STAMINA: Demonstration of intelligent decision support for pandemic crisis prediction and management within and across European borders
STAMINA aims to contribute to this crucial effort by focusing on providing solutions for the preparedness and response phases of the emergency management cycle by facilitating intelligent evidence-based decision support for practitioners at national and regional levels involved in pandemic crises management. For this purpose, STAMINA offers a variety of tools and guidelines. STAMINA leverages on concepts and technology that is either commercially available or has sufficiently matured through previous research projects, but not yet used by the national and regional health emergency planners or first responders of Europe in their daily practice of pandemics management.
Communicable diseases have the potential to result in serious cross-border public health threats. Efforts have been made to improve health security in the EU area through sharing of information and services. However management of this type of crisis remains an incredible challenge in a cross-border arena where there are different legal, administrative, professional and political cultures and therefore it becomes harder to detect threats, understand current circumstances and make joint decisions. The Coronavirus pandemic and the way COVID-19 outbreak affects all aspects of our society highlights the need for more research in the area of planning and preparedness for such global crises. STAMINA’s efforts will draw upon evidence and experiences from actions taken in the current pandemic crisis.
The project consortium consists of 38 partners from 16 countries including nine First Responder organisations and eight National Planners in charge of pandemic crisis management.
BISKIT: Blood Information System for Crisis Intervention and Management
Hospitals require a constant stream of blood supplies to be able to take care of their patients. In times of crisis, such as natural hazards, the demand for blood can rise tremendously, while at the same time the supply may decrease. Despite the obvious importance of blood supply chains, surprisingly few works in research take a holistic view onto all supply chain partners in order to improve their resilience in times of crisis: From donation centers over testing centers to blood banks and hospitals, blood supply chains consist of a multitude of actors who’s collaboration and cooperation is of utmost importance. This holds especially true in regions, which are strongly affected by global warming and thus suspect to frequent droughts, as water is needed in the processing of blood donations. One of the countries especially affected in this manner is South Africa.
Started in April 2020, the project “BISKIT - Blood Information System for Crisis Intervention and Management” funded by the German Ministry for Research and Education set out to improve the crisis resilience of blood supply chains in cooperation with the two providers of South African blood services – WCBS and SANBS. While both organizations operate complex blood supply chains, practitioners reported a lack of information during decision making, unclear responsibilities and competencies of the different actors in the supply chains and a lack of strategies for communication, transport and logistics, especially in times of crisis. These issues are tackled by the BISKIT-project through the conceptualization of an integrated information system expected to improve decision making. Key components of the information system will be capabilities to visualize and investigate the blood supply chain, simulation tools to evaluate different decision alternatives and optimization tools to provide decision support.
As part of the project team consisting of the Paul-Ehrlich Institute, eHealth Africa, Free University of Berlin, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Münster, the C³M is taking over the tasks of conceptualizing the architecture of the information system and to provide oursimulation environment HumLogSUITE to gain insights into the blood supply chains behavior in different scenarios. For the design of the information system, expertise in the area of Enterprise Architecture Management is used, to conceptualize a system that manages to interface with the different actors within the blood supply chain in order to make the relevant information available to all participants. To establish the simulation environment, further development and adaptations of the already established HumlogSUITE are in progress in order to be able to evaluate different logistics strategies. Ultimately, both strains of research hereby work towards the classic goal in logistics as a whole: Replacing inventories with information.
Project status in progress Project time
04/2020 - 03/2023
Group Chair for Information Systems and Supply Chain Management (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath) Funding source BMBF/Zoonosen-Netz Project number 01N15214 Keywords Blood; Blood chains; Agent-based Modeling; Logistics; Enterprise Architecture; South Africa
EPIPREDICT: User-oriented Extension and Automation of Agent-based Software for Pathogen-specific Modelling of Epidemics
Due to our globalized and ever-more connected world, infectious diseases spread wider and faster than ever before. Especially in wake of the 2020 Sars-Cov-2 pandemic, it becomes clear that such diseases can rise from very few cases to a global thread within days. While there are numerous epidemiological prediction models, most of them follow a macroscopic approach to approximate overall infections or case fatalities. However, a more profound understanding of how the spread is impacted by biological (age, sex, immunization, …) , social (relationships, working hours, individual response to infection, …) and public/political factors (public fear, infection prevention policies, …) can help to craft more sophisticated epidemics response mechanisms. To this end microsimulations are used to get a deeper understanding of drivers of the epidemic, to predict possible future states and to enhance decision making.
