Trilateral Insights – March 2024

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Trilateral Research |

Date: 14 March 2024

Insights | Crisis and Security

Addressing gaps in current disaster risk management practices

Despite initiatives to encourage citizen participation in creating a resilient society, awareness of risks and levels of disaster preparedness across Europe remain low. Additionally, there are gaps between the risk perceptions and actions of citizens, and between citizens and civil protection authorities.

The RiskPACC project focuses on citizen engagement and co-creation in the civil protection space, with the aim to better understand the relationships between civil protection authorities and citizens and to improve risk perception and disaster preparedness.

Trilateral Research played an essential role in the project, laying the groundwork for understanding the gaps in current practices through case studies, which included local municipalities in Greece, Italy, the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Israel. This work involved interviewing community groups and civil protection authorities to understand current practices in disaster response, preparedness and resilience, with a focus on risk communication and citizen engagement.

This gap analysis led to a better understanding of the current practices and the different perceptions and attitudes between citizens and civil protection when it comes to disaster risk management. It set a roadmap for future work in the project, highlighting the gaps that needed to be addressed with RiskPACC outputs.

Read our report on the gap analysis.

Insights | Climate, Energy and Environment

The European Green Deal (EGD) is the foundational policy for the EU’s ambition to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, without leaving people and places behind.

Last year, Trilateral contributed to the development of the REAL DEAL Handbook on Citizen Consultation and Participation for the EGD – an accessible guide to citizen participation in decision-making across thirteen European nations. The Handbook is a key output of the EU funded REAL DEAL project, which is creating new approaches to increase the participation of citizens and marginalised groups in the EGD. The Handbook aims to provide a clear understanding of the legal, institutional and policy background for citizen engagement as a foundation for considering possible forms, formats, methods and tools for participation to use in the future.

Another core activity of the project is the Civil Society Forum for Sustainability, which brings together civil society organisations from across Europe to exchange views on the EGD. In view of the upcoming European elections, the next Forum, taking place on 26-27 March 2024, will provide an opportunity to delve into the commitments towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and help pinpoint the missing elements in political manifestos.

To join the debate in the next Forum, register here.

Insights | Health

The power of AI-driven Early Warning Systems

As climate change alters global weather patterns, novel public health threats emerge, such as increasingly frequent and intense disasters, pandemics, and tropical diseases. AI-driven Early Warning Systems (EWS) are emerging as a powerful tool in the face of these rapidly changing threats, namely by identifying patterns and threats in vast troves of data to enable informed decision-making.

In a recent blog, Trilateral’s Health cluster shared our approach to working with this new technology. This includes fusing our standard approach to working with AI tools—namely, conducting ethical, legal, and privacy impact assessments to ensure the tool and the data it uses do not cause harm—with the principles of EWS outlined by experts at the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The blog draws on insights from the CLIMOS project, which develops an AI-powered EWS which processes large datasets to anticipate public health threats related to Sand-Fly Borne Diseases (SFBD). The project’s EWS anticipates surges in SFBD, which are driven by climate change, identifying when and where these events may occur and notifying the relevant authorities.

In the project, we lead ethical and legal compliance, ensuring that the tool’s data processing and analysis does not violate the rights of individuals. This involves measuring potential risks of the tool against its benefits; for example, balancing the need for satellite surveillance while safeguarding individuals’ privacy. We are also seeking to understand how these systems could be integrated into public health management more broadly.

You can read the blog here.

Insights | Data Science, Research and Sociotech Innovation (DARSI)

Mitigating AI bias in healthcare

Algorithmic bias is a common problem in AI models. Bias is easy to accidentally introduce, and extremely difficult to spot and counteract. The PREPARE project, funded by the European Commission, aims to use AI models to aid the rehabilitation of patients with chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s and hypertension. Specifically, the project partners will develop AI models to classify patients into subgroups, which will then help medical professionals to offer targeted treatments.

