At the ENLIGHT’s Impact Conference held in Spain from 30 to 31 March, the Impact Award in digital revolution went to Associate Professor of Sociology of Sustainability Kati Orru and her research team for developing an analysis tool that helps crisis management agencies to better identify threats to people’s lives in various emergencies, from natural disasters and pandemics to cyber-attacks and wars.
Apart from Associate Professor of Sociology of Sustainability Kati Orru, the research team includes Associate Professor of Communication Studies Sten Hansson, Junior Research Fellow in Crisis Sociology Kristi Nero and master’s students Ingeliis Siimsen and Merilyn Viin. The interactive tool was created in cooperation with representatives of Estonian rescue, medicine, and social services.
According to Kati Orru, the analysis tool was developed due to the real-life necessity to find those in need faster and target help more precisely. Until now, the focus of Estonian risk analyses and emergency resolution has been primarily on the continuity of institutions and infrastructure, but the new analysis tool focuses on the person and their need for help to avoid danger or escape emergencies unscathed. “The solution is of high value for participants in the leadership team during a crisis exercise or in an actual crisis situation,” said Orru.
According to Ingeliis Siimson from the University of Tartu research team, the greatest benefit of the conference was that impact was not discussed narrowly in terms of scientific input, but experts from various fields spoke of their experiences and practices in achieving impact. “The award confirms that our analysis tool is very much needed and there is interest in it also outside Estonia,” said Siimson.
The ENLIGHT Impact Awards were presented in the project’s five flagship domains: health and well-being, digital revolution and the impact of digitization, climate change, energy and circular economy, and equity. The representatives of the awarded teams are identified as ENLIGHT Impact Ambassadors and become members of the ENLIGHT Impact Ambassadors Network. The Ambassadors get financial support to attend relevant international workshops and conferences, the possibility to introduce their work internationally, and cooperate with experts both within and outside ENLIGHT.
The conference gave an opportunity to exchange and discuss approaches for embedding impact in education, research, innovation or societal engagement. From the University of Tartu, eight staff members attended the conference.