ATHENA (Greek goddess – protector of the city and the citizen)

The ATHENA project is a grant-funded European Commission, 7th Framework Programme security themed research project, led by West Yorkshire Police. From December 2013, the three year projects aim is to utilise media communications and develop tools to enhance the ability of citizens and first responders in crisis situations.

West Yorkshire Police are the first ever UK police service to lead such a project of this size, scale and scope.

The public are under-utilized crisis responders, as they are often first on the scene, and vastly outnumber the emergency first responders. In a crisis, the public are often creative and resourceful. They self-organise into voluntary groups, adapt quickly to changing circumstances and emerge as leaders and experts to perform countless life-saving actions; and they are increasingly reliant upon the use of new communications media to do it.

ATHENA’s citizen safety focus and practitioner led approach shall have positive outcome to empower citizens, keeping them safe and making them feel safer.

ATHENA shall deliver two major outputs:

A set of best practice guidelines for first responders and citizens for the use of new media communications and supporting tools and technologies in crisis situations.
A suite of prototype software tools to enhance the ability of first responders and citizens in their use of new media in crisis situations.
ATHENA shall help citizens during a crisis by:

Joining their conversations and adding an enabling voice, providing them with information they ask for in a way they can understand.
Targeting their actions, by directing them to places of safety and away from danger while identifying emergent behaviour that is beneficial to the provision of support through emergency agency resources.
ATHENA will move forward the state of the art in two areas:

Social Media and Crisis Management: the use of social media during crisis settings by first responders and the public.
Technologically exploiting social media in crisis management: the searching, acquisition, aggregation, filtering and presentation of knowledge from social media to support crisis management using smart mobile devices.
The ATHENA projects consists of government, academia and private industry talent to create a global, world class, multi-disciplinary consortium, hence the ATHENA team consists of 50 multi-disciplinary professionals from 18 countries each bringing their expertise to ensure that this pioneering research is brought to operational reality.