The EU PROACTIVE Project Holds its Final Conference in Brussels

Published by laura_p on

We recently had an incredible experience at the Joint Final Conference held in Brussels, Belgium. This event brought together three EU-funded projects: eNOTICE, PROACTIVE, and PANDEM-2, with the aim of enhancing crisis management strategies in the areas of CBRNe incidents and pandemics.

It was an exciting opportunity for over 120 participants to gather either physically or online and exchange valuable insights over this three day event.

The first day of the conference kicked off with an insightful overview of all three projects from their respective coordinators.

Man at podium, speaking. Two persons seated on stage. Background a PROACTIVE slide

Grigore Havarneanu, PROACTVE project coordinator, presents key facts about PROACTIVE

Then, partners presented their key findings and recommendations derived from the collaborative field training exercises, which focused on improving CBRNe preparedness and response.

On the PROACTIVE side, Tony Godwin, from project partner CBRNE Ltd, presented about valuable insights from our three CBRNe training exercises. Åsa Burlin, from project partner European CBRNE center also presented about the importance of engaging with Civil Society, including vulnerable groups, for improved CBRN preparedness and response.

A man at podium speaking. Two persons (man and woman) are sitting. On the back PROACTIVE slide

Tony Godwin presents “Lessons Learned from Three Field Training exercises: ‘from a guide dog to an exercise guide”

A Woman at podium speaking. Two men are seating.

Åsa Burlin presents “Lessons learned from engaging with Civil Society”

What made it even more interesting was the involvement of external stakeholders from the PROACTIVE Civil Society Advisory Board (CSAB), who shared their testimonies and lessons learned from observing these exercises.

First up was Luca Rotondi from Emergenza Sordi who gave testimony on the valuable contribution of deaf volunteers in our CBRNe exercise. He highlighted that their participation exposed communication challenges. This experience helped grow the knowledge of the needs of deaf persons during a CBRN incident.

Second, Mohamed Gawad (Moe) from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, also shared his experience. He emphasized the effectiveness of PROACTIVE training field exercises in bridging the feedback communication gap between civil society and practitioners.

A man at podium speaking. Three persons (two men and a woman) are sitting and listening.

Luca Rotondi gives his testimony, entitled “PROACTIVE CSAB Observer Experience Emergenza Sordi APS”

A man is online presenting power point slide titled "The added value of PROACTIVE".

Mohamed Gawad gives his testimony entitled “The added value of PROACTIVE”

On the second day, we had a fruitful synergy session, where 11 other EU-funded projects joined us to discuss their relevance in relation to the results of eNOTICE, PROACTIVE, and PANDEM-2.

A woman at podium speaking. Others 6 men and a woman are sitting and listening.

Representatives of 11 other EU-funded projects have a Q&A session

The session began with Jon Hall from the Crisis Management Innovation Network explaining the CSTAC cluster of CBRN and standardisation projects. Then, Ives Van Haute from the Belgium National Crisis Centre shared the work of Bullseye on harmonisation of CBRN procedures and explosive detection dogs.

A man at podium speaking

John Hall presents the DRS CBRNe and Standardisation projects which are part of the CSTAC cluster

A man at podium speaking. Seven person (two women and five men) are sitting and listening

Ives Van Haute presents the Bullseye project

Federico Benolli from Fondazione SAFE then presented the RESIST project, which focuses on critical infrastructure capacity building for CBRN incidents. He also presented the VERTIgO project, which is developing both hardware and software for Virtual Reality and Extended Reality CBRN training.

A man at podium speaking. Six persons (five men and a woman) are sitting and listening

Federico Benolli presents the VERTIgO project

This was followed by Chaim Rafalowski from Magen David Adom who discussed how the NO-FEAR Project successfully fostered collaboration among a pan-European network of medical security practitioners, research, industry, and policy makers. He also presented COVINFORM Project, which focuses on vulnerable groups and COVID-19. Together with PROACTIVE, we published a White Paper on Inclusive Crisis Communication for CBRN & pandemics.

A man at podium speaking. Seven persons are sitting and listening

Chaim Rafalowski presents the NO-FEAR project

The NIGHTINGALE Project was presented by Eleftherios Ouzounoglou from ICCS – NTUA and he explained how they are using innovative technologies to improve medical triage in disaster events. Afterwards, Györgyi Bela explained the work of HoloZcan on Bio threat detection.

A man at podium speaking. Other eight persons are sitting

Eleftherios Ouzounoglou presents the NIGHTINGALE project

A woman at podium speaking. Eight persons are sitting

Györgyi Bela presents the HoloZcan project

The MELODY project, which was presented by Carlos Rojas Palma, developed a harmonised CBRN training curriculum for first responders, which is already being used in the EU. Per-Erik Johansson from European CBRNE Center then presented the JA TERROR project, which aims to address gaps in the preparedness of the health sector when it comes to CBRN attacks.

