DIGeMERGE: Digital Emergency Communication

During disasters and emergencies, good communication is of vital importance to life-saving efforts. In recent years, numerous digital tools have made their way into emergency management, initially simply to warn the public about imminent risks and hazards. As societies become ever more digitalised, such tools are increasingly used to collect data from the public and those at risk, including user-generated content posted on social media also known as many-to-many communication platforms.

The CHANSE research project Digital Emergency Communication (DIGeMERGE) studies the use of many-to-many and other digital communication platforms and tools in four highly digitalised European countries; Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Using a grounded, applied approach, DIGeMERGE examines the scope and implications of the digitalisation of emergency communication in these countries, covering debates about privacy and data protection, and efforts to integrate user-generated content into emergency responses. Digital communication tools under study include pandemic tracing apps and other smartphone applications that use location data, mass alerts via text message and the use of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook for issuing advice as well as situational data collection.

The overarching objective of DIGeMERGE is to understand both the everyday practical challenges of emergency service digitalisation and the deeper implications for the state-citizen relationship. The project pursues this objective by investigating challenges associated with new digital emergency communication tools and related debates about societal and individual responsibility, protection needs, vulnerability and rights.

DIGeMERGE is led by Åshild Kolås at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and includes Stine Bergersen as co-investigator from PRIO. The research team also consists of principal investigators Linda Paxling at Malmö University in Sweden, Sunniva Sandbukt at the IT University of Copenhagen in Denmark and Mourad Oussalah at the Centre for Machine Vision and Signal Analysis, University of Oulu in Finland. In addition to the researchers, DIGeMERGE further involves stakeholder cooperation partners, including the NGO Norwegian People’s Aid, a major rescue service organisation in Norway, and Finland’s 6G Flagship programme. DIGeMERGE also has a stakeholder reference group of emergency management practitioners, which is geared towards knowledge co-production.

For more information and updates: https://www.prio.org/projects/DIGeMERGE


  • Project Leader: Åshild Kolås, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Dimensions of Security, Norway, e-mail
  • Linda Paxling, Malmö University, Sweden
  • Sunniva Sandbukt, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Mourad Oussalah, University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, CMVS, Finland


  • Erlend Aarsæther, First Aid and Rescue Services, Norwegian Peoples Aid
  • Marja Matinmikko-Blue, Sustainability and Regulation 6G Flagship
  • Bernd Bohned, Google CSG, London
  • Thi Hoang, Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime


 Start date

1 October 2022

Project duration

36 months

 Project budget

€ 1 469 773

Funding organisations