SIRIOS researcher visiting BFRA Fraunhofer SIRIOS

Simulation creates stress

SIRIOS visits the Berlin Fire Brigade and Rescue Service Academy

How can simulations support the training of emergency personnel and leaders in security agencies? In order to align the new simulations from SIRIOS with the needs of the users and to learn about points of contact with existing technologies, the SIRIOS researchers maintain close communication with the practitioners of the fire brigade and police. After a visit to the Simulation Center of the Department of Rescue and Emergency Medicine at the Berlin Fire Brigade and Rescue Service Academy on March 6, where the SIRIOS employees gained insights into the use of simulation technology in training for rescue and emergency medicine, a presentation of the Simulation and Training Center of the Leadership and Management Department took place on Thursday, September 14.

The simulations are intended to guide the trainees through complex situations that require independent decision-making, immediate action, and coordination. In scenarios lasting up to 45 minutes, such as a major fire in downtown Berlin, they must act as incident commanders in the virtual environment under maximum stress. This is the best way to practice real operations. But what if... for example, the situation unexpectedly escalates or the virtual pedestrians suddenly react freely? Here, the world of simulation still encounters limitations and provided points of contact for discussions on SIRIOS' work.

In a workshop with the Berlin Fire Brigade at Fraunhofer SIRIOS on August 29, with the participation of Udo Walbrodt, Head of Operations and Leadership, Constantin Ahrens, Head of Leadership and Management, and Michél Süßmilch from the Rescue and Emergency Medicine Department, possibilities and limitations of simulation were explored. While much remains mere theory without technical support, not everything that is technologically possible must be used in training. "Technology should never be used for the sake of technology," says Ahrens, in line with the applied research approach of Fraunhofer SIRIOS. The planned participation of individual SIRIOS researchers in command exercises of the Berlin Fire Brigade is therefore another step towards transferring technology into practice.

SIRIOS-Messkampagne Brass Wiesn
Visitors of the Brass Wiesn 2023 festival Fraunhofer IOSB

"Brass Wiesn 2023": SIRIOS measurement campaign for safer large-scale events

Fraunhofer SIRIOS scientists conducted an extensive measurement campaign with the organizers of the "Brass Wiesn 2023 Festival" from August 3-6. The results of the project improve the simulation and security planning of large-scale events.

Optimal security at large events is one of the goals of the Fraunhofer Center for the Security of Socio-Technical Systems SIRIOS. Large crowds of people need movement areas designed to meet their needs and sufficiently dimensioned escape routes. This requires careful planning in advance and control options for flows of people during the event. Therefore, tools such as software for automated video analysis are being (further) developed within the framework of SIRIOS. The technologies support detailed simulations as well as crowd monitoring for real-time observation of major events and for situation display. This makes it possible, for example, to detect traffic jams and overcrowded areas at an early stage, to take countermeasures and to provide emergency forces with a comprehensive picture of the situation

For this development process, it is important to be able to compare automatically recorded or simulated data with the reality of a real large-scale event. For this reason, SIRIOS scientists are conducting an extensive measurement campaign at the beginning of August. For this purpose, the Fraunhofer Center is cooperating with the organizers of the Brass Wiesn 2023 festival in Eching, Bavaria, where more than 80 bands and bands will play on five stages for 15,000 visitors* over four days. 

Collaboration with the event industry will make it possible to further improve sensor-based crowd density and movement detection and generate data material for AI-based forecasts and simulations. Ultimately, this will allow the aforementioned tools to be optimized and future large-scale events to be made safer. 

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Guests and researchers at KRITIS workshop Fraunhofer FOKUS

The systemic view on security & resilience

Representatives from CRITIS and administration discussed cross-domain crisis management with researchers at Fraunhofer SIRIOS

In regular expert workshops, Fraunhofer SIRIOS fosters the exchange between users, administration and scientists. This was also the case on January 19 with around 20 participants from critical infrastructures (CRITIS), including electricity and networks, water supply, mobility, telecommunications, emergency services or hospital and pharmaceutical industry, as well as representatives of the Senate Department for the Interior, Digitalization and Sports. In addition to the networking between research and practitioners, a productive exchange between the CRITIS domains themselves also emerged and overarching problems and issues that all security managers have to deal with could be identified.

For example, the topic of communication was identified as a key issue. Disruption or even failure of communication infrastructures hit all domains hard and were accordingly assessed as highly relevant. But the issue of communication extends further and beyond the technical and intra-organizational dimension. Especially the interaction between the domains in the context of crisis management is a central challenge. Since networking at the personal level often precedes organizational, professional and technical cooperation, Fraunhofer SIRIOS as a neutral and vendor-independent platform intends to organize further workshops in the future, thus providing all network partners with a framework for discussions and brainstorming.

Advisory board members present after the meeting (from left to right): Klaus Zuch (Senate Department for the Interior, Digitalization and Sport), Nadine Nagel (IT and cybersecurity expert), Bernd Lietzau, (Senate Department for Science, Health, Care and Equality), Dr. Gitta Vischer (GASAG AG), Dr. Karsten Homrighausen (Berlin Fire Department), Sabine ten Hagen-Knauer (Federal Ministry of Education and Research). Fraunhofer FOKUS

Inaugural Meeting of the Advisory Board

Dr. Karsten Homrighausen will be the new Chairman

On November 24, 2022, the Advisory Board of Fraunhofer SIRIOS was founded. The members of the advisory board met for the first time at Fraunhofer FOKUS in Berlin and via video conference to discuss the strategic orientation of the new Fraunhofer Center with the participation of the SIRIOS steering committee and management. Dr. Karsten Homrighausen, State Fire Director of the Berlin Fire Department, was unanimously elected Chairperson of the Advisory Board. Vice Chairperson is Dr. Gitta Vischer, Head of Corporate Development at GASAG AG.

“The election of two persons related to the safety authority and an operator of critical infrastructures represents perfectly the focus of research at Fraunhofer SIRIOS. The management of the Center and its approximately 20 scientists will be looking forward to a competent and dedicated collaboration,” said Prof. Dr. Manfred Hauswirth, spokesperson of SIRIOS and the executive director of Fraunhofer Institute FOKUS.

The advisory board comprises a total of ten members – with equal representation of five women and five men - from politics and society, research and science, authorities and organizations with security tasks (BOS), operators of critical infrastructures (KRITIS) and the security industry. The members each receive their mandate for two years to advise the newly founded research center and strengthen the exchange between research and stakeholders. “Especially in the start-up phase of the center, this heterogeneous composition of the strategic advisory board is invaluable in order to have ideal support for the interdisciplinary interfaces in SIRIOS,” emphasized SIRIOS Managing Director Daniel Hiller. The advisory board meets at least once a year in the presence of the Fraunhofer SIRIOS office and the steering committee – consisting of the heads of the four participating Fraunhofer institutes EMI, FOKUS, IOSB and IVI.


  • Mathias Bessel, Regional Fire Department Association in Saxony
  • Sabine ten Hagen-Knauer, Federal Ministry of Education and Research
  • Dr. Karsten Homrighausen, Berlin Fire Department (Chairperson)
  • Dr. Angelika Kneidl, accu:rate GmbH – Institute for Crowd Simulation
  • Andreas Könen, Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community
  • Bernd Lietzau, Senate Administration for Science, Health, Healthcare and Equality
  • Nadine Nagel, IT- and Cybersecurity Expert
  • Dr. Anke Schröder, State Office of Criminal Investigation in Lower Saxony
  • Dr.-Ing. Gitta Vischer, GASAG AG (Vice Chairperson)
  • Klaus Zuch, Senate Administration for the Interior, Digitalisation and Sport

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Workshop Veranstaltungssicherheit
SIRIOS workshop with the BVVS Fraunhofer SIRIOS

Security for major events 

Event security experts visit Fraunhofer SIRIOS

The preparation, avoidance and safeguarding of safety-critical incidents such as large-scale events is one of the major pilot topics that Fraunhofer SIRIOS is working on when developing new simulations. In order to get an overview of real processes and challenges, SIRIOS organized a workshop on November 9th together with the board of the Federal Association for Event Security (BVVS). The initial aim was to identify actors, infrastructure and technologies as well as processes and responsibilities.

A presentation by the BVVS on the safety precautions and challenges of a major event lasting several days in Hesse (Hessentag 2016) with around one million visitors made the technical effort and the thematic range of event safety clear. Since each event has to be evaluated individually and there are no binding standards for security concepts, simulations can provide important additional information and simplify the security planning of events, according to the BVVS. In a subsequent brainstorming session, some key data and factors for the planned work in SIRIOS were already recorded, but only as a starting point for further technical deepening, which is to be pushed further in the coming year.

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The Fraunhofer SIRIOS Team in the showroom of Telekom Fraunhofer SIRIOS

Communication in extreme conditions

Insights into the Telekom Showroom 

Located in the safe environment of the Telekom building, and yet in the middle of a huge crisis scenario: On October 12, Telekom, Europe's largest telecommunications company, offered a team from Fraunhofer SIRIOS special insights into their showroom, which opened just a few months ago. Digital communication in the event of a disaster, ad hoc networking and automated collection of situation information by drone - these are just a few of the topics presented in the non-public showroom. Using light, sound and video sequences, the guests of the Fraunhofer SIRIOS were placed in the middle of the crisis situation. Andreas Bostan from Deutsche Telekom Business Solutions GmbH, who implemented the showroom with his colleagues, explained: "Our aim is not only to give our guests understanding, but also awareness of the relevance of new developments in the field of public safety and resilience." This concern perfectly matches the same commitment of Fraunhofer SIRIOS. Correspondingly intensive discussions followed, combined with a counter-invitation to further intensify the existing contacts between Telekom and Fraunhofer in many areas.

