The Allied in Safety and Security (Verbonden in Veiligheid) network is the fruit of an international collaboration between twelve privileged partners working together in Belgium and the Netherlands on the Interreg Project.
Every day, national and international news proves the growing importance of safety issues and the need for quality professional and academic education and research on safety and modern risk management.
Taking this concern as its point of departure, the Allied in Safety and Security project was launched in 2009 by the Benelux General Secretariat, with the support of the European Fund for Regional Development (Interreg) and the provinces of Antwerp and Northern Brabant. Between October 2009 and September 2012, the project brought together a dozen Dutch and Belgian partners from the private and public sectors to reflect on how higher education could renew its approach to safety.
The University of Antwerp, Plantijn University College, Avans University College and the Antwerp Management School took the lead, improving their existing safety programmes while also developing new courses. Since September 2012, Plantijn University College has offered a professional Bachelor programme on integrated safety, with the Master programme on safety sciences being taught at the University of Antwerp.
The expertise of the business community is obviously an invaluable aspect of these training programmes, and the organisations which have helped to ensure strong ties between education and practice include Voka (the Antwerp/Waasland Chamber of Commerce), the Chamber of Commerce of the Southwest Netherlands, the Provincial Safety Institute, the Province of Antwerp's regional police department, the City of Antwerp and the Antwerp Port Authority. The outcome of all of this collaboration was the Allied in Safety and Security network, which will remain in place even after the Interreg project ends.