Since 2014, an agent-based infectious disease modeling platform was developed at the University of Münster in a joint project of information system developers, epidemiologists and virologists. With a strong focus on applicability, the software’s usability, as perceived by non-IT domain experts, has always been a key requirement. Hence, we could derive the following core features:
- A web-based and code-free modeling environment that can serve medical domain experts and decision-makers as a testbed to investigate infection scenarios and evaluate mitigation strategies
- A modular software architecture that facilitates reusability and extensibility for developers
- Rich simulation visualization tools to enhance and accelerate data analysis
- A platform to work collaboratively by documenting and storing test runs and results in an extensive database
As of March 1st, a new cross-sectional project, EPIPREDICT, funded by the Nationale Forschungsplattform für Zoonosen was initiated. This project aims at extending the modeling platform to enable the analysis of various zoonotic disease infection scenarios. These diseases originate from non-human animals and are in many cases extremely dangerous to humans as our immune system is generally not sufficiently prepared to respond to disease exposue. Bird-Flu, Swine-Flu, HIV, Ebola, Malaria, Hanta-Virus and the recent Sars-Cov-2 belong to this family of diseases. However, the individual dynamic of such diseases and the consequential model complexity varies significantly. Therefore, three major project areas with increasing complexity and respective real-world use cases were defined:
- Zoonotic pathogens in human populations
use cases: influenza viruses and vaccination coverage & introduction of corona viruses from endemic regions
- Unidirectional transmission from animals to humans
use case: transmission of hanta viruses from bank voles to humans
- Bidirectional transmission (animal – human – animal)
use case: bidirectional transmission of malaria tropica pathogens between mosquito populations and human populations
These models are created in close collaboration with our domain-expert project partners from the Institute of Molecular Virology, University of Münster; Department of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Münster; Julius Kühn-Institut, Münster; Charité, Berlin; Niedersächsisches Landesgesundheitsamt, Hannover and Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Greifswald - Insel Riems.
DRIVER: DRiving InnoVation in crisis management for European Resilience
DRIVER starts from the experience that neither successful R&D nor strong end-user demand always lead to innovation in the Crisis Management (CM) domain. This is a problem since as societies become more complex, increasing scope and unpredictability of potential crises and faster dynamics of major incidents put increasingly stringent demands on CM. European CM capabilities already constitute a mature System of Systems; hence wholesale redesign would often be too costly and might critically destabilise existing CM capabilities.
Therefore DRIVER focuses on augmenting rather than replacing existing capabilities and will aim at producing a comprehensive, well-balanced and cost-effective Portfolio of CM tools exploiting high potential RTD work from the last decade, not least in FP7 and FP6 projects. This portfolio will address not only needs of professional responders but also of society at large. DRIVER will carry out experimentation campaigns in three strands: tools and methods for responders, resilience of civil society and learning by both. The intra-strand experimentation leads into two Joint Experiment campaigns and a Final Demo focusing on challenges requiring highly complex interaction between CM tools.
To evaluate and benchmark these CM tools, a strong evidence base for tool selection is crucial; to this end DRIVER will build a distributed European CM Test-bed, itself a major innovation.
To maximise impact beyond the scope of the project and of the DRIVER consortium it is necessary to develop the sustainability of the European Test-bed, the exploitation of the DRIVER Portfolio of Tools and to make emerge a European CM community, which shares a common CM understanding and is increasingly willing to share capabilities and collaborate in CM innovation.
These three objectives need and feed each other, thus developing Europe’s ability to continue adapting its CM capabilities to emerging needs long after the project end.
Join the DRIVER Community: http://www.driver-project.eu/
Project status in progress Project time
05/2014 - 06/2020
Group Chair for Information Systems and Supply Chain Management (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath) Funding source EU FP 7 - Large-scale integrating project Project number 607798 Keywords Crisis management; Crisis management tools; experimentation campaigns; crisis demonstrations; Humanitäre Logistik
NITIMesr: A Networked and IT-enabled Firm's Perspective on Crisis Management
By the middle of the year, experts announced 2011 to be the most expensive year in counts of global disaster damages ever. The EU has articulated its ambition to become an effective player in crisis management as part of the European Security Strategy (Stockholm Programme 2010-2014, Lisbon Treaty). The Hyogo Framework stipulates that a substantial reduction of disaster losses is only possible through advanced governance and management.
NITIMesr has been designed as a practice-inspired research initiative that addresses research and conceptualization of new modes and competencies for coordination and collaboration in heterogeneous actor networks including involvement of individuals, advanced practices of vertically integrating governance of crisis management, strategic and operative management, with a special focus on involvement and engagement of self-motivated individuals - actors, agents, volunteer, citizens or, as we call them - entrepreneurs.
NITIMesr brings together an interdisciplinary group of researchers and industry partners including the two leading European security clusters around the international court of justice in Den Haag and the Bavarian Security Cluster around the International Campus Aerospace and Security, BICAS, at the German EADS headquarters in Munich. The aim is to explore new frontiers of safety and security with the institutional, governance, organizational and managerial challenges of crisis networks, to develop and test innovative approaches for coordination in real world settings and to build Europe-wide connected clusters for crisis management and implement integrated solutions. Both clusters expect universities to provide the key success factor talent through leadership for joint research, education, development and career development. The role of this ITN is to provide initial resources to establish European-level leadership to build research and training capacities in the security clusters on advanced crises management.
