Human Systems and Behaviour

The Belgian Defence is confronted with a wide array of specific challenges such as the budgetary context, the shortage of personnel, time constraints, information overload, the omnipresent uncertainty and complexity in the operational context, as well as other challenges that need optimised organisational and decisional processes, as well as highly developed operational and training means.

This research area aims to study the behaviour, performance, and efficacy of the human being, as a bio-psycho-social-spiritual being, in a high-technology environment where human interactions are central.

This encompasses human performances, Human Autonomy Teaming and Human Systems Integration, advancing the human perspective of interactions with machines and other human beings, incorporating the cognitive and physical interfaces between the human (systems) and machines in a context of performance and efficacy of systems and organisations. From an ergonomic perspective, there are three domains that can be improved in human-system integration: performance, safety, and user satisfaction. The interventions that contribute to these domains are the improvement of the equipment, the task, the environment where the task is executed, the selection and training of the personnel and the organisation of the work in teams. The use of neuroscience for human systems integration in a context of behavioural and cognitive performance and efficacy is also part of this research area.

In addition to an increasing technological complexity, the Defence personnel is more and more confronted with an increasing sociocultural complexity. Consequently, scientific research about multinational military operations in different cultural and anthropological environments is gaining prominence. The greater attention paid to internal and external diversity is also part of it.

In this context, a multidisciplinary approach of research subjects gives added value, because the functioning and integration of human beings in complex organisations can be studied from an economical, legal, psychological, sociological or ethical point of view.

This research area also includes dealing with the application of information on physical and psychological characteristics to the design of devices and systems for human use (human factors engineering) and the various aspects of survivability and performance in extreme environments.

The Defence personnel’s engagement in a culturally complex, highly technological and potentially hostile environment also entails the need to manage a multiplicity of risks and complexities. Therefore, this research area includes studies in the following domains: management of ethical, legal and sociological aspects of warfare and the use of (semi-)autonomous weapon systems, (organisational) change management, human resource management – including diversity and inclusion management –, risk management and complexity management. A specific feature of the operation environment’s complexity is the quasi-permanent proximity of civilians and civilian objects. This aspect of complexity makes decision-making on how to balance force protection, military necessity and non-combatant immunity a central concern, not only from a legal and moral perspective, but also from a strategic and political viewpoint (winning the heart and minds of the local population and/or eroding the adversary’s will to resist).

Military health-related aspects of this Research Area are covered under Research Area 10 Advanced Military Health’.

Huidige projecten voor dit focusgebied

Database programma met zoekopties