KResCo – Crisis management and resilience - Corona

Client: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (Anti-Corona-Program)

Coordinator: Fraunhofer INT

Consortium: 5 Fraunhofer Institutes, all of which are part of the Innovation Network. In addition to the Fraunhofer INT, Fraunhofer IMW, Fraunhofer IAO, Fraunhofer ISI and Fraunhofer IRB with their respective expertise work together on the project in various work packages.

Duration: one year (November 2020 to November 2021)


The COVID-19 pandemic presents itself not only as a medical-epidemiological research challenge but also as a comprehensive social experiment. Within a short period of time, the pandemic hit different countries and economic areas and a wave of individual and collective reactions was initiated.

The project "Crisis Management and Resilience - Corona" analyses the impact of the political decisions taken as countermeasures to the pandemic with regard to several societal systems: Economy and society, innovation, civil protection and emergency response and applied research. The developments and decisions taken in these societal areas in Germany are compared with those of other European and non-European countries.

To achieve this, several Fraunhofer Institutes are working with different perspectives and methods in the various work packages of the project. The work packages are characterised by the different combinations of the Fraunhofer Institutes in order to achieve the most holistic and new view possible through the diversity of perspectives, know-how and methods. Project partners are the Fraunhofer IRB, the Fraunhofer IMW, the Fraunhofer IAO and the Fraunhofer ISI with the Fraunhofer INT as overall coordinator. These institutes are also all in closely connected via the Fraunhofer Innovation Research Alliance.

Aim of the project

The aim of the project is to develop recommendations for action for decision-makers in the areas of politics, administration, business and application-oriented research. These recommendations can help improve crisis management for future pandemics and increase societal resilience.




The central starting point of the project are the political decisions made in different countries and their impact on the course of the pandemic. The selection of countries for the project was based on several criteria, in particular access to data and availablitiy of experts, the comparability of the countries with Germany, as well as country-specific characteristics or decisions made during the crisis (e.g. the herd immunisation approach of Sweden or Italy as the first European country with cases).

The collection of data is the first step of the project. Based on this empirical data, the impact of the decisions will be analysed with regard to the societal actors and systems:

  • Economy and society 
  • Innovation 
  • Civil protection and emergency response 
  • (applied) Research

Each of these areas will be examined in separate work packages. Within the framework of these thematically focussed work packages, additional system analysis-relevant data is collected, for example through interviews or the development of quantitative data. The findings are then translated into recommendations for action, which are compiled in a final work package and forwarded to relevant actors in the fields of politics, business, civil protection and application-oriented research. The specific goals of the individual topics, the institutes involved and the procedures of the individual work packages are presented in more detail here.

Work package 2: Research data management

This work package ensures the project-internal research data management as well as data publication and thus external impact generation for KResCo. An essential part of the project is the collection and evaluation of external data. This takes place in work packages 3 - 7 to answer the respective research questions. Data can be, for example, quantitative data, such as numbers on corona infections, but also qualitative data, such as legal texts. In addition, research data such as interviews, coded political decisions or quantitative survey values are collected in the individual work packages. In order to ensure a high, consistent quality of the research results derived from this data and to make it easier for the participating scientists to use the data, it is necessary to establish extensive research data management within the project. Research data used and collected in the project are managed by a data governance along a 9-stage research process in order to ensure high quality and interoperability of data. So the reseachers benefit from easy and good usability and handling of the data. As far as possible, the data will be published after the end of the project, including extensive documentation in accordance with the FAIR principles.

The results from work package 2 “Research Data Management” are used on the one hand for scientific publications. Furthermore, the results are used for the further development of central research data management services for the institutes. They are also used to acquire new projects.

Work package 3: Political decisions for the containment of the Corona pandemic

Work package 3 enables the systematic review of policy decisions with the aim of containing the Covid-19 pandemic and thus forms the data basis for all other work packages. It provides a comprehensive, equivalent, and detailed collection of policy decisions in the countries analyzed. Existing data collections do not consider variables in the appropriate depth or comparability. Further, more qualitative elements of coding political speeches or statements allow for capturing political focus and comparing it across countries.

