasing interdependencies of systems
The world today is experiencing an unprecedented urbanisation, concentrated in delta areas. Due to technological innovations, vital infrastructures are increasingly interconnected. As a result, the impact of cascading or domino-effects is increasing. This asks for the detection, reduction or control of undesired interdependencies.

Big data
Today, sensors and robotics can gather an unprecedented number of data. Big data collection is very helpful for safety and security scientists. However, it also causes major privacy concerns among the public. The Snowden revelations and the public outcry they caused are a case in point.

Blurring line between private and collective safety & security
Society increasingly demands from the government to guarantee safety and security on the one hand while not accepting interference of the state in the private sphere or limiting the freedom of movement on the other hand. The line between private responsibility and collective responsibility is blurring. If risks are taken and calamities occur, whether in the public or private sphere, people expect the government to act.

DSyS' approach

TU Delft is traditionally strong in modelling the probabilities and the consequences of undesired events. We aim to quantify safety and security, evidence based by analytical or numerical methods. As engineers we also aim to optimize safety and security, by applying clever technical and socio-technical measures in the design phase; for example by building higher dikes or by creating stronger materials for airplanes, or by providing more redundancy in electronic networks, etc. 

The increasing interdependencies of systems require knowledge and expertise of different domains. In the TU Delft Safety & Security Institute we bring together knowledge of different domains. 
Within  the institute, we are able to do benchmarking of different safety & security risk analysis approaches, share datasets and learn methods to tackle big data and privacy issues.

The question which risk criterion should be applied, in other words “which safety level is safe enough?”, is a very important research question in safety and security science and for the government, given the increasing demands for safety and security guarantees. For our society, the optimal allocation of investments in the chain of proaction, prevention, preparation, repression and after-care is also very important. For example, should we invest in stronger dikes or in emergency units who can evacuate people after a dike has collapsed?