The Project


PathoCERT aims to strengthen the coordination capability of first responders in the event that they have to work in places where the risk of contamination via water is high. Within this scope, the project will produce pathogen contamination emergency response technologies, tools and guidelines to be validated by first responders, helping them to detect pathogens quickly and to better control emergencies. PathoCERT has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program with an overall budget of € 7.158.393,75 of which € 6.905.018,75 is funded by the EU. PathoCERT project has a duration of three years (01/09/2020-31/08/23).






Case Studies






Pathogens are a determining factor in emergency response due to their life-threatening nature, both for the public as well as for the First Responder’s safety. At the same time, pathogen contaminations are also difficult to detect, and require specialized technologies, tools, and procedures to handle them. Pathogens can easily spread via water and may cause contaminations of large areas, far from their origin.

Waterborne pathogen contamination events can occur anywhere and may be caused by various reasons. These include: Natural events (e.g., earthquakes may cause failures in the urban drinking water and wastewater network); Accidents or malicious attacks (e.g., when some unknown pathogen contaminant enters the drinking water supply); Illegal activities (such as dumping of animal waste into lakes or rivers); Cascading events (such as a failure in the power system which affects disinfection), and many others.

During these emergencies, First Responders (FR) may need to operate within a certain pre-defined incident area and are likely to be exposed to contaminated water originating from various sources, such as surface water, wastewater or drinking water. This can pose a significant risk of illness, disease or even death, through skin contact, ingestion, or inhalation.

Expected Results & Impact

The PathoCERT outputs will, thus, consist of the following tools and technologies:


Advancing two innovative sensor technologies for detecting presence, absence, and type of pathogen to reduce the recognition time-delay of pathogens in minutes instead of hours.


A software tool made to speed monitoring satellite images and identifying possible contaminated areas by FR.


A software tool for monitoring and analysing citizen tweets related to pathogen contaminations in order to extract information, detect fake tweets and rapidly identify the extend of the contaminated area.


A software tool for the Command & Control station to accelerate reception and communication of information to the FR and the Headquarters.


A model-based tool to identify and speed up the time to identify the possible source of the contamination, to access the potential impact and to evaluate mitigate strategies of the contamination event.


A software tool to gather data from different sources and shorten the time required for collecting information in minutes instead of days.


A smart wearable sensor to alert the FRs if they touch contaminated water.


A drone-based system that will reduce the time required for collecting water samples from water bodies in minutes instead of hours.


A technology to enhance FR sensing and awareness capabilities through smart wearable interfaces and augmented reality systems.


A knowledge database tool comprised with pathogen information and metadata collected using AI-tools, aimed to reduce the time to identify estimate the threat risk and mitigation strategies in hours instead of days.

In addition, PathoCERT will produce guidelines for the FR for managing emergency water contamination events. Virtual environments will be used for tabletop exercises and training workshops will be organized. Moreover, the technologies will be demonstrated in field exercises. Moreover, scientific papers, and patents will be produced throughout the project’s lifetime. The purpose is not only to increase the operational capability of the FR and fasten the overall management but also to reduce the human error in setting up new technologies.