News & Events
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HumTech Lab Activation: Mozambique
Last week, Tropical Cyclone Idai struck large areas of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, causing widespread devastation. As an early estimate, the President of Mozambique has stated that more than 1,000 people may have died in the storm. The UN has described this as “potentially the worst such disaster to hit the southern hemisphere” with more than 2.6 million people are potentially affected.
On 15 March, Idai made landfall near Beria, Mozambique with a massive storm surge and sustained winds of 165 km/h. According to CNN, aid agencies fear that 90% of this region around Beria is destroyed. As Beira is the location of Mozambique’s largest airport, this has caused widespread logistical challenges. Response agencies are currently working to rescue survivors via helicopter who have been stranded on makeshift islands because of the “inland ocean” that was created by the massive flooding. Officials warn of potentially large cholera and malaria outbreaks after the immediate response phase.
The HumTechLab is searching for interested students to use their skills to contribute to the crisis. Attend the volunteer briefing session on 25 March from 16.00-17.00 to discuss how you can help!
HumTech Data Meetup with HDX
Data has become a critical element in today's humanitarian operations around the globe. Data helps us to get important insights, make better decisions and ensure that the right aid reaches the right people at the right time.
As you may know the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) has opened an office in The Hague for their Centre for Humanitarian Data. One of their key products is the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) that serves as a repository of data related to humanitarian operations.
This Thursday (Feb 21st) the HumTechLab together with HDX organizes a meetup in which HDX introduces their platform and tools in a hands-on session, using for example displacement data. We’ll also discuss responsible use of data in the humanitarian sector and not in the least how TU Delft and HDX can work together to support humanitarian operations around the globe. We also highly encourage students to participate and see how HDX can support their projects, research and thesis work.
If you are interested on working international humanitarian challenges through the (better) use of data, join the HumTechLab meetup with UN OCHA's Humanitarian Data Exchange this Thursday (Feb 21st) at 14:00 at The Hague Campus (room 3.46). If you want more information or if you plan to attend contact us via HumTechLab@tudelft.nl.
HumTechLab at HNPW 2019!
From 3-8 February, 2019 a delegation of thirteen TU Delft students from the HumTechLab traveled to Geneva to attended the Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Week (HNPW) in the humanitarian capital of the world. Experts in crisis preparedness and response from a diversity of organizations and from all over the world came together at this conference to identify solutions to common humanitarian challenges. Throughout the week, TU Delft students took the opportunity to make their voices heard. On Wednesday, several students from the HumTechLab Thesis Circle presented their expertise on a wide range of innovative humanitarian-related topics.
Next HumTech Meeting - 15 November
Are you a student looking to join the HumTech thesis circle, come with us on our next field trip, or just interested in discussing some ideas? Come to our next meeting on 15 November 13.00-15.00 at our building in The Hague to join the conversation!
On 9 October, the HumTech Lab hosted networking event to connect students, staff and researchers from across TU Delft working on humanitarian aid-related projects. Stay tuned for the next meetup event! If you’re from the TU Delft community, you can also join us on Slack using your TU Delft email address.
TU researchers map the Sulawesi disaster
A few days after the tsunami on Sulawesi on 28 October, researchers from the HumTech lab map out the consequences to support aid workers.
- Read article
Delta, 3 October 2018
HumTech Thesis Circle Openings!
The HumTech Lab Thesis Circle is seeking motivated students to join us in researching important topics related to humanitarian aid and disaster response. A description of the thesis circle and potential opportunities for students can be found here. Feel free to reach out to the project contact or join us at our next monthly meeting on 9 October to discuss your ideas with the team.
Event: Humanitarian Aid Research at TU Delft
Are you interested in learning more about humanitarian aid delivery? If you are curious to learn more about the challenges and new frontiers of disaster research, we encourage you to come see what our researchers are working on. Stop by our next HumTech Lab event on October 9, from 14:00 to 16:00, in Sport and Culture. During the meetup, our researchers will showcase some of their current research on the subject, learn about any ideas and interests you have, and discuss opportunities for the upcoming year. Looking forward to meeting you there!
We kindly request that you let us know if you’ll be attending by completing this form: https://humtech.expert/oct-meet.
The Role Of Aviation In Humanitarian Assistance
From 20-22 August 2018, the HumTech Lab joined the Airport Efficiency Task Force meeting in Montreal, Canada. The event was hosted jointly by two bodies of the United Nations: The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The Task Force was originally initiated in the aftermath of hurricane Irma, where flight interruptions created immense challenges for humanitarian aid delivery to the affected populations. The driving question behind the meeting was: how can tighter integration between the aviation and humanitarian professionals be achieved? Creating a basis of understanding was an initial challenge since both aviation and humanitarian fields are full of their own acronyms, terminology, procedures, guidance documents and perspectives. As the academic partner of the Task Force to attend the discussion, TU Delft was uniquely positioned to provide an academic perspective as well as its experience with airport in disaster research.