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Fraunhofer SIRIOS at the BayZBE Fraunhofer FOKUS

Disaster in one Click

Fraunhofer SIRIOS visits the BayZBE

Whether it's a terrorist attack, natural disaster or major accident – at the BayZBE (Bayerisches Zentrum für besondere Einsatzlagen; german for: Bavarian Center for Special Operations), rescue forces can experience and train in a wide variety of dangerous situations first-hand. In realistic environments (e.g. classrooms), they are put into stressful situations at the push of a button using light, video and sound effects that would otherwise remain mere theory. On September 27, SIRIOS staff visited the center and discussed common points of connection.

"Our simulations are intended to provide concrete support for the work of rescue forces," explains Daniel Hiller, managing director of Fraunhofer SIRIOS. The BayZBE could be an important link to the rescue organizations for this purpose. At the same time, research in particular offers the often necessary view into the future. Hiller: "Five years ago, no one would have expected the extent of energy shortages and supply failures that we are confronted with now. In SIRIOS, we can simulate what-if scenarios that are unthinkable today, which BayZBE then uses for example in training courses." On the other hand, the BayZBE training courses could provide important insights, for example, into behavior in panic situations, which could be used for the simulation models.

At the end of the intensive exchange, it was clear to both the BayZBE team and the colleagues from SIRIOS that concrete projects would be discussed at a follow-up meeting. Because there are enough points of contact!

Workshop at Fraunhofer SIRIOS Fraunhofer FOKUS

User-oriented research 

Senate Department for the Interior, Digitization and Sport, Berlin Fire Department and Berlin Police Department as guests

With about 40 participants from both the Senate Department for the Interior of Berlin, the Berlin Fire Department and the Berlin Police as well as from Fraunhofer, SIRIOS started a series of workshops and exchange formats on September 15, first with a workshop with users from BOS (authorities and organizations with security tasks). The aim is to integrate the views of authorities, organizations and companies, their procedures and needs "by design", i.e. from the very beginning, into the scientific development process in order to live up to Fraunhofer's claim of application-oriented research.

Simulations must be meaningful and concrete!

In several brainstorming sessions, the specific focal points (e.g. infrastructure, processes and actors) in the course of a crisis situation were identified, evaluated and clustered for this purpose. In concluding discussions, the results were matched with the possibilities of the simulation and discussed. In the process, participants from the field emphasized their expectations: "Simulations have to be right, i.e., meaningful and concrete, so that we can make decisions based on them." Further workshops on the topics of event security and Critis are already being planned. 

Eröffnung Fraunhofer SIRIOS
From right: Fraunhofer President Prof. Dr. Reimund Neugebauer, Berlin's Senator of the Interior Iris Spranger, Head of Department at the BMBF Prof. Dr. Ina Schieferdecker, SIRIOS Spokesperson and Executive Director of Fraunhofer FOKUS Prof. Dr. Manfred Hauswirth, SIRIOS Managing Director Daniel Hiller Paul Hahn / Fraunhofer FOKUS

Fraunhofer SIRIOS has kicked-off

In the presence of around 100 guests and high-ranking representatives from politics, security authorities, industry and research, the newly founded Fraunhofer Center for the Security of Socio-Technical Systems SIRIOS was officially kicked-off in Berlin's FUTURIUM on Wednesday, May 25, 2022.

Whether floods disasters, terrorist attacks or the effects of crime and international crises – public safety and security is one of the major challenges of the 21st century. The manifold interdependencies between people, technology and infrastructures in modern highly networked societies - the socio-technical systems - are extremely complex and have not yet been sufficiently analyzed for public security issues. The opening of the new Fraunhofer SIRIOS last Wednesday therefore marked the start of another milestone in German security research: The goal of the center is to comprehensively model and simulate complex crises such as a flash flood or a terrorist attack virtually as part of a cross-institute cooperation between the four Fraunhofer institutes EMI, FOKUS, IOSB and IVI.

