Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Cattolica International

Four teams researching for the safety of our society

by Maria Strumendo

From large public health emergencies, to the dangers of chemical weapons, to criminal acts, and the risk of terrorism: Security is undoubtedly one of the most crucial challenges of today's society. To explore this issue, Università Cattolica is armed with four active research groups working on many fronts to prevent, understand and meet the challenges of security.

Università Cattolica is part of a large scale: Horizon 2020 is the largest EU Framework Programs for Research and Innovation, with Societal Challenges nominated as one of the program sections. More than 345 million euros have been allocated by the European Commission for 2014-2015 to focus on a number of challenges, one of these being Secure societies – Protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens.

Research and innovation activities are not just bringing together universities, but they are including all security stakeholders – SMEs, research organizations, as well as public authorities, non-governmental organizations and public and private organizations in the security domain.

Università Cattolica has been working hard on the secure societies challenge. According to the specific skills of individual faculties and offices, it is providing research ideas, answers and services in the respected field.

The four research teams at work include:

  • Emergency Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Rome campus, group led by Professor Daniel Gui.

The group is working to developing protocols, tools and systems to be able to react in medical emergency situations, such as earthquakes, major disasters related to transportation, or the release of chemicals in a town, or the result of a terrorist attack.

  • Chemical weapons and mass destruction, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Rome campus, group led by Professor Ivo Iavicoli Institute of Public Health.

Research includes focusing on environmental monitoring of chemical and biological agents used as weapons of mass destruction in terrorist attacks, something of extreme importance for the programming of specific emergency response and public health surveillance.

  • The combined University Research Center on Transnational Crimes, "Transcrime," Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and the University Trento, led in Milan by Professor Ernesto Savona

The goal of Transcrime is to develop risk scenarios based on the characteristics of the latest attacks in Paris and to assess the effectiveness and costs of nonmilitary countermeasures, proposing new and more effective measures to prevent the phenomenon.

  • Italian Team for Security, terroristic Issues & Managing Emergencies (ITSTIME), the research center is coordinated by Professor Marco Lombardi, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Milan campus.

ITSTIME addresses the issue of security following a multidisciplinary approach guaranteed by the different profiles of its members. Aspects such as surveillance and monitoring, terrorism and emergency management are the subject of theoretical and empirical study that allow the development analysis for the identification of the processes that determine and condition them, focusing on their social and communicative connotations. The ultimate goal is therefore to provide a framework of international best practices in order to understand the specific situation and to plan future operational interventions.

The primary aims of the Secure Societies Challenge are to enhance the resilience of our society against natural and man-made disasters, to fight crime and terrorism, to improve border security, and to provide enhanced cyber-security.

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