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Hallam designed app that keeps UN workers safe in Afghanistan shortlisted for Times Higher award

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21 September 2021

Hallam designed app that keeps UN workers safe in Afghanistan shortlisted for Times Higher award

A life-saving security app developed by Sheffield Hallam University and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been nominated for a prestigious Times Higher Education award

Press contact: Greg Mattocks-Evans | g.mattocks-evans@shu.ac.uk

SCAAN provides real-time security information and allows staff to send instant alerts from the field.

SCAAN is a mobile application, co-developed by Sheffield Hallam’s Centre of Excellence in Terrorism, Resilience, Intelligence and Organised Crime Research, to keep staff working for the IOM connected through real time alerts sent to staff on the ground.

It allows staff in the field to send reports back to security personnel and, through an ‘I’m not okay’ alert button on the app, signal for help if they are at personal risk.

With real time alerts sent to 16,000 IOM staff worldwide – and some United Nations agencies - SCAAN (Security Communications and Analysis Network) has been invaluable during recent events in Afghanistan, as well as environmental crises such as Hurricane Ida and the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year.

IOM’s Office of Staff Security Director, Luc Vandamme said: “SCAAN is critical to our security operations in Afghanistan.

“By activating a staff headcount immediately following the attack on Kabul airport, we were able to quickly ascertain the status of all staff in country and follow up with those who needed assistance. In such a situation, every minute counts.’’

SCAAN – developed jointly by Sheffield Hallam’s Centre of Excellence in Terrorism, Resilience, Intelligence and Organised Crime Research (CENTRIC) and IOM – has been shortlisted in the International Collaboration category of the Times Higher Education Awards, billed as the Oscars of higher education.

The Collaboration category spotlights exceptional projects by an academic institution and an international partner at a strategic level.

Tony Day, project lead at Sheffield Hallam said: “It’s been fantastic to see the project develop over the last couple of years and become such a highly valued resource.

“I’m excited to see where we can make SCAAN better as satellite technology develops and cellular internet connectivity improves.”

IOM’s Security Communications Manager, Amy Rhoades, said: “SCAAN has prevented dozens of potentially fatal staff incidents in hotspots and elsewhere over the years.

“UN personnel put themselves at great personal risk each day to help vulnerable people worldwide. Tragedy has sometimes followed when staff were unable to call for help or send their location in a crisis.

“The SCAAN app is changing that by providing real-time assistance to staff at the press of a button.’’

The digital platform and mobile app are also helping to keep staff updated on travel restrictions and curfews during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as monitoring the health and wellbeing of remote workers.

The Times Higher Education Awards are due to be held in November.

Find out more about SCAAN

In this story

Explore the people, themes, departments and research centres behind this story

Press contact

Greg Mattocks-Evans

Contact us

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Email: pressoffice@shu.ac.uk
Phone: 01142 252811

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