Research project
Inactive research
Project period
2011 - 2013
Project owner
Department of journalism, media and communication (JMG)

European Commission

Short description

Opti-Alert was a research project about developing a culturally sensitive multi channel alerting system.

The OPTI-ALERT project strives to enhance the efficiency of alerting systems through personalized culturally sensitive multi-channel communication.

OPTI-ALERT is co-funded by the European Commission and involves research institutes, universities, enterprises, and end-users from six European countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden). Duration of the project is 2011-2013.

The project is interdisciplinary and includes the expertise of sociologists, media scientists, IT professionals, meteorologists and disaster management experts.

The focus of the project is to create an adaptive alerting system that allows for an intuitive and ad-hoc adaptation of alerting strategies given a specific alerting context. In this context, OPTI-ALERT will propose the following:

Key objectives

  1. an in-depth analysis of the impact that social and cultural and regional factors have on risk perception and risk communication
  2. an analysis of the influence which the observed socio-cultural differences have on regional alerting strategies
  3. an analysis of the impact of individualized alerting (via SMS, E-Mail etc.) and alerting via the mass media
  4. the identification of best-practices in alerting via mass media, including web-based media
  5.  the definition of appropriate algorithms for the simulation of the alert propagation within a population (in general, but also inside critical infrastructures such as metro stations), de-pending on the selected mix of communication channels and communication patterns be-tween humans “in the field”.

This results in the following key research questions of the project: How can we reach the exist-ing different socio-cultural groups, make sure that they receive and understand the alert, and follow given advices in case of disasters? Which channels should authorities use when they want to reach different parts of the population? What is the impact of messages issued via E-mail or SMS compared with alerting messages issued via the mass media? Which alerting methods are more adequate or efficient nowadays?

JMG participation

The JMG is participating in the project with: 

  • a comparative analysis of how Swedish and Italian media reported on the Swine flu in 2009
  • an analysis of media habits among the Swedish population in case of crisis
  • a report of editorial routines in Swedish and French news media when crises occur
  • a report on Swedish authorities’ attitudes towards social media in case of crisis


Oden, Tomas et al. (2011): Report on strategic alert behaviour through the mass media. Opti-Alert, Project No. 261699, Deliverable D4.1.

Ghersetti, Marina & Panaget, Guy (2012): News reporting when crises or catastrophes occur. An overview of relevant editorial processes in French and Swedish mass media. Opti-Alert, Project No. 261699, Deliverable D4.3.

Ghersetti, Marina (2012): Report on Workshop on interim Work Package results. Opti-Alert, Project No. 261699, Deliverable D4.5.

Ghersetti, Marina et alt. (2012): Analysis of mass media content and its impact in the case of the swine flu pandemic in 2009. Opti-Alert, Project No. 261699, Deliverable D4.6.

Ghersetti, Marina & Odén, Tomas (2014): Communicating Crisis Through Mass Media, i Klafft, Michael (red): Current Issues in Crisis Communication and Alerting. Berlin: Fraunhofer Verlag.

Project partners

  • Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V (D)
  • e* Message Wireless Information Services Deutschland GmbH (D)
  • UBIMET GmbH (A)
  • PROTEO S.P.A. (I)
  • UNIQA Versicherungen AG (A)
  • University of Gothenburg (S)
  • Süddeutsches Institut für empirische Sozialforschung e.V. (D)
  • Regione Sicilia (I)
  • Nederlands Instituut Fysieke Veiligheid (NL)
  • Università degli Studi di Perugia (I)
  • Thales Services SAS (F)

OPTI-ALERT, Project No.: 261699.


Logotype Opti-Alert