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DIESIS: Protection of critical European infrastructures

Natural disasters, human error, technical failure and terrorist attacks are all factors that increase the risk of critical European infrastructures being out of operation on a large scale and for an extensive period. In an EU project, TNO is developing a modelling and simulation infrastructure for international research into dependent critical infrastructures

How do you prevent the consequences when critical infrastructures fail and, when prevention fails, how do you reduce the impact of those consequences? Answering these questions involves the assembly and coordinated use of a wide range of simulation models and data. This material, which is still being used separately by various disciplines, includes flood models, models of networks for electricity, telecommunications and drinking water, logistics and transport, regional statistical databases and economic models.


A new project was recently launched within the EU's Seventh Framework Programme. The project is called Designing an Interoperable European federated Simulation network for Critical InfraStructures (DIESIS). DIESIS gathers the wishes and requirements of governments, private parties and researchers and, at the same time, compiles an inventory of the available simulation models and databases in Europe. Next, a European infrastructure will be designed in which such models and databases can be linked up and cooperate. Designers of this 'EISAC' facility – named after the model of the American National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC) – are looking at its organisational and legal aspects, at information security, technical interoperability and ontologies. Alternative business models for this European facility are also being considered.

Linked simulation models, such as those DIESIS will facilitate, allow the better mapping of the consequences of a natural disaster, enabling better evacuation and recovery planning and thus better decisions. On a European scale, linked models can clarify the problems likely to arise in the transport ¬infrastructure and the food supply – for example, when a harbour like Le Havre is out of operation for a long period. TNO, involved since 2001 in a series of studies to improve the protection of critical infrastructure in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, is the Dutch consortium partner in this project costing EUR 1.5 million. DIESIS is led by the German institute Fraunhofer IAIS. Other partners are the Imperial College London, the Campanian Consortium for Research in Informatics and Industrial Automation (CRIAI; Italy) and the Italian Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment (ENEA).


Ir. Eric Luiijf

  • Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • CIP
  • CIIP
  • Cyber Security
  • SCADA security

70 years of Defence Research

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