Kenny Meesters of the HumTech Lab presented some of its current research related to airport modelling and simulation, including research recently completed by HumTech thesis circle research by master students Wouter Feil and Vincent Alkema were shared. The presentation included technical models that highlighted policy options for reducing bottlenecks at airports. Additionally, Shannon Gross presented a proposal for an interactive dashboard to assess airport prioritization and called for increased data sharing between humanitarian and aviation partners. As the discussion progressed, participants agreed to take part in smaller, multidisciplinary focus committees in order to work out some of the more detailed issues. The HumTech Lab was asked to participate in several follow-up committees to provide expertise in areas such as information management, evidence-based decision-making, and simulation & training. The HumTech Lab aims to bring the collective knowledge of TPM, and Delft University in general to the focus task force and the humanitarian domain.
Come to one of our meetings!
Each month, the HumTech Lab holds a meeting to discuss current events and research at the university. Attendance is open to anyone, so come meet us and check out what we’re working on. The first meeting of the 2018 school year will be held on 9 October in Delft. Stay tuned for more updates!
Rohingya Activation Update
HumTech Volunteers are deeply concerned about the growing Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh and are closely monitoring its development. Though students and faculty members were in the middle of a well-deserved summer holiday, they didn’t mind taking time out to call in and discuss how the first monsoon rains were starting to impact the camps. Many students are using the summer holiday to practice their modelling and programming skills by making decision-making aids for humanitarian organizations operating in the Rohingya camps. Challenges with humanitarian data needs were discussed at length as students grappled with the difficulties of making decisions without all the information, as is common for those operating in disaster settings. As more TU Delft students get involved with humanitarian research and with using big data sources, we can expect these “messy” information problems to continually arise. Fortunately, we have the passion and determination of our students at the Lab to come up with ways to overcome these information challenges for such emergencies as the Rohingya crisis.
HumTech Invited to the ICAO conference
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has invited the HumTech Lab to attend a focus task force meeting on Airport Efficiency for Effective Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response. In August 2018, HumTech researchers will travel to the ICAO headquarters in Montreal, Canada to contribute their recent research on the topic. Discussions with international logistics partners and humanitarian response organisations will aim to decrease the disruptions of air services in the event of a disaster. Service disruptions to aviation may vary widely depending on the nature of the disaster, the coping capacity of the affected country, and the contingency measures in place. HumTech Lab research aims to contribute to these challenges and to innovate airport efficiency for humanitarian responders.
Governance in the data age
The Digital Government Society (DGS) announces the 19th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research - dg.o 2018, with a theme: "Governance in the data age". The dg.o conferences are an established forum for presentation, discussion, and demonstration of interdisciplinary research on digital government, political participation, civic engagement, technology innovation, applications, and practice. At the event, the HumTech Lab is organizing a track on using data to improve disaster response and resilience. The dg.o 2018 conference will be hosted by Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands from 30 May till 1 June, 2018.
HumTech Lab Activation: The Rohingya Crisis
As of early May 2018, over 900,000 Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh in response to armed attacks in Myanmar. During the massive crackdown on Rohingya people in Rakhine State in the northwestern region of Myanmar, the UN has found evidence of wide-scale human rights violations. The Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar is highly vulnerable, having fled conflict and experienced severe trauma, and now living in extremely difficult conditions. The unfolding humanitarian situation in Bangladesh is putting strain on the country’s already stressed resources. The country is prone to natural disasters ranging from earthquakes to floods and cyclones. The case of the Rohingya in South-Eastern Bangladesh is a prime exemplary for a dangerous combination of climate stresses and dynamic external shocks, where the response is operating in a country that is itself subject to extreme poverty and frequent disasters.
TPM researchers participated in large scale disaster response exercise
From 15 – 17 May, TPM researchers Kenny Meesters and Yan Wang participated in the UK’s largest international disaster response exercise SIMEX2018 together with some 2000 other players. SIMEX provides a realistic environment to learn, test and evaluate emergency response mechanisms, such as rescue operations, tools, procedures, and policies.
Disaster Risk Reduction in Ukraine
In March 2018, The HumTech lab traveled to Kiev, Ukraine to kick-off the ImProDiReT disaster risk reduction project. ImProDiReT is a 2-year project aimed at developing new approaches and methods for the joint development of risk reduction strategies involving multiple stakeholders. The project builds on the Sendai framework, specifically, “strengthening disaster risk governance.” This first Steering and Project Group meeting provided an opportunity to establish key project groups and learn how the diverse experiences of the participating partners could enrich the project.
