UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science


Project overview: Resilient Infrastructure and Building Security


PI: Dr Hervé Borrion (h.borrion@ucl.ac.uk)

Funding: This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 242497

Cost: €4,406,966

Project objectives

In a global context where national interests are increasingly interrelated, the most vulnerable infrastructures in Europe, and particularly the most critical ones, are primary targets for terrorists. Successful security innovations will be those capable of operating in a niche shaped by the legal, socio-cultural, ethical and commercial constraints of the end-users. However, no single organisation has the knowledge and expertise needed to understand this complex problem in its entirety:

  • Innovative S&T SMEs do not have sufficient knowledge about the organisations potentially targeted, or the expertise needed to specify effective security strategies.
  • Security units protecting private sector organisations often lack the ability to ask critical questions to assess the suitability of off-the-shelf security technologies, or lack the expertise needed to inform the development of new technologies.

In order to better understand the needs that future protection measures should meet, Resilient Infrastructure and Building Security (RIBS) brings together the knowledge, skills, expertise and network of four communities of stakeholders (the public, commercial organisations, law enforcement & security units as well as science and technology innovators) to support the development of effective and affordable protection measures against terrorist attacks.

Description of the work

The RIBS team implemented the project in five phases:

  1. Study of European buildings and their ecosystems
  2. Elicitation of high level requirements across multiple stakeholders
  3. Identification of suitable security principles, methods, and mechanisms
  4. Specification of refined requirements 
  5. Validation

In order to achieve them, the RIBS team derived a scientific method for security system engineering design based on four principles:

  • Refinement of "hazy" security requirements into more specific requirements underpinned by situational crime prevention principles.
  • Specification of terrorism crime scripts using object-oriented models
  • Development of computer models to simulate the impact of biological, chemical and explosive weapons in buildings.
  • Integration of spatial analysis techniques into the development and evaluation of system requirements.


Through empirical field work, laboratory measurement and simulation, RIBS contributed to the development of:

  • Requirements for new security systems against biological, chemical and explosive attacks.
  • New knowledge about the persistence and viability of microorganisms, and the efficacy of a number of antimicrobial decontamination strategies. 
  • Video analysis tools
  • Interactive tools for spatial analysis of generic architectural interest as well as specific security interest.
  • Infrastructure security strategies
  • Identification of vulnerability in smart cards
  • The RIBS simulation tool for terrorist attacks
  • Recommendations for regulatory agencies and building managers

RIBS Consortium

  • University College London (UCL)
  • Department of Security and Crime Science
  • Department of Computer Science
  • Department of Civil Environmental and Geomatic Engineering
  • 2E (Greece)
  • Aedas (UK)
  • Denmark Technical University (Denmark)
  • Israel Institute of Technology (Israel)
  • Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden)
  • National Bank of Greece