Technion granted $4.7M Grant from European Union for Airport Security

October 28, 2010
By: Kevin Hattori

The European Union (EU) has awarded Technion-Israel Institute of Technology researchers $4.7 million to improve security for air travelers. The researchers will focus their efforts on developing a dynamic and realistic model for behavior and decision-making during security threats at airports.

Project leader Prof. Avi Kirschenbaum of the Technion’s Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management said that many employees do not operate according to guidelines, which “…stems from the fact that their training is focused on the individual,” he said. “But because decisions are made by the group, there are many false alarms, which cause disruption and a tremendous waste of resources. Training should be adapted to conditions in the field.”

airport security

The project is part of Behavior Modeling for Security in Airports (BEMOSA), a Europe-wide consortium focused on describing actual behavior in the field, so that innovative worldwide plans can be developed for training airport staff in the areas of disaster management and risk reduction.

“Integrating familiar procedures with actual security behavior is extremely critical,” said Simon Van Dam, coordinator of EC Project Coordination in the Liaison Office of the Technion R & D Foundation, Ltd. “The aim of this broad scope research is improved security, reduction of false alarms and lower costs.”

Airport administrations in Israel and Europe are cooperating with the project, and the intention is to reach 500 observations. The research will be presented in the near future at an international conference before administrators from 100 airports.

“At critical moments in an emergency, there is no time to consult a supervisor or read the manual,” added Prof. Kirschenbaum. “In order to prevent disasters and deal with them properly, we have to ensure that all the teams, and not just security teams, will be trained and highly motivated.”

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is Israel’s leading science and technology university. Home to the country’s winners of the Nobel Prize in science, it commands a worldwide reputation for its pioneering work in nanotechnology, computer science, biotechnology, water-resource management, materials engineering, aerospace and medicine. The majority of the founders and managers of Israel’s high-tech companies are alumni. Based in New York City, the American Technion Society (ATS) is the leading American organization supporting higher education in Israel, with offices around the country.