On 4 May 2022, the CBRN-E Research and Innovation Conference (attended by 600 people) held in Lille hosted a CERIS side-event on Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Hazards (CBRN) preparedness. The event gathered around 40 people representing policy-makers, scientists, practitioners and SME sectors and projects.
The CBRN-E R&I Conference happens every two years and gathers CBRN-E practitioners and organisations from Europe and beyond. This represents a great opportunity for the Civil Security for Society programme to disseminate information on EU-funded intiatives, with a number of attendees from CBRN-E-related projects funded by the Commission (mainly, H2020 and ISF).
CERIS session on CBRN Preparedness and Response
The eNOTICE project supported DG HOME to organise aN event under the CERIS umbrella. 13 CBRN projects participated in the event (see below the full list) and a 4-hour session took place involving representatives from DG HOME, ECHO and FPI. Besides this event, several projects had keynote speeches at the conference, as well as booths in the exhibition area.
The CERIS session on CBRN Preparedness and Response:
- gathered stakeholders
- shared knowledge
- discussed the current state-of-play and future plans of CBRN research
The session included presentations and discussion of policy initiatives on CBRN preparedness, with highlights about the collaboration between stakeholders, gaps, needs, training and exercises, and response (innovative CBRN technologies, harmonisation and standardisation). The session illustrated the complexity of the CBRN world, mixing many sectors of expertise and actors who are not necessarily working in close cooperation due to different operational environments. The conference was a wonderful example of community building.
CBRN within the EU
CBRN policies are undertaken across different EU policy areas:
- terrorism acts tackled by the CBRN Action Plan (with links to UNICRI) at DG HOME
- civil protection embedded into the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (with links to UN-DRR and the Sendai FWA) at DG ECHO
- accidental CBRN incidents covered by the Seveso III Directive (with links to UNECE) at DG ENV
Key event outcomes
The CERIS session held at the conference showed that there is a large audience for CBRN topics and that new synergies develop between projects and EU-funded instruments. Networks of practitioners also strengthen the involvement of first responders in research developments. Industry and medium to small business partners are obviously key stakeholders, potentially bringing high TRL tools and technologies to the market.
Finally, the basic question was “who are we working for?” which brought participants back to the title of the “Civil Security for Society” cluster. If the citizen dimension should be at the heart of community development, recent initiatives are contributing to bring this dimension into the research environment.
Other project presentations
Besides the CERIS side-event, several keynote presentations of projects funded by the “Civil Security for Society” Programme were made in plenary sessions of the Conference. These include:
- the PROACTIVE project on “Including vulnerable people in CBRN field exercises - an ethical approach”
- the EuroBioTox project on “European programme for the establishment of validated procedures for the detection and identification of biological toxins (EuroBioTox)”.
Both projects had booths in the exhibition area.
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