Protecting Humanitarian Workers: Large simulation exercise at TPM for the EU project “iTrack”
In the week of April 16, all 13 international partners of the EU H2020 iTRACK project gathered at the TPM faculty for a full week of technology integration and testing of the ambitious iTrack system, an advanced system for real-time tracking and monitoring to support humanitarian operations in the dire conditions of conflict disasters.
Researching the Role of Airports in a Disaster
Dr. Bartel Van de Walle discusses the importance of researching the critical role of airports during disaster response. A workshop with humanitarian practitioners and industry experts was recently held to highlight how HumTech Lab research can contribute to on-the ground solutions.
Volunteers needed for iTRACK Event
The iTRACK project will be hosting a medium scale humanitarian exercise at the TU Delft campus during 16th - 20th April 2018. The exercise will include state-of-the-art technology for practitioners and academics alike. The event will also provide an opportunity for students to get familiar with the humanitarian logistics procedure, information management, and security assessment.
Date: 16-20th April 2018
Location: TU Delft campus in Delft
Northern European Conference on Emergency and Disaster Studies (NEEDS)
The TU Delft HumTech Lab will be participating in The Third Northern European Conference on Emergency and Disaster Studies and will demonstrate the Plaitra board game. Plaitra is a serious game focusing on the humanitarian aid delivery process in a conflict environment. Players can experience the intra- and inter-organizational cooperation and coordination among aid organizations, the importance and tactics of information management, complexities in humanitarian logistics, the criticality of security and situational awareness during the missions, how technologies can help improve the operational performance and how to make strategic decisions on technology investment and development.
Date: 22 March 2018
#NotATarget: A session on serious gaming in crisis response
The iTRACK project will host a serious gaming workshop for humanitarian actors at the TU Delft campus in the Hague. Decision-makers engaged in humanitarian interventions and emergency responses regularly work under ambiguous and hazardous conditions, which can bring various operational and security-related risks to them. In the workshop, participants will experience the challenges of multidisciplinary collaboration in disaster management. By playing a board game, they will explore the critical roles of technology, communication and coordination, and how to achieve a balance in conducting crisis response.
Date: 20 March 2018
Location: TU Delft campus the Hague
Airports & Humanitarian Aid workshop
On March 15-16 the HumTech Lab hosted an event to generate insight on the critical role of airports as well as the problems they are facing in the immediate and near-term response phase of a disaster. During a crisis, airports are often the lifeline to the affected region through which incoming humanitarian aid is channelled and the coordination of the response is initiated. Yet, as they too are affected by the disaster, airports often struggle to cope with the increased influx of goods and people. The workshop brought together non-governmental organizations, municipal leaders, industry practitioners and academics, to discuss ideas for improving the efficiency of humanitarian aid delivery and strategies for removing these bottlenecks.
International Simulation and Gaming Association (ISAGA) Conference paper submission
The International Simulation and Gaming Association (ISAGA) is an international organization for scientists and practitioners who develop and use simulation, gaming, and related methodologies. The 49th ISAGA conference will take place in Thailand. The HumTech Lab submitted two abstracts. The first one is about using games to exchange knowledge between experts from aviation and humanitarian aid. The second one focuses on the comparison of learning outcomes from digital and analogue multi-player games. Both abstracts have been successfully reviewed.
The 15th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM) will be hosted this year by Rochester Institute of Technology. Papers from HumTech Lab members Bartel Van de Walle, Kenny Meesters, Tina Comes, and David Paulus are included in the event. ISCRAM is a global community of academic researchers and practitioners. The annual international conference is a premier international venue for the dissemination of peer-reviewed research and lessons learned from all aspects of information systems for crisis response and management. Topics of interest to ISCRAM include, but are not limited to: crisis informatics, geographic information systems (GIS), human-computer interaction, humanitarian information management, situation awareness, visual analytics, social media, serious games and more.
HumTech and Blockchain
Bartel van de Walle led a presentation on the application of blockchains to humanitarian aid. Though blockchain is generally known for its use in cryptography and the financial sector, Dr. van de Walle made the case for its application to sensitive emergency response systems. In conjunction with the Delft blockchain lab, HumTech will continue to push for research of emerging technologies into innovating the future of crisis response and humanitarian aid.
HumTech Goes to Brussels!
On 31 January 2018, the HumTech Lab took 15 students and researchers to visit the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) headquarters in Belgium. During this visit, members of the European Commission gave students an inside look at how humanitarian and civil protection aid works, and what role the EU and ERCC play in the world’s biggest disasters. The trip gave students an opportunity to speak one-on-one with experienced professionals in the faced-paced career of humanitarian aid operations and disaster response.