The joint research project “INKA” (Professional integration of volunteers in crisis management and civil protection), in cooperation with relevant representatives of civil protection in Germany, aims to develop optimized solutions for the professional integration of volunteers in disaster prevention and crisis management.


Currently there are 1.8 million volunteers in civil protection in Germany. Therefore, to a significant extent, disaster relief is supported by them. Without their commitment, the operation of rescue and relief agencies would be severely impaired. Consequently, the optimal and targeted use of volunteers is essential to limit the extent of damage in case of disaster.

With the suspension of required civil service for all citizens, the civil protection organizations are faced with new challenges. Numerous rescue and relief forces are omitted. Furthermore, new general conditions, such as a changing population structure, as well as altered threats, need to be considered.

In cooperation with the Fraunhofer-Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, the major German aid organizations working in the field of disaster relief (such as the Red Cross), the National Network for Civil Society BBE, and the universities of Greifswald and Stuttgart are working closely together in the joint research project “INKA”. Furthermore, companies, as well as relevant actors of civil protection of local authorities and federal states, are incorporated into the project. Through the exchange with all stakeholders it can be ensured that new policies are put into practice.

As part of the project, the reasons for the decreased willingness to undertake voluntary work in civil society institutions are examined. In addition, structures and processes of the major organizations and the human resources development of companies will be analyzed and competency requirements for volunteers determined.

In the final stages of the project (March 2015), the results of studies and workshops will be merged into guidelines which give specific action recommendations. To optimize the use of volunteers in disaster situations, solutions for IT-supported coordination will be developed. Moreover, the communication between all stakeholders in civil protection and crisis management will be improved with the help of new communication technologies.

Further information

The Project is documented at German

Project duration

October 2012 – September 2015


The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (FKZ: 13N12197)

Cooperation partners

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO
  • University of Stuttgart (IAT)
  • German Red Cross
  • National Network for Civil Society BBE
  • Firefighters Berlin

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