The welcoming speeches by Berlin's Senator of the Interior, Iris Spranger, the Head of Department "Research for Technological Sovereignty and Innovations" at the BMBF, Prof. Dr. Ina Schieferdecker, and the Fraunhofer President, Prof. Dr. Reimund Neugebauer, therefore emphasized the current relevance of public security and the important role of excellent security research. Berlin's Senator of the Interior, Iris Spranger said, "In recent years, the Berlin Fire Department as well as the Berlin Police and the Senate Department of the Interior, Digitalization and Sports have participated in numerous research projects. Berlin is a metropolis of innovation and research, also in the field of security research. That is why I am extremely pleased that the new Fraunhofer Center will open and operate here in Berlin. Berlin's security landscape will benefit significantly from its work and we look forward to a lively exchange." BMBF department head Prof. Dr. Schieferdecker said, "SIRIOS will act as an important catalyst in the prevention and management of complex crisis scenarios by developing future-proof security solutions, as well as a multiplier that carries these solutions into the specialist scene of civil security research." Fraunhofer President, Prof. Dr. Reimund Neugebauer finally pointed out that good civil defense is mostly invisible, but at the same time a basic condition for prosperity and the development of a peaceful, democratic community. With the combined expertise of four institutes, the new Fraunhofer Center is therefore pursuing an important mission.

The following presentation of the new center by the SIRIOS spokesperson and Executive Director of Fraunhofer FOKUS, Prof. Dr. Manfred Hauswirth, and a round of dialogue with the Berlin State Fire Chief, Dr. Karsten Homrighausen, the Chief of Staff of the THW management staff, Klaus-Dieter Büttgen the head of staff for integrated security at BEN Berlin Energie- und Netzholding GmbH, Stephan Boy, showed opportunities and challenges, needs but also expectations that Fraunhofer SIRIOS will be facing. An open discussion that will be continued after the event, according to SIRIOS spokesperson Prof. Dr. Manfred Hauswirth. "As part of a transfer network, we will involve our partners from authorities, industry, research and politics in the research from the very beginning."

New Fraunhofer Center SIRIOS in Berlin goes into operation

More public safety and security through simulations of urban infrastructure

Press release, January 25, 2022 – In January 2022, the newly founded Fraunhofer Center for Security of Socio-Technical Systems SIRIOS in Berlin started operations. In comprehensive research and development projects, it bundles the competencies of four Fraunhofer institutes. The aim is to set up a research, test and training environment for security authorities, rescue services and operators of critical infrastructure over the next four years. There, complex security scenarios can be simulated, experienced virtually and tested in real life. The direct participation of citizens should also be made possible, e.g. by assessing the subjective sense of security.

Whether climate-related extreme events, industrial accidents, terrorist attacks or riots at major events – public safety and security faces major challenges. In addition, the diverse dependencies between people, technology and infrastructure in modern, highly networked societies, make ensuring public safety and security complex and difficult to manage. Disturbances within such socio-technical systems can have serious, far-reaching effects, for example on the supply of electricity, internet, telecommunications, water and logistics. With new, comprehensive simulation systems, the researchers at Fraunhofer SIRIOS are investigating these dependencies in order to be as well prepared as possible in an emergency.

„Public safety and security is an essential pillar of our society. However, it is not only important to react appropriately, but above all to anticipate the unimaginable and unexpected and thus to develop security and resilience strategies ahead of time. The new Fraunhofer Center for Security of Socio-Technical Systems SIRIOS will meet this challenge with scientific excellence and develop new solutions and approaches to strengthen Germany's resilience in the long term," says Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Together with our network of authorities, business, science and politics, we also ensure that the research results are put into practice as quickly as possible, whilst respecting personal rights and ensuring the benefit for society so that in the end, we ensure the well-being and safety of everyone." In the next few years, training and simulation opportunities will arise in which security authorities and rescue services, but also industrial and research partners, can carry out practical operations in virtual reality and test and further develop new or existing systems for operational support and situation visualization.

A growing team of employees from the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst-Mach Institute EMI, the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS, the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB and the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI work in joint and cross-institute research and development projects under the umbrella of Fraunhofer SIRIOS in Berlin in the development phase until 2026.

The focus is initially on two special threat scenarios: the effects of an extreme weather event in a large city and a man-made disaster at a major event. „Dangerous situations like this are a sad reality and will probably continue to affect us in the future. That's why it's so important to research the interaction of technology, infrastructure, emergency services and the population even better and to transfer the findings to other or new threats," says Daniel Hiller, Managing Director of Fraunhofer SIRIOS. Accordingly, the focus is on simulating damage to buildings, supply networks and infrastructure such as the power supply and the resulting disruptions, for example due to the failure of the internet, telecommunications or logistics chains. Also, the behavior of crowds and the intervention of helpers will be simulated in order to better react to panic situations during an event, among other things better in panic situations to react to an event.

The new Fraunhofer Center will receive start-up funding from the state of Berlin and the federal government until 2026 and will then be established as an institution of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The office of Fraunhofer SIRIOS is located at Fraunhofer FOKUS in Berlin. Prof. Manfred Hauswirth, director of Fraunhofer FOKUS, represents the center as spokesperson for the center.