For more information see: NITIM Website
Project status finished Project time 10/2012 - 09/2016 Group Chair for Information Systems and Supply Chain Management (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath) Funding source EC FP 7 - Marie Curie Actions - Initial Training Networks Project number 317382 Keywords Crisis Management; Humanitarian Logistics
ICT-DM'19: The 4th International Conference on Information on Communication Technologies for Disaster Management
The International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies for Disaster Management (ICT-DM’2017) will be held in Münster, Germany from 11th of December to 13th of December 2017. ICT-DM’2017 aims to bring together academics and practitioners who are involved in emergency services, ad hoc planning and disaster management and recovery, in order to learn about the latest research developments, share experiences and information about this area and develop recommendations.
For more information see: ICT DM'2017
Project status finished Project time 11.12.2017-13.12.2017 Group Chair for Information Systems and Supply Chain Management (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath) Funding source Participant fees Project number none Keywords Crisis Management; ICT; Conference; Humanitarian Logistics
Epidemics: Application and Improvement of Computational Intelligence Algorithms for Modeling and Optimization of Complex Problems in Supply Chain Planning and Epidemics ForecastingPlanning the activities in a large supply and distribution network is a highly complex task involving a large number of actors, deciding about a multitude of parameters like production and transportation volumes or inventory levels. Current methods being applied are based on classical methods of operations research or different meta-heuristics, resulting very often in not acceptable run times. Besides the sheer complexity of the planning task the involvement of independent actors requires methods of decentralized planning. From the computational side mainly agent-based methods are being applied to cover this aspect. The same complexity is found in epidemiological modeling of viral disease outbreaks, as hidden relations among actors have to be understood for usable forecast to be produced.Regarding the optimization of such complex problems new computational intelligence algorithms (e.g. fish school search - FSS) are promising an efficient computation while on the same time leading to results of high quality. The integration with agent-based social simulation (ABSS) offers new possibilities in describing and understanding the dynamics of, on the one hand, the supply chain planning process between independent actors and, on the other hand, the parameters that control an epidemic spread. Thus we foresee that the hybridization of a swarm intelligence technique and an agent-based technique will be able to tackle the difficulties posed by the selected application problems as they blend fast exploratory capabilities of large search spaces (by FSS) and meaningful representations of spatiality such as neighboring and locality (given by ABSS).In this context the following scientific objectives are approached through the project:
- Application of new modeling and optimization techniques within the areas as diverse as supply chain planning and epidemic spread modeling
- Integration of these techniques with the existing state of the art planning and simulation methods in supply chain planning and epidemic spread modeling
- Adaptation and extension of the methods from computational intelligence
- Evaluation of the methods regarding the solution quality and efficiency
- Investigation of further application areas (e.g. logistics in public health) and possibilities for industrial deployment
Project status finished Project time 09/2013-08/2016 Group Chair for Information Systems and Supply Chain Management (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath) Funding source BMBF Project number 01DN13033 Keywords Computational Intelligence; Supply Chains; Epidemics
Humanitarian Logistics Council of the BVL International
The number of acute and permanent catastrophes has increased by six times in the last forty years. Current examples like the earthquake in North Italy underline once more that measures like an efficient emergency response and a controlled long-term recovery are essential. Up to now, 50 to 80 percent of collected donations raised by aid agencies are spent on logistics. Through better and more cost-efficient processes in logistics great savings can be achieved. This is the starting point for the Humanitarian Logistics Council of the BVL (German Logistics Association).
The Humanitarian Logistics Council is lead by Prof. Dr.- Ing. Hellingrath who holds the Chair for Information Systems and Supply Chain Management at the Westfalian Wilhelms-University in Münster. The council connects about 35 organizations from aid, industry, trade and service, and research.
The council aims to develop solution approaches for a sustainable improvement of Humanitarian Logistics, which is based on the results of the 1st BVL Humanitarian Logistics Council, which was lead by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Baumgarten from 2010-2011. The results of the 1st council are published in German, as seen below.
1. Platform to support logistics in disaster operations
Conception of a platform for the support of aid agencies through members of the BVL network Identifying a group of experienced logistics experts that are willing to function as advisors for aid agencies or participate actively in disaster operations
Transfer of the 1st council’s insights into and further discussions with the international community Invitation of renowned international representatives to council meetings Publication of the council’s results and documentation in English
3. Get Seaports Ready for Disaster
Development of a program for the logistic coordination of seaports in case of disaster Conception of a pilot project with harbor operators and other service providers in logistics
4. Expansion of the IT requirements profile from the 1st council
Identifying and reprocessing the requirements profile for IT systems Consideration of location based services or crisis mapping approaches Creation of a base for technological innovations in context of humanitarian logistics software.
05/2012 - 04/2013
Bundesvereinigung Logistik e.V. / BVL International
Humanitarian Logistics, process analysis, community management, sea-ports