Trilateral’s DARSI team have just kicked off their role in this project, where they will develop tools to assess, quantify and mitigate bias in these models. By mitigating bias, the outcomes of the model will be more accurate, more ethical and more effective.

At a broader scale, the hope is that such tools will be used across projects that utilise AI in healthcare. It’s not enough to recognise bias; we must actively work to mitigate it if we are to create the best outcomes for patients.

You can read more about PREPARE here.

Insights | Ethics, Human Rights and Emerging Technologies

Addressing the socio-economic consequences of research misconduct

In December 2023, Trilateral Research co-developed a policy brief for the BEYOND project which focuses on addressing the socio-economic consequences of research misconduct.

Research misconduct undermines public trust in science and hinders the acceptance and reception of scientific research and innovation. There are concerns about generative AI potentially facilitating and speeding up misconduct, complicating detection efforts even with countermeasures put in place. Individuals implicated in misconduct face significant career repercussions, affecting their well-being. Appropriate mitigation measures must be taken to minimise the negative impacts of research misconduct and maximise the beneficial socio-economic impacts of research. Our policy brief, aimed at the European Commission and research integrity bodies, highlights the need for:

  • Education and training initiatives for young researchers covering ethics, plagiarism prevention, and responsible authorship.
  • Guidance for young researchers on research integrity, especially concerning the implications of generative AI.
  • Institutional support through integrity committees and guidance.
  • Monitoring through audits, independent oversight, and improved whistle-blower protections.
  • Providing support, financial and time-related, for researcher training and professional development in responsible research practices.

Deploying and enhancing these measures will promote integrity, accountability, and trustworthiness in scientific research while addressing the challenges posed by misconduct.

Read more here

Insights | Law Enforcement and Community Safeguarding

The AI pact: shaping together a trustworthy AI future

In a recent blog, Dr Francesca Trevisan of Trilateral’s Law Enforcement and Community Safeguarding cluster highlights the benefits of the EU’s AI Pact, which will provide a path for EU organisations ahead of the AI Act’s full implementation. The AI Act creates a global blueprint for safe AI regulation that protects fundamental rights and values, diverging significantly from the models championed elsewhere, and was finally agreed by the European Parliament and Council in December 2023.

The AI Pact is a proactive scheme which requests voluntary commitment to the Act’s requirements before their legal deadlines. By encouraging early adoption, the European Commission hopes to ease the process for organisations adjusting to wide-ranging new AI compliance rules. The AI Pact will assist this transition to new governance and risk management processes, increasing credibility and trust in the AI Act, and helping to avoid the confusion and pitfalls that accompanied the rollout of GDPR.

Read the full blog here.

Insights | Cybersecurity

Combatting cybercrime: the importance of enhancing cooperation between law enforcement and industry

Most law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and European governments lack the appropriate systems needed to track and respond to cyberattacks in a timely manner. The CYBERSPACE project aims to provide key stakeholders with a more comprehensive overview and understanding of cybercrime in the EU. One way the project does this is by enhancing cooperation between LEAs and the private sector.

Within CYBERSPACE, Trilateral leads a working group that puts LEAs and private sector representatives in the same room to discuss approaches and practices of cybercrime reporting, data sharing and other forms of cooperation, including challenges related to cross-border cooperation.

Key takeaways from a recent working group meeting include:

  • The current belief among LEAs is that the difficulty of addressing cyberattacks lies within the private sector companies and their desire to reduce costs which simultaneously compromises security. While providing training and awareness to staff is one way to increase overall security, a focus on compliance would provide better results. The suggestion? Creating products with security in mind rather than it being an afterthought.
  • Knowledge sharing is the key to a harmonious relationship – sharing information on crime patterns with private companies will allow them to analyse the data and build products that would help LEAs understand how criminals work based on actual crime patterns tailored to the current cybercrime climate.
  • More resources, trainings and practical tools are needed to provide guidance and understanding around the realm of cybercrime.

Interested in learning more? Check out the CYBERSPACE website.

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