A man at podium speaking. Eight persons sitting and listening

Carlos Rojas Palma presents the MELODY project


A man at podium speaking. Eight persons are sitting and listening

Per-Erik Johansson presents the JA TERROR project

Last but not least, Tom Flynn presented the PEERS project, which is creating a community of users that includes practitioners, researchers and standaradisation bodies in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction and CBRNe.

A man at podium speaking. Eight persons are sitting and listening

Tom Flynn presents the PEERS project

Following this, a session was dedicated to a training workshop for the PROACTIVE Communication toolkit, which is made up of a web platform and mobile app enabling both citizens and practitioners to exchange information about CBRN incidents. Garik Markarian from RINISOFT led the training and also held an interactive booth throughout the event, where participants had the opportunity to try out the web platform for themselves!

Man at podium presenting PROACTIVE CBRNE Crisis Communication Toolkit

Garik Markarian presents “PROACTIVE CBRNe Crisis Communications toolkit”

Four people in the photo (three men and a woman) are standing near the PROACTIVE_EU stand and discussing the PROACTIVE_EU app

Garik Markarian explains the PROACTIVE web communication tool to booth visitors

After the discussion session, the conference continued with a fruitful discussion between eNOTICE, PROACTIVE and PANDEM-2 on the transferable lessons from the CBRNe domain to pandemics, and vice versa. Of note are the presentations from PROACTIVE partners Dale Weston from UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and Andreas Arnold from the German Police University (DHPol).

Dale Weston explained how decades of research in the field of public health have culminated in the PROACTIVE project. He further described how the PROACTIVE findings, which lead  to an approach to emergency preparedness and response focused on accurate communication, understanding factors associated with behaviour, and working to minimise barriers while maximizing facilitators, were taken into account by UKHSA as part of their work on Covid-19.

Man at podium speaking and presenting power point slide. Four persons sitting and listening

Dale Weston presents “Transferable lessons from CBRNe to pandemics”

Next, Andreas Arnold further explained how PROACTIVE interviews with CBRNe practitioners showed practitioners believed the raised awareness around pandemic appropriate behaviours, like masking, would help the public be better prepared for other CBRNe threats. You can read the full interview results in the PROACTIVE deliverable D2.5 – Final Report on common approaches of CBRNe Practitioners.

Man at podium speaking and presenting power point slide. Four persons sitting and listening

Andreas Arnold presents “Transferrable lessons from CBRNe to Pandemics”

Following this, PROACTIVE project coordinator Grigore Havarneanu from the International union of Railways moderated an engaging session focusing on key exploitable results and recommendations from all three projects.

Four people (three women and a man) in the photo are sitting next to each other and discussing. A man is holding a microphone and speaking.

Grigore Havarneanu moderates the session “Key exploitable results (KERs) and recommendations”

In this session, Laura Petersen, PROACTIVE Dissemination Manager, also from the International Union of Railways, explained the PROACTIVE Core Recommendations, encouraged uptake of the PROACTIVE Crisis Communication System, discussed the Policy Making Toolkit, shared several key results: Aide Memoire for training exercises involving vulnerable persons, the PROACTIVE Ethical Framework and our Pre-Incident Information Materials. Lastly, she presented the lessons learned when PROACTIVE engaged with its Civil Society Advisory Board and its Practitioner Stakeholder Advisory Board

Woman at podium speaking. Three persons sitting and listening

Project partner Laura Petersen presents PROACTIVE key results and recommendations

The conference concluded with a panel on long-term exploitation, which was moderated by Philippe Quevauviller from DG HOME.  PROACTVE partner Richard Amlôt from UKHSA mentioned that engagement with the general public, and especially with vulnerable groups, adds value to CBRNe preparedness and that this lesson will be taken forward within UKHSA after PROACTIVE ends.

Seven people (four women and three men) are in the photo.

Project partner Richard Amlôt speaks at the panel session on long-term exploitation

The conference continued for a third day which was dedicated solely to project PANDEM-2, delving deeper into their specific contributions and achievements. Throughout, PANDEM-2 partners emphasized the significance of the work carried out by PROACTIVE in promoting the inclusion of vulnerable groups in CBRN preparedness. Additionally, they highlighted that the outcomes generated by PROACTIVE will be used to enhance the preparedness and response to pandemics within EU member states.

Taken from the back of a room, 50+ people seated at round tables, on the stage a woman speaking on a podium, backdrop the project logos

PANDEM-2 project coordinator starts the third day of the conference

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the participants. We would like to especially thank all the speakers from the PROACTIVE consortium for sharing the results from over four years of hard work. This three day event was an amazing opportunity to work closely with two other EU funded projects and really showcase the synergies between our work. We’d like to therefore also thank the contributors from other projects for their invaluable collaboration.


For those who couldn’t attend, fret not! All the conference presentations are available for your perusal at this link:

Additionally, you can catch the recordings of the three-day event on YouTube through the following links:

Day 1 (First part) –
Day 1 (Second part) –
Day 2 –
Day 3 (Only PANDEM-2) –