Development Of A Territorial Approach For The Representation Of Multirisk Scenarios Using Petri Nets

Universities and Institutes of France


November 30, 2022


  • Organisation/Company: INRAE
  • Research Field: Engineering
  • Researcher Profile: First Stage Researcher (R1) Recognised Researcher (R2) Established Researcher (R3) Leading Researcher (R4)
  • Application Deadline: 30/11/2022 00:00 - Europe/Athens
  • Location: France › Aix-en-Provence
  • Type Of Contract: Temporary
  • Job Status: Full-time
  • Offer Starting Date: 01/12/2022
  • The PhD position is attached to the SMART project (Multirisk Scenarios on a Territory: A Petri Net Approach to Represent Them All), funded by INRAE. SMART involves 3 research teams: UMR RECOVER (INRAE, Aix-Marseille Univ) MEXICO Team (Inria) and AMAP (INRAE, CIRAD, CNRS, IRD, Université de Montpellier).


    In recent decades, disasters related to natural hazards have continuously increased (1), in particular due to the growing exposure of the world's urban population (2). The consideration of technological risks further aggravates these figures. A natural risk can also lead to a technological one in the same geographical area and result in a "NaTech" event. Finally, global change is likely to increase the exposure of populations through changes in the magnitude, frequency and spatial distribution of hazards. Multirisk can be defined as a complex system composed of different hazards (natural and/or technological), which can act in combination – with or without coincidence in time – and impact on potentially dependent issues (3-6). Indeed, under certain conditions, different combinations of natural and technological hazards are likely to occur: e.g. earthquake followed by a tsunami, flooding impacting facilities, domino effect between industries, cascade effect between infrastructures. These hazards threaten the same natural and/or man-made issues, each presenting economic, social, technical, human and environmental vulnerabilities. Risk management measures are typically put in place to reduce the impacts. Disasters caused by Hurricane Katrina in the United States in 2005, or Hurricane Matthew in 2016 affecting the population of Haiti which had not yet recovered from the 2010 earthquake, or the earthquake, tsunami and accident at the Fukushima power plant in Japan in 2011 (NaTech) are emblematic examples of multirisk events. However, smaller events are also likely to lead to cascades of events highly damaging to communities.

    To better understand this type of event and prevent them, a major challenge lies in the formalisation of knowledge and the representation of scenarios, from the triggering of the initiating event to the return to normalcy.


    The main goal of the Ph.D research is to develop an innovative approach based on Petri Nets to represent and analyze multi-hazard scenarios. The approach and tools developed will have several interests: (i) awareness of multiple risks in a territory; (ii) formalisation and modelling of knowledge; (iii) simulation and assessment of impacts in support of management processes; (iv) communication and sharing of knowledge on the multi-hazard issue between different stakeholders (e.g. scientists, practitioners, decision- makers, insurers, citizens). This necessarily contributes to better disaster preparedness.

    Research directions will include:

  • The collection of needs in terms of tools from stakeholders (e.g. risk managers, rescue services, local authorities), in a multiscale perspective (distinction between the area of occurrence of the hazard from the area of influence of the hazard);
  • The identification of the system components of the system (hazards, vulnerable and exposed issues, risk management measures). Initial work has been carried out in this direction, particularly on the basis of dependability approaches (7, 8) that will be used in this work, completed by interviews with stakeholders and data collection on case studies;
  • The modeling of multirisk scenarios based on discrete event/Petri net. This modelling and its formal analysis allow revealing possible invariants and other hidden structures in the system dynamics, with the totality of direct and indirect risks, and their determining factors, intervention possibilities and stop points (if any) (916).
  • Exploration of the models thus obtained to identify critical dependencies, hidden or indirect influences, decisive points etc.
  • Real case studies will be selected in the Mediterranean area according to partnerships already established in previous or on-going projects. The initiating hazard considered will be a forest fire or a flood, which are research fields in RECOVER.

    Funding category: Contrat doctoral

    PHD Country: France

    Offer Requirements Specific Requirements

    Requirement: Master's degree in one of the following fields, or a closely related domain:

  • (natural and/or technological) risk management or analysis;
  • natural sciences;
  • engineering;
  • computer science with a specialization in verification and formal models more largely.
  • In any case, very good mathematical and computer sciences are a requirement; skills, or at least a strong personal interest in risk management are also mandatory. Other requirements are good academic writing, good communication skills and the ability to work in groups. Fluency or good knowledge in French is important for the cooperation with local authorities, organisations etc. during the thesis; being at ease in conducting interview or workshop organization would be appreciated.

    Contact Information
  • Organisation/Company: INRAE
  • Organisation Type: Public Research Institution
  • Country: France
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