Towards operational forecasting of earthquakes and early warning capacity for more resilient societies

To help mitigate the risks related to earthquakes, citizens need additional protection that goes beyond building codes and retrofitting actions. Early warning approaches and operational earthquake forecasting, which are under development, need to be seen in a Europe-wide perspective, building on improved, dense, robust and high quality seismic networks and new processing tools and activities. The practical applications and use of short-term forecasting, early warning methods, time dependent physical and systemic vulnerability estimates and rapid loss assessment for earthquake risk reduction are still far from being operational. Strong European and international scientific collaboration is needed to make substantial progress in the domain.


Actions should enable an effective, real time seismic risk reduction capacity, and the improvement of current observational capabilities, present forecasting modelling and testing- validation capabilities, also accounting for their uncertainties. They should also enable the designing of clear procedures and improved decision making schemes to respond to stakeholders' needs. Actions should also suggest how to move from a single, probabilistic hazard forecasting model to complex, short-term risk forecasting models. Research should focus on better understanding which conditions may lead to an increased likelihood of earthquakes and/or which transient geophysical properties should be monitored as precursors before a large magnitude and damaging earthquake.

Building on multi-disciplinary research, actions should develop a new generation of early warning systems to mitigate the impact of earthquakes on societies and infrastructures, integrating innovative concepts and technologies, such as low-cost wireless seismic sensors and big data, for more accurate and reliable quantification of ground shaking (during or soon after the earthquake occurrence). These new early warning systems should also include decisional expert systems and should combine local and regional information, including social and economic data. They should have the capacity to trigger automatic safety actions or reach people before ground shaking occurs to mitigate the human and economic impact of earthquakes. They should also contribute to the development of future multi-hazard early warning systems.

Furthermore, actions should develop effective methods and communication systems and structures to improve dialogue between science and relevant users within the decision making chain. Actions should capitalise on knowledge acquired in previous and ongoing initiatives such as GEO Supersites/observational network, EPOS (European Plate Observing System), ARISTOTLE (All Risk Integrated System TOwards Trans-boundary hoListic Early-warning) and the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, and ensure compatibility and appropriate liaising with these initiatives.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 6 million and EUR 8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

The project results are expected to contribute to:

  • improved real time seismology and seismic risk reduction capacity;
  • improved short-term forecasting, real-time operational forecasting and fast, reliable alerts and information;
  • development of sound and rational risk reduction plans to manage low-probability/high-impact events;
  • improved preparedness due to more effective two-way communication on forecasts, early warning and uncertainties for users and the public;
  • improved capacity to tangibly reduce human and economic losses.

Cross-cutting Priorities

  • Socio-economic science and humanities
  • International cooperation
Date de candidature
Sciences sociales : Sciences de l'information et de la communication, Psychologie et sciences cognitives, Sociologie