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How the PathoCERT Communities of Practice Are Connecting Stakeholders and Enabling Innovation

How do we enhance the operational capacities of first responders during outbreaks of waterborne diseases and how can we boost cross-country collaborations? Given the differences and complexities of existing emergency management systems, connecting key actors across and within countries is essential. Not only to guarantee a deeper understanding of challenges, needs and opportunities but also to explore the uptake of novel technologies and processes collaboratively. Through running its Communities of Practice (CoP), the PathoCERT project has concluded the second round of multi-stakeholder targeted meetings in each of the six project pilot cities: Limassol (Cyprus), Thessaloniki (Greece), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Granada (Spain), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Seoul (South Korea).

Building upon the insights gathered from the first round of events, the CoP meetings revolved around expanding the knowledge-base with special attention to the PathoCERT tailor-made technologies, guidelines, and processes in connection to the cities´ emergency scenarios.

The CoP meetings gathered over 80 stakeholders, representing local civil defence departments, civil protection agencies, police and fire services, public health services, local and municipal authorities, water utilities, first responder bodies, and the Red Cross. Their outcomes resulted in a detailed overview of users´ requirement for the different PathoCERT technologies, including wearable sensors to detect water pathogens in real-time, drones to collect water samples in remote areas, and even the use of social media like Twitter to identify the occurrence of emergency events via citizens´ tweets.

In PathoCERT, the Communities of Practice act as an innovative bridge between local, regional and national stakeholders and technology developers, providing the necessary neutral stage for open discussions and conducting of co-creation processes. The results of this second round of CoP meetings paves the way for the further development and/or refinement of the project technologies as well as for the setting up of the pilot-testing activities.

For more information on the PathoCERT six Communities of Practice and the pilot case studies, please visit the PathoCERT project website!

The PathoCERT project aims to increase the ability of first responders to rapidly detect waterborne pathogens and ensure collaboration and coordination between the different actors during an emergency event. It brings together a consortium of 23 partners including universities, research organisations, NGOs, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), large enterprises, first responders, and water utility operators from different European countries and South Korea to research and develop targeted technologies, tools, and procedures.

For further information, please contact Francesca Grossi.