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System Safety Research

Forty percent of the System Safety group holds a PhD degree within telecommunications. Due to the educational background and long-time experience with safety assessment services within the railway and oil and gas sectors, the following research areas are of particular interest to the System Safety group:

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Safety – security

Traditionally, safety related systems have been subject to strict acceptance processes, requiring a large set of documentation to be assessed by independent third parties. Due to the strict acceptance processes, changes within safety related systems usually cannot be made rapidly. In the field of cyber security, however, changes are made in a much faster pace in order to achieve protection towards the dynamically changing threats. The System Safety group hypotheses that there is potential of finding an optimal acceptance process for systems that provide protection towards safety and cyber security threats; in other words, an acceptance process that is adapted towards both the static nature of safety threats and the dynamic nature of cyber security threats.

Safety versus availability

Traditionally when developing railway signalling systems, requirements to documentation have been more related to safety than to reliability/availability. The System Safety group hypotheses that there is potential of finding the optimal balance of safety vs. reliability/availability requirements for a given signalling system.

Simplified certification and approval

Today, very large resources are put into certification and approval of railway systems, in particular on the railway signaling systems. A major reason for this is the very comprehensive set of standards and specifications to confirm compliance to. The use of compliance verification tools and the harmonization of documentation are two major factors that may lead to a simplified certification and approval process. It is foreseen such a simplified certification and approval process will achieve the following benefits: reduced costs of assessment and certification for all involved actors, reduced time for the assessment and certification process, larger degree of reuse of assessment and certification work from project to project, contributing to both reduced cost and time.


Today´s systems and organizations adapt and function to demands in rapidly changing environments under different degrees of uncertainty. Thus, the question is to assess the ability of a system to remain resilient, how well systems and organizations cope with expected and unexpected changes. As such resilience engineering requires a mind set change moving from classic safety assessment approaches towards approaches addressing the dynamics of complex socio-technical systems in context.