Work package 4: Economy and Society

Work package 4 generates a large database of variables covering the course of the Covid-19 pandemic in all its economic, political, health and social facets. Their analytical processing enables the derivation of consequences that arose from political action, as well as insights into the resilience of the system. It develops an indicator framework that maps economic, societal, political, and health impacts of decisions made during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Work package 5: International innovation networks

Working package 5 is concerned with international innovation networks and the influence of the Corona pandemic on selected country relationships. The working package generates insights and records experiences on the influence of the Covid 19 pandemic on the relationship levels between Germany and relevant innovation partner countries. After analyzing the strategic relevance, feasibility and cultural experiences, Fraunhofer IMW looks at the innovation relationship with countries in different continents: Germany-Sweden/Switzerland, Germany-Israel and Germany-South Korea/Thailand.

For each of the different constellations, the team analyzes which risk factors have had an impact on the relationship level in advance, how the Corona measures influenced them, and which measures can be used to reduce the impact of the current and possible future shocks on the respective relationships. The overarching goal is to strengthen the resilience of bilateral relationships through learning from experience.

The overarching research questions are:

1. how do innovation-involved actors in different contexts respond to the crisis?

2. what influences arise from selected policy interventions on innovation-involved cooperation?

3. what are the implications for future policy decisions and what lessons learned can be derived to stabilize innovation-oriented cooperation?

Working package 5 generates findings on the influence of Covid-19 on the relationship levels between Germany and relevant innovation partner countries. It analyzes which risk factors existed in advance, how the corona measures affected them, and which measures can be used to reduce the influence of the current and possible future shocks on the respective relationships (strengthening resilience).

The working package elaborates factors that have a rather positive and rather negative impact on selected bilateral relations with Germany. These factors will be translated into recommendations for decision makers to mitigate the impact of current and possible future shocks on innovation relations.

Work package 6: Civil protection and security

he work package analyses organizational learning and innovation processes in crisis management in the course of the COVID19 pandemic. The aim of the study is to analyse selected organizations from the following European countries:

  • Austria
  • Italy
  • Sweden
  • Germany
  • Switzerland

The study will examine how the Corona crisis was handled in their regions and countries. Discussions with experts from the organizations will focus on competencies as well as "good practices" or particularly innovative approaches to crisis management. The results of the project are expected to provide direct added value for practice in dealing with future risks and crises.

During the crisis, it was mainly the emergency response systems at the strategic level that were challenged. The question arises on how the different civil protection systems coped with the crisis. The aim is to lay the first foundations for future innovation and research needs. In addition, the effects and reactions of the emergency response systems in Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany will be compared with each other in order to draw conclusions about different approaches, possible best practices or potential for improvement.

Work package 7: Application-oriented research

The focus of work package 7 lies in the identification of organizational skills that enable the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and so-called Research and Technology Organizations (RTOs) in general to make effective contributions to the management of crises. Specifically, we document and classify the contributions that various RTOs are actually making and have made to overcoming the crisis in the Covid-19 pandemic. In this way, we strive for a better understanding of the conditions and prerequisites for RTOs to function as effective boundary spanners in the innovation system.

AP7 promises a threefold added value: (1) Empirically sound generation of concrete lessons for the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft to increase its reactivity in future crisis situations, (2) deepening the understanding and conceptualization of the role of RTOs as system actors and integrators in crisis situations and (3) the contribution to mission orientation that RTOs can make both in the course of and in the aftermath of a crisis situation. We plan at least one article in a scientific journal and the formulation of specific recommendations for action for RTOs, which will be made accessible in a policy brief.

Fraunhofer INT tasks:

The Fraunhofer INT is responsible for the overall coordination of KResCo and for the dentification of recommendations of actions for different stakeholders. It also contributes to nearly all of the above-mentioned work packages.

Other project partners are:

Fraunhofer IAO, Fraunhofer IRB, Fraunhofer ISI, Fraunhofer IMW 

In the future you will be able to find further information on the KresCo homepage: