The project (INSPIRE-International) aims specifically at fostering mutually beneficial international cooperation between the EC FP7 STREP project 225553 INSPIRE (INcreasing Security and Protection through Infrastructure Resilience; INSPIRE RTD) and the US power grid protection activities and especially the NSF supported GridStat project  ongoing at Washington State University (WSU), Pullman, USA. This will also help form the basis of broader co-operations across the EU and US grid-protection activities.

The core INSPIRE project focuses on power grid as a driver application domain for SCADA systems. This is due to the fact that power grid is one of the most crucial SCADA-based Critical Infrastructures (CIs) nowadays and it is exposed to more and more threats. An international collaboration is highly beneficial to develop SCADA protection techniques that are compatible, scalable, and benefit from collective experiences/challenges across the various international grids.

In INSPIRE-International Cooperation we would like to obtain real data from the North American power grid in order to tune and augment the planned validation of the INSPIRE techniques under development. Two key advantages for the EU over this EU-US cooperation being:

  • US Grid Data Access and EU-need-driven tunability: The large scale size of the North American Grid uniquely provides data from US electricity providers (AREVA, BBN, ABB-USA, Siemens-USA) not achievable on the currently limited EU grid size. This is a fundamental limitation in the current EU grid data availability. Unfortunately, Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) research generally is suffering from the rareness of real data from the existing CIs. This is also valid for the INSPIRE project and its targeted SCADA systems. An international cooperation with a partner that has access to real data (that can be partially tuned and instrumented to INSPIRE specifications) in one of the most known SCADA application domains, i.e. power grid, is needed.
  • NSF GridStat and NASPI Pilot Project Testbed Access: A direct benefit for INSPIRE (& EU SCADA projects) will be to access the experiences on wide-area middleware protocols and communication dissemination experiences obtained over the NSF supported GridStat project at WSU (i.e. the US partner). This will directly help in the verification of the INSPIRE developed communication mechanisms and also help in development of mechanisms that are compatible/complementary across the US and EU SCADA systems. To target compatibility, the NASPI and planned WSU testbeds are planned for public access to EU grid projects and the mutual cooperation across GridStat and INSPIRE will help initiate this.


US Partner-project description

The GridStat project at Washington State University (WSU), led by Professors Carl Hauser and David Bakken, began in 1999, when renowned power researcher Prof. Anjan Bose, a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, recruited Prof. Bakken to help rethink how the power grid’s communications work.
GridStat research is supported by Grant 0326006 from the National Science Foundation (TCIP — Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for Power), with funding from the NSF CyberTrust program and also from Dept. of Energy and Dept. of Homeland Security. GridStat is a novel publish-subscribe, QoS-managed middleware framework that has been designed from the ground up to support the electric power grid’s required data delivery services Poor communication of operational data has been recognized as a major contributing factor to all recent blackouts. GridStat is designed to overcome this problem. It delivers status information to participants in the power grid in a much more flexible and robust manner than is possible today. GridStat is the first operational implementation of such a flexible system. It has been deployed since 2003 in a technology demonstration project using real power grid data from Avista Utilities and in a wide-area demonstration between two US energy labs in 2007-2008. The funding from this project will support further development of GridStat concepts and integration with technologies developed by other collaborators. Washington State University research will extend trust management concepts to provide more dynamic and adaptable access control for grid communications.
TCIP involves 4 universities in the US, with WSU receiving the largest share of funding for a university other than TCIP’s headquarter university, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. TCIP is funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) through its Trustworthy Computing program (lead by Dr. Karl Levitt), with additional funding from DoE (Department of Energy) and also the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). There are technologies being developed under TCIP that are mutually complimentary with those being developed in the INSPIRE project, and vice versa. WSU/TCIP feels that there exist great synergisms between the two and thus much mutual benefit in this funded collaboration.

The technical tasks with WSU fall mainly under the listed objective:

  • Critical Infrastructure protection
  • Secure, dependable and trusted Infrastructures
  • Networked Embedded and Control Systems

The particular technical tasks to be performed by the US based GridStat team as part of this collaborator project is as follows:

  • Share GridStat’s management plane for interaction with the INSPIRE-developed policy-based management approaches. With the increasing trans-national nature of the grid, this is a big win-win that INSPIRE and GridStat can initiate for the larger grid/CIP communities. The exchange of actual GridStat data form the core basis to get this underway
  • Share GridStat-developed mechanisms and discuss potential for complementarities with INSPIRE-developed mechanisms for reliable delivery of control messages for the power grid
  • Discuss the potential usage of  TCIP (Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for Power) research at the various TCIP member institutions
  • for interfacing with INSPIRE approaches. TCIP is the NSF center overseen by the NSF CyberTrust project officer Dr. Karl Levitt (started by Dr. Carl Landwehr). It also includes discussing the mutually beneficial uses of GridStat-developed trust management system called Hestia with INSPIRE and the broader EU CIP community
  • Share the GridStat and NASPInet approach to recover from accidental and malicious failures and to understand its synergy with INSPIRE-developed techniques for diagnosis and recovery
  • Interact to discuss complementary verification and validation (V&V) techniques across GridStat & NASPInet with INSPIRE



The three project participants are CINI (Consorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale per l’Informatica), TUD (Technische Universität Darmstadt) and ITTI (Instytut Technik Telekomunikacyjnych i Informatycznych Sp. z o.o.) . Three different European nations are represented: Italy, Germany, and Poland. All the participants have been identified as leading organizations in their own field, thus providing the Consortium with high quality capabilities. Across the full set of INSPIRE STREP partners, these represent the organizations whose focussed competences in data collection, verification and validation methods and middleware/ communication mechanisms best match the international co-operation focus themes with the GridStat team at WSU. The cooperation activities of CINI, TUD and ITTI also match the corresponding INSPIRE-STREP activities allowing for best transfer of cooperation results to the full INSPIRE group.


CINI (Consorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale per l’Informatica)

Type: Research Center
Expertise: network management and control, network security and resilience
INSPIRE-INCO role: Project Coordinator

TUD (Technische Universität Darmstadt)

Type: University
Expertise: dependable systems and software
INSPIRE-INCO role: TUD has existing strong relationships with WSU GridStat project, and also with the TCIP project for establishing the main relationship on the middleware and wide area communication activities interaction with the US teams. TUD’s is the lead INSPIRE partner for middleware and communication overlay aspects.

ITTI Sp. Z.O.O. (Instytut Technik Telekomunikacyjnych i Informatycznych Sp. z o.o.)

Type: Industry
Expertise: consulting and applied research in the field of communication infrastructures
INSPIRE-INCO role: ITTI is the INSPIRE STREP partner with dedicated expertise in data gathering and analysis that will be key to developing the basis of data collection with the GridStat project.