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Achievements & bottlenecks in humanitarian demining EU-funded research: Final results from the EC DELVE project

Author: Sahli, H. · Bruschini, C. · Kempen, L. van · Schleijpen, H.M.A. · Breejen, E. den
Publisher: SPIE
Place: Bellingham, WA
Institution: TNO Defensie en Veiligheid
Source:Harmon, R.S.Holloway, J.H. Jr.Broach, J.T., Detection and Sensing of Mines, Explosive Objects, and Obscured Targets XIII, 17 - 20 March 2008, Orlando, FL, USA
Proceedings of SPIE
Identifier: 240858
doi: doi:10.1117/12.790417
Article number: 69530E
Keywords: Gap-to-market · Humanitarian demining · Lessons learned · Technology transfer · Decision making · Product development · Regulatory compliance · Research and development management · Technology transfer · Gap to market · Humanitarian demining · Lessons learned · Project management


The EC DELVE Support Action project has analyzed the bottlenecks in the transfer of Humanitarian Demining (HD) technology from technology development to the use in the field, and drawn some lessons learned, basing itself on the assessment of the European Humanitarian Demining Research and Technology Development (RTD) situation from early 1990 until 2006. The situation at the European level was analyzed with emphasis on activities sponsored by the European Commission (EC). This was also done for four European countries and Japan, with emphasis on national activities. The developments in HD during the last 10 years underline the fact that in a number of cases demining related developments have been terminated or at least put on hold. The study also showed that the funding provided by the EC under the Framework Program for RTD has led directly to the creation of an extensive portfolio of Humanitarian Demining technology development projects. The latter provided a range of research and supporting measures addressing the critical issues identified as a result of the regulatory policies developed in the field of Humanitarian Demining over the last ten years. However, the range of instruments available to the EC to finance the necessary research and development were limited, to pre-competitive research. The EC had no tools or programs to directly fund actual product development. As a first consequence, the EC funding program for development of technology for Humanitarian Demining unfortunately proved to be largely unsuitable for the small-scale development needed in a field where there is only a very limited market. As a second consequence, most of the research has been demonstrator-oriented. Moreover, the timeframe for RTD in Humanitarian Demining has not been sufficiently synchronized with the timeframe of the EC policies and regulations. The separation of the Mine Action and RTD funding streams in the EC did also negatively affect the take-up of new technologies. As a conclusion, creating coherence between: (1) the EC policy based on political decisions, (2) RTD, testing and industrialization of equipment, and (3) timely deployment, requires a new way of coordinated thinking: "end-to-end planning" has to be supported by a well organized and coordinated organizational structure involving different DGs and even extending beyond the EU. This was not the case for Mine Action, but appears today to be the case for Environmental Risk Management.