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2024 Summer School

Fire Fundamentals for Performance-Based Fire Safety Design

1st - 6th September 2024, Warsaw, Poland

Time and Location

Registration is now closed.

  • Start: Sunday 1st September 2024
  • End: Friday 6th September 2024
  • Main location: Warsaw, Poland (the venue TBD)
  • Wednesday 4th September 2024: day trip to ITB Fire Testing Laboratory in Pionki, with lectures, demonstrations and a lab tour given on site

Industrial support for the event

The co-organizer of the Summer School, FRISSBE, has obtained support for the organization of the event to improve its accessibility, inclusivity and participant experience. Thanks to this support, a number of stipends were provided to students, allowing us to waive the registration fees. This support also allows us to host additional side-events during the School, strengthening the bonding between particpants and the lecturers.

We are thankful to the following organizations who are supporting us in our mission to deliver the best teaching experience to our participants!

Logo - Sponsors

FRISSBE has obtained the financial support from these organizations.

The Summer School

The course is unique in its contents and structure, offering a coherent programme that focuses on high-quality performance-based fire safety design approaches and tools. To achieve that, the required fundamentals are taught throughout the week by well-renowned lecturers, experienced in both academia and fire safety design that will also be available for the entire week for personal discussions with the select participants, who are offered a student to lecturer ratio of 4 to 1:

  • Prof Grunde Jomaas (FRISSBE-ZAG, Slovenia)
  • Dr Andrea Lucherini (FRISSBE-ZAG, Slovenia)
  • Dr Martina Manes (University of Liverpool, UK)
  • Prof Bart Merci (Ghent University, Belgium)
  • Dr Michael Spearpoint (OFR Consultants, UK)
  • Prof José L. Torero (University College London, UK)
  • Dr Ruben Van Coile (Ghent University, Belgium)
  • Dr Wojciech Węgrzyński (ITB, Poland)
  • Dr Michael Woodrow (University College London, UK)

Moreover, the participants will enjoy all lunches together with the lecturers and will experience a selection of full-scale tests and experimental demonstrations carried out at the ITB Fire Testing Laboratory, one of Europe's largest and busiest fire laboratory hubs” in The Summer School.


Prof Grunde Jomaas

Prof Grunde Jomaas

Grunde Jomaas is the FRISSBE ERA Chair holder and the Head of the Department for Research for Fire-Safe Sustainable Environment at the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG). He is also a professor at the University of Primorska in the Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies (FAMNIT). Professor Jomaas has a BSc (Summa Cum Laude) in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland (2001) and a MSc (2005) and PhD (2008) in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University. Professor Jomaas has a broad experience in experimental combustion and fire safety research, including high pressure premixed flame research and flammability in microgravity. In the FRISSBE project, he focuses on the link between fire safety and sustainability, both from a theoretical and experimental perspective. The main experimental research topics are photovoltaics, batteries, biobased materials, and mass timber.

Dr Andrea Lucherini

Dr Andrea Lucherini

Dr Andrea Lucherini holds the position of Senior Researcher within the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG). Earlier, he worked with world-leading research teams in Belgium (Ghent University), Australia (The University of Queensland) and Denmark (Technical University of Denmark). Andrea's field of expertise comprises construction materials engineering, with a specialisation in fire safety science and engineering. To date, Andrea's research has primarily focused on advanced fire dynamics and heat transfer for performance-based fire safety engineering, the performance of modern construction materials and systems during and after a fire, and advanced experimental methodologies for fire testing.

Dr Martina Manes

Dr Martina Manes

Dr Martina Manes is a Lecturer in Civil Engineering at the University of Liverpool. Her research includes the investigation of international fire statistics, evaluation of fire risk assessment and optimization of fire resilience. She is a professionally qualified civil engineer in Italy and her research outcomes updated the BS PD 7974-7:2003 fire safety data with current fire statistics of England and the USA. She also participated in the EU FireStat project funded by the European Commission. Experience with interdisciplinary teams of experts was built on collaborations between academia and industry, participation in technical steering groups for MHCLG research, consultancy for the NFCC and private companies, and studies with experts in engineering and social sciences.

Prof. Bart Merci

Prof Bart Merci

Prof Bart Merci obtained his PhD in electro-mechanical engineering at Ghent University, on turbulent combustion modelling in CFD simulations non-premixed jet flames (2000). Bart Merci is now Senior Full Professor in Combustion and Fire Safety Science and Engineering (FSSE) at Ghent University (UGent). The FSSE team consists of about 15 researchers (PhD students and postdoctoral researchers). His main expertise is fluid mechanics aspects in turbulent reacting flows. He is particularly specialised in fluid mechanics aspects related to fire and smoke dynamics. He co-authored about 200 peer review papers, 1 book and several chapters in books. Since 2010 Bart Merci is the Director of the International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering on behalf of Ghent University. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Fire Safety Journal. He is guest professor at several institutes and has won multiple national and international awards. He is Co-Chair of the IAFSS Working Group MaCFP (Measurement and Computation of Fire Phenomena) and is member of multiple editorial boards and scientific committees.

Dr Michael Spearpoint

Dr Michael Spearpoint

Dr Michael Spearpoint is the Research Leader at OFR Consultants and is based in the Manchester office. He previously was an Associate Professor at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand and before that worked at BRE in the UK. While at the University of Canterbury he taught courses in active fire protection systems, human behaviour, and fire engineering design. He has published over 200 research articles on a wide range of fire science and engineering topics. Current research areas include means of escape from tall residential buildings, fires in parking buildings, the performance of laminated glass in fire, and fire safety of mass timber. He has an MSc in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland and a PhD in Fire Engineering from the University of Canterbury. He is a Chartered Engineer through the Institution of Fire Engineers.

Prof. José L. Torero

Prof José L. Torero

Prof José L. Torero is a Fire Engineer, Professor of Civil Engineering and Head of the Department of Civil Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at University College London (UCL). He is the author of more than 250 scientific papers in fire safety engineering and an active participant in the development of codes and standards globally. He is the past Chair of the ASCE Fire Protection Engineering Committee as well as a main author of the Warren Centre Reports on Fire Safety Engineering. His project work is focused on complex infrastructure and unique solutions. He is a Fellow of SFPE, the recipient of the Arthur B. Guise Medal from the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (USA) and the Rasbash Medal from the Institution of Fire Engineers (UK).

Dr Ruben Van Coile

Dr Ruben Van Coile

Dr Ruben Van Coile is Associate Professor 'Structural Fire Safety' at Ghent University, Belgium. Previously, he worked at WSP in London as a (structural) fire engineer. His work focusses on structural fire engineering and the application of risk and reliability methods. Dr Van Coile received the 2018 NFPA Bigglestone Award for "excellence in the communication of fire protection concepts" in recognition of his research work. He has been awarded a Starting Grant by the European Research Council to develop a knowledge-based approach to fire testing.

Dr Wojciech Węgrzyński

Dr Wojciech Węgrzyński

Dr Wojciech Węgrzyński is with ITB, that is the Polish Building Research Institute in Warsaw. He currently holds the position of the Deputy Head of Fire Research Department and the Professor of the Institute. Director at SFPE Europe. He is an Author of 40 peer-reviewed papers published in all of the primary FSE journals. His main area of interest is the fundamentals of compartment fire dynamics and standardized fire testing, and also: use of computational fluid dynamics in fire, wind and fire interaction and evaluation of the effects of the spread of smoke in buildings, as well as fire testing of new technologies in civil engineering. Member of the Sub-committee for Research of the IAFSS. 2018 NFPA Harry C. Bigglestone Award Recipient; 2019 Jack Watts Award Recipient; 2020 SFPE 5 Under 35 Award Recipient. Member of the Editorial Board of 'Fire Technology'. Hosts a fire podcast at

Dr Michael Woodrow

Dr Michael Woodrow

Michael is a full-time Lecturer in Engineering Education, with experience in both research and industry. Skilled in fire engineering, integrated design, critical thinking and engineering pedagogy. A professional with a PhD in Fire Engineering Education from the University of Edinburgh. Michael is the External Examiner on the International Masters in Fire Safety