Citizen Shield – technological, behavioural and societal solutions for protective actions to tackle pandemics
Why this project is important
Due to global connectivity, virus infection diseases and related pandemics are among the most pronounced safety risks of modern open society. Typical epidemics repeat themselves in a cyclic but unpredictable fashion, with initial exponential growth. Successfully tackling such crises depends on the availability of safe, acceptable and high-quality protective equipment as well as governmental readiness to influence citizens’ uptake of protective behaviours, besides heavy regulations.
The Citizen Shield project aims to produce scientific knowledge to protect individuals and the society against epidemics of airborne (droplet and aerosol) infections by a combination of behavioral and technological solutions.
Who we are
We are a group of experts on social psychology and on technical solutions such as material science, polymer chemistry, physics, mechanical engineering and manufacturing technology. Together we create a unique combination of technical and behavioural science in order to create new interdisciplinary shield concepts.
The outputs of this project include high-quality affordable and acceptable protective solutions and behavioural concepts, which together also solve more common and continuously occurring similar challenges. Thus, everyday protection means become simply convertible to a special situation and escalation can be avoided. The project evaluates the efficiency and usability of existing technological personal protection methods and seeks for ways to upgrade their performance, simultaneously clarifying social and medical acceptance. The project also evaluates the feasibility of imparting social and behavioural science tools and concepts to strengthen the government’s capacity to take up effective action to influence citizen’s behaviour, where heavy regulations are not possible..
Partners: Two research organisations in Finland: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and University of Helsinki
Total funding: 1.9 M €
Collaborators: Prime Minister’s Office, The Strategy Department; Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare; University of British Columbia/Aalto University; Radboud University Medical Center; Open University of the Netherlands; Radboud University Behavioural Science Institute; University of Konstanz; BESSI network; Demos Helsinki
Protection against airborne viruses
The Citizen Shield project aims to produce scientific knowledge to protect individuals and the society against epidemics of airborne (droplet and aerosol) infections by a combination of behavioural and technological solutions.
The key parts of the project are:
- evaluation and upgrading of existing technical mask and other shield concepts, taking into account their social acceptance,
- understanding motivation and behavioural influences of protective behaviours (e.g. hand washing, mask wearing, voluntary testing and self-quarantines),
- creating new interdisciplinary shield concepts based on that understanding,
- forming effective ways for official communication and training that will take into account behavioural, social and systems science evidence.
Additional information resources
- https://agiletassu.com/artikkelit/article-1 (Kasvomaskien hyödyt ja haitat – poikkitieteellinen näkökulma)
- Motivating Voluntary Compliance to Behavioural Restrictions: Self-Determination Theory–Based Checklist of Principles for COVID-19 and Other Emergency Communications — Helsingin yliopisto (helsinki.fi)