Former CEDIM research focuses & projects

During the past years CEDIM worked on various topics, which were generated out of strategic development with the objective of creating innovative and coherent research programs. Hereafter, the most important emphases are listed.


Phase I: 2002 till 2007

Between 2002 and 2008, the scientific research was separated into three projects: Risk Map Germany, Megacity Istanbul and modelling of extreme flood events. Within the scope of the first joint project, the Risk Map Germany, comprehensive risk maps regarding natural and man-made hazards in Germany were developed. The risk of flood, storm and earthquake at community level was determined and compared. For each community, the expectable main loss causing natural hazard can thereby be identified. The hazard and risk analyses, which also can be used interactive with the CEDIM Risk Explorer, are still applied by different user groups (e.g. insurances, state institutions). Up to a few years ago, based on the CEDIM risk estimations a location analysis for the assessment system of sustainable construction was required by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (formerly BMVB).

The Megacity Istanbul Project was an interdisciplinary research project with the objective to analyze consequences of earthquakes in fast growing megacities. These methods should allow for near real-time updating of relevant parameters in order to cope with the development of the city.

Furthermore CEDIM/GFZ coordinated the BMBF-funding activity Risk Management of Extreme Flood Events (RIMAX; 2005–2010). Aim of RIMAX was to integrate different disciplines and several participants to develop and implement improved instruments of flood risk management. Here CEDIM was involved in four subprojects. Additionally in this phase, there was a Helmholtz Young Investigators Groups (Modelling of large-scale flood events), which developed information and modelling tools for quantification and presentation of the flood risk in the Elbe catchment area.

Phase II: 2007 till 2011

With accession of the Research Center Karlsruhe (FZK) to CEDIM in autumn 2007 and the new competences mainly in climate modelling and in vulnerability of critical infrastructures the main topics of CEDIM switched. In the joint project Flood hazard in a changing climate the scientific basis was created to predict extreme precipitation and flood events in the years 2020 till 2050 in three river basins of the Federal Republic of Germany by complex modellings and to analyze the implications for flood management. This joint project is part of the research focus Nature hazards in climate change. In this focus topics like hail hazard and risks for South Germany, vulnerability of the transport infrastructure due to flood and earthquakes as well as consequences and prevention in case of a power blackout are integrated.

The modelling of the global change in risk forms the second research focus. In this field CEDIM focuses on contributions about the international project Global Earthquake Model (GEM).In the field of earthquake risk modeling, scientists work on the quantification of risk due to earthquakes in Germany, the assessment of exposure using remote sensing technology.  The regional emphases of the tasks are in Germany, Central Asia and India.

As a third CEDIM focuses on the topic Critical Infrastructure. The project KRITIS, which started in the end of 2010, pursues the target to develop a system to provide decisions on various areas in case of a breakdown of critical infrastructures like power supply or traffic.  In this framework the Handbuch Krisenmanagement bei großflächigen Unterbrechungen der Stromversorgung am Beispiel Baden-Württemberg (Handbook: Crisis management in case of large-scale interruptions of power supply at the example Baden-Württemberg) was authored by CEDIM and published by the Ministry of the Interior Baden-Württemberg and the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK), which is used by all municipal institutions of civil protection in Baden Württemberg.

Phase III: 2011 till 2015

Due to the in 2012 implemented approach of Forensic Disaster Analyses (FDA) in near real-time, the focus of CEDIM research switched from ex-ante (in advance) to ex-post (in retrospect) analyses. The aim of FDA activities is to evaluate immediately after the occurrence of a disaster this event, assess the impacts, retrace the temporal development, and identify the most important factors that determine the impacts. Forensic means the combination of methods and findings from different disciplines with the objective to describe and reconstruct disasters and their relevant drivers as comprehensively as possible. The approach in interdisciplinary teams takes into account the complexity of the loss events and the risk of natural disasters with manifold interactions and cascade effects in both natural and anthropogenic systems.

The scientific basis of the FDA activities is formed by various CEDIM projects in which methods are developed or improved to analyze disasters within the scope of an FDA activity in near real-time. The Rapid Loss Assessment (damages, affected people) for example is based on statistic procedures (based on past events) and relevant infrastructure and human population figures (building data, Human Development Index HDI, gross domestic product, level of education and much more). The central element thereby is one of the world’s largest natural disaster databases with more than 60.000 entries (CATDAT), which was built by CEDIM employees in recent years.

Phase IV: 2016 till 2019

Forensic Disaster Analyses were also a focus of the funding phase 2016 – 2019. Therefore, the research approach has been developed further by integrating social science studies and sharpening the profile to include society’s areas of demand of energy, mobility, and information, which were selected as priorities for KIT in the KIT Umbrella Strategy 2025. The objectives of the new CEDIM projects, which began at the end of 2016 were to scrutinize changes in risk and resilience attributable to social change, especially concerning energy, mobility, and supply systems, and critical infrastructures in urban areas. These projects were supplemented by existing projects in the areas of rapid damage assessments after natural catastrophes, web-based prediction and analysis of extreme weather situations, automatic space-time detections of disasters from social networks and the modeling of the threat and risk of tsunamis. Thus, this funding phase addressed important questions in risk and disaster research from hazard to systemic resilience to societal impacts and risk management.