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TOPIC : Human factors, and social, societal, and organisational aspects for disaster-resilient societies

Topic identifier: SU-DRS01-2018-2019-2020
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Boosting the effectiveness of the Security Union (SU)

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Planned opening date:
14 March 2019
Deadline: 22 August 2019 17:00:00

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Planned opening date:
15 March 2018
Deadline: 28 August 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The resilience of societies heavily depends on how their citizens behave individually or collectively, and how governments and civil society organisations design and implement policies for mitigating risks, preparing for, reacting to, overcoming, and learning from disasters. The spread of new technologies and media are inducing dramatic changes in how individuals and communities behave, and they are affecting societies in unpredictable ways. Building the resilience of society and citizens requires a better understanding and implementation of these new technologies, media and tools, and their capacity to raise disaster risk awareness, to improve citizen understanding of risks, to build a culture of risks in society, to enable an effective response from affected populations, to improve functional organisation in most fragile and vulnerable environments, and to increase the resilience of health services, social services, education, and governance, in line with target (d) of the Sendai Framework on critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services.


Proposals are invited to address related research and innovation issues, in particular:

Recent disasters related either to natural causes (including climate-related hazards) or to terrorist attacks have shown gaps in the level of preparedness of European society for disasters, and therefore highlighted the importance of increasing risk awareness, and hence resilience among people and decision-makers in Europe. There is much that can be learned from certain countries with a high level of risk of natural disasters (e.g. Japan with high-levels of risks of earthquakes, volcanic events, and tsunamis) and where risk awareness is high. Research is required with a view to how cultural changes among individuals, business managers, government officials, and communities can create a resilient society in Europe, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Over the past few years several ways to exploit social media and other crowd-sourced data in emergency situations have been studied, and some put in place, but their impacts are not well known. Research is needed to assess such practices for different disaster scenarios (natural hazards, industrial disasters, terrorist threats) involving different actors, including first responders, city authorities and citizens. Research should analyse both the positive and negative roles of social media and crowd-sourced data in crisis situations. For instance in the wake of a terror attack or natural disaster they offer a quick and easy way to relieve friends and family from worry (where networks are not down), and they generate valuable information about the affected area in the first moments after a disaster; they have been used to spread early warnings and important safety information. However, social media may also be used to spread false statements and to overstate threats, so the validation processes of information should also be addressed. Social media itself is reliant upon the functioning of critical infrastructure such as phone networks and may not always be available. Research should also address solutions for communication between first responders and the victims and citizens in the affected area.

Research on risk awareness should encompass the whole of the disaster management cycle, from prevention (e.g. through education) and preparedness (knowing how to react), emergency management (collaboration and communication before and during an event), response (empowering citizens to act efficiently by themselves according to more effective practices and following established guidelines), and recovery (knowledge to build back better). Researchers should take into account tangible and intangible cultural heritage, traditional know-how, land use, construction technologies, and other local knowledge which is a valuable source of information for the local communities and can help prevent the creation of new risks, to reduce existing risks, to prepare for and to respond to disasters and to build back better.

Sub-issues to be addressed are diversity in risk perception (as a result of e.g. geography (within Europe), attitudes, institutional and social trust, gender and socio-economic contexts), in vulnerabilities and in understanding responses to crises in order to propose new approaches and strategies for community awareness, for leadership, and for crisis readiness and management with a particular emphasis on the use of new technologies.

For achieving disaster-resilient societies that cope with disasters and build back better, the research community needs to transfer research outputs in an appropriate manner to meet citizen expectations given the current levels of risk acceptance, risk awareness, and involvement of civil society organisations in a mediating role.

Civil society organisations, first responders, (national, regional, local, and city) authorities are invited to propose strategies, processes, and methods to enable citizens better to access research results related to disaster resilience, and to prepare the ground for exercises involving citizens. These strategies, processes, and methods should be tested with citizens and communities representative of European diversity and for different types of disaster, in particular with regards to citizens' individual capacities and their involvement in checking and validating proposed tools, technologies and processes for disaster management. Studies will assess the value of raising awareness about relevant research among citizens and communities.

Proposals should be submitted by consortia involving relevant security practitioners and civil society organisations. Research should contribute to the understanding of society's awareness to risks in Europe in order to provide recommendations for the development of a culture of improved preparedness, adaptability, and resilience to risks, including the use of social media and crowd-sourced data, and the involvement of the citizens in the investigations and possible validation of tools and methods.

In line with the objectives of the Union's strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation according to the current rules of participation is encouraged (but not mandatory).

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of about EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately through multidisciplinary projects confronting different schools of thoughts. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

As a result of this action, Member States and Regional authorities as well as City and Metropolitan authorities should benefit from recommendations and tools aimed at improving the adaptability and preparedness of societies to different disaster risks, including:

  • Comparative analysis of the European diversity in terms of risk-perception amongst citizens, and of vulnerabilities;
  • Comparative analysis of different approaches to adapt to, and be prepared for risks in different countries (both within and outside the European Union), and among communities in precarious socio-economic conditions;
  • Advances through the cross-fertilisation of concepts resulting from the collision of different ways of thinking and of different approaches developed by various partners in the proposals;
  • Identification of existing tools and guidelines for an improved prevention (including risk understanding and communication), preparedness (including training involving citizens), alert systems and their recognition by citizens, responses using citizen's competencies and local knowledge, and recovery;
  • Improved information exchanges among different actors involved, including first responders, local authorities, schools, and citizen representatives;
  • Field-validation of different approaches related to different disaster risks involving the above actors, in representative urban and non-urban environments, including in areas where precarious socio-economic conditions prevail;
  • Intensive sharing, among communities, of good practices and of learnings resulting from citizen-scientist interaction;
  • A consolidated, common European understanding of disaster resilience.
Delegation Exception Footnote:

It is expected that this topic will continue in 2020.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities
International cooperation

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.

This topic requires the active involvement of at least 3 first responders' organisations or agencies from at least 3 different EU or Associated countries.

Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme.
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.


4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.


5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Research and Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement


6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

For grants awarded under this Security call for Coordination and Support Actions, Pre-Commercial Procurement Actions, Innovation Actions and/or Research and Innovation Actions, the Commission or Agency may object to a transfer of ownership or the exclusive licensing of results to a third party established in a third country not associated to Horizon 2020. The respective option of Article 30.3 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20

14. Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens WP 2018-20

18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme



7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.


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