The TU Delft Safety & Security Institute aims to strengthen the position and increase the impact of Safety & Security research and education by providing seed funding for relevant transdisciplinary collaborative activities at TU Delft.

The following projects have been granted seed funding in the first call for proposals.


1. iSafe: Safety Living Lab for Analysing IoT Hardware-Software Vulnerabilities

Aaron Ding,                         Cyber-Physical Intelligence Lab (CPI Lab), TPM

Sicco Verwer,                    Cyber Security, EEMCS

Alessandro Bombelli,      Transport and Planning, AE

Marijn Janssen,                Engineering Systems and Services, TPM

IoT has great promise to interconnect devices and services towards a better digital future. However, IoT devices (hardware and software) are notoriously vulnerable even to trivial attacks and can be easily compromised. Their resource constraints and heterogeneity also make it impractical to analyse in small/isolated environment. This project, iSafe: Safety Living Lab for Analysing IoT Hardware-Software Vulnerabilities, focuses on building a living lab to investigate IoT safety and security, especially the hardware-software vulnerabilities of IoT. Through iSafe, we will test numerous IoT hw-sw suits and security solutions, conduct data collection, measurements, data learning (ML based), and qualitative studies in live testbeds to evaluate the effects. The insights can be utilized by many stakeholders in IoT ecosystems such as hardware vendors, telecom operators, ICT service designers, safety regulators and policy makers. The close cooperation of three faculties at TU Delft will ensure the quality of work across science, engineering and design disciplines, especially tightening the connections with Do-IoT and Green Village. In addition, given the fast growth of IoT ecosystems, iSafe will serve as dynamic science hub for TU Delft Safety & Security Institute to gain industrial and societal visibility.

The funding will be used for purchasing tools for the testing kit, grant proposal preparation activities such as networking and consortium building, professional visual and editing support, and temporarily hiring an assistant for developing and integrating educational activities.


2. Safe-by-Design e-Refinery technology Genserik Reniers, Safety Science, TPM Paulien Herder, e-Refinery, AS Ruud van Ommen, chemical engineering, particle technology, AS Arvind Gangoli Rao, sustainable aviation, AE Nils van der Blij, power electronics, EEMCS

The e-Refinery institute of TU Delft,, develops new technology for the production of sustainable fuels and chemical building blocks. This technology is based on electrochemical conversion processes. Given that the technology is still in its infancy, it is urgent to study and find solutions for any new, unprecedented safety issues that come with this new technology, so that we can develop inherently safe devices. Key examples of such new safety issues are the combination of very high electricity currents in chemical reactors, the stacking of several heat emitting devices, or issues related to small-scale, local fuel production in ports or airports and its subsequent storage and use in various means of transportation.

Safety issues for this new technology have been addressed only sporadically by academics, so this project aims to develop a contemporary and inspiring research agenda. We will do this by bringing together academics from various disciplines (chemical, systems, electrical, aerospace, maritime, mechanical, safety) from the national and international playing field, and industry from the entire value chain (high tech manufacturing, chemical/process, aviation, power). We also connect to other relevant triple helix initiatives such as the Safety Delta Nederland, Topsector Energy and Topsector Chemistry.

During the project we wil visit a number of companies with a group of academics and students in order to strengthen our interaction, but mostly to motivate students from various disciplines to include safety issues more explicitly into their curriculum or MSc thesis work. Such field trips may also initiate a Joint Interdisciplinary Project (JIP) in 2021-2022.

The funding will be used for organising a workshop and field trips, visual assistance for the research agenda development, and activities for a joint research proposal.


3. Preliminary investigation on the application of the Dutch coastal flood risk management approach for the Venice lagoon

Dr. ir. Alessandro Antonini, Coastal Engineering, CEG

Dr. ir. Manuel Diaz Loaiza, Hydraulic Structures and Flood Risk, CEG

Prof. dr. ir. Bas Jonkman, Hydraulic Structures and Flood Risk, CEG

Dr. Sandra Fatoric, Centre for Global Heritage and Development, Architecture

Prof. dr. ir. Pieter van Gelder, Safety & Security Science, TPM

Due to the peculiar characteristic of the Dutch territory, throughout the centuries, the Netherlands developed a flood protection system that is worldwide recognised as an example. However, the flood protection interventions are tailored made for specific cases and this makes difficult the direct application to other countries. The Venetian and Dutch circumstances differ for two main aspects. Dutch events are relatively impulsive whereas in Venice the water level increases slowly. The exposed values are different, in Venice (UNESCO’s World Heritage Site) the heritage assets are among the main concerns, whereas the risk for human life and critical infrastructures is limited. 

The aim of this project is to preliminary assess the applicability of the Dutch safety level within Venice's lagoon. The achievement of the overall aim relies on a collective effort of three TUDelft Faculties:

Civil Engineering and Geosciences: Hazard quantification

  • Extreme water levels analysis for the Venice lagoon.
  • Hydrodynamic modelling of Venice’s lagoon and high resolution model of the historic city.

 Architecture and the Built Environment: Exposure quantification

  • Mapping the exposed assets within the Venice lagoon such as heritage assets, archaeological sites, critical infrastructures and wetland areas of relevant natural value.

Technology, Policy and Management: Vulnerability quantification 

  • Assess the citizens response to 12th November flood event through anonymous mobile phone tracking and social network traffic.

 The funding will be used for data gathering, organising a field survey and local stakeholder meetings, support in the communication and dissemination of the project findings, and the organisation of a workshop with international speakers at TU Delft.


4.  Research by design for a safe and secure delta in face of sea level rise J.S. Timmermans, Multi-Actor Systems, TPM M.Z.  Voorendt, Hydraulic Engineering, CEG

Dr. ir. G.J.M. van der Meulen, Urbanism, Architecture

Dr ir. M.M Rutten, Water Management, CEG

Dr J.E.A Storms, Geoscience & Engineering, CEG

The cooperation of TU Delft partners involved in the Panorama New Netherlands article in the latest  issue  of DeltaLinks, sparked the interest of the contributing faculties cooperate on redesigning the Netherlands into a safe and secure delta under high end sea level rise. The faculties of CiTG, Architecture and TPM share a common interest in further developing research by design. This project will strengthen this cooperation and the leading position of Delft University of technology on research by design in delta management.  The project focusses on developing research by design as a promising method to deal with extreme sea level rise. In particular, it aims to underpin research-by design with a proper engineering approach and embed it in a context of transformative decision-making. This requires the integration of three complementary but incongruent scientific paradigms:


The funding will be used for organising a series of five working sessions with staff, students, governmental and private partners in Delta Futures lab, coordination for the interdisciplinary teams of master students and staff in coordinating their collaboration, visual support such as info-graphics, posters, video, etc. and establishing a consortium for a joint proposal.


5.  A testbed for cyber-physical security of interconnected critical infrastructure

Dr. R. Taormina, Urban Water Infrastructure, CEG

Dr. A. Stefanov, Intelligent Electrical Power Grids, EEMCS

Dr. N.Y. Aydin, Systems Engineering, TPM 

Utilities and providers of vital services around the world are embracing the latest wave of digitalization known as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). While IIoT is necessary to fully exploit the power of automation and data analytics, Industrial Control Systems (ICS) governing critical physical processes are now exposed to cyber-attacks. As the risk of cyber-attacks on critical infrastructures rises, so is the need to carry out research in order to secure them and ensure a resilient future. These investigations must also consider the pervasive interdependence of the vital sectors, and the potential consequences of complex cascading disruptions on society. Furthermore, there is a need to foster awareness on of ICS cyber-attacks, their effects, and the need for a risk-aware workforce.

Most of the seed fund will be used to build a cyber-physical testbed at the Green Village, which will serve for demonstration purposes during teaching and dissemination activities. The facility will also serve for physical experimentation for Master theses. The cyber part of the testbed will include basic ICS components (HMI, controllers, sensors, actuators, routers), connected to the Green Village’s Dataplatform. The physical components of the testbed will mainly consist of infrastructure already available at the Green Village. The installation will demonstrate the impact of cyber-attacks on interconnected systems via cascading effects, e.g. hacking solar panels energizing the communication systems for control operations of water storage and irrigation. The remaining part of the seed fund will be used to improve related project proposals submitted jointly by the applicants to national/international calls.


6.  A Cybersecurity Workshop for the Dutch Water Sector

Dr. R. Taormina, Urban Water Infrastructure, CEG

Prof. M. Kok, Hydraulic Engineering, CEG

Prof. P. van Gelder, Safety & Security Science, TPM

Extensive digitalization of the water sector is fundamental to ensure sustainable water management and grant adequate flood defenses in a very uncertain future. Unfortunately, as water utilities and water boards embrace digital solutions, they progressively expose their Industrial Control Systems (ICS) to the outside world. This results in a vast attack surface which allows hackers to remotely disrupt and sabotage critical processes and operations. In the last years, the Dutch water sector has been actively increasing efforts to strengthen cyber-defenses, awareness and resilience across the board. These initiatives have been bolstered by recent legislation, and an ambitious National Cybersecurity Agenda which is centered on research and innovation pursued jointly by academic and industry partners, public and private sector.

In line with these efforts for boosting cyber security of critical water infrastructure, we propose to organize the first Cybersecurity Workshop for the Dutch Water Sector. The workshop will be hosted at TU Delft in 2021, either as a stand-alone conference or as part of the “73e Vakantiecursus”, the yearly congress of the Water Sector organized by TU Delft. The workshop will bring together cyber-security experts from academia, industry, and government bodies, as well as water utilities, water authorities and other owners/operators of critical water assets. The workshop will update the audience on the threat landscape and state-of-the-art solutions for securing water systems, present relevant case studies for discussion, and foster collaboration between TU researchers and potential partners. The proposers aim to host this event regularly in the years to come.


7. SecureLight: Securing the Emerging Visible Light Communication Networks

Qing Wang, Department of Software Technology, EEMCS. 

Aaron Ding, Department of Engineering Systems and Services, TPM. 

Visible light communication (VLC) is a paradigm to meet increasing demands on wireless capacity. The benefits of VLC compared to traditional radio frequency (RF) networks are clear and immense: 10.000x larger spectrum, energy efficiency, etc. The global VLC market is expected to reach USD 24.2 billion by 2023. However, VLC applications in many scenarios demand strong security. In SecureLight, we will systematically analyze the VLC security myths and facts, and exploit the natural characteristics of light to create insights, technology, and methodologies for securing VLC networks. A small-scale use-case demonstration of the envisioned research will be carried out. We will collaborate with two initiatives of TU Delft, Do IoT consortium and Infrarium container lab, on the demonstration.

Besides preliminary research investigation, another important activity in this project is to prepare substantial grant applications, such as NWO CLEIN and VIDI. A workshop dedicated to VLC security and applications will be organized. Our team consists of two faculties: EEMCS and TPM. Strong interdisciplinary cooperation already exists in this project. External interdisciplinary cooperation is foreseen, such as between TU Delft and KU Leuven, TU Munich, TU Darmstadt, Cambridge University, among others. Besides, cooperation with non-academic stakeholders will be built. With SecureLight and follow-up projects, we envision to become a frontrunner in VLC security research. In the future, we target to make TU Delft Safety & Security Institute a central hub in VLC security research, with great visibility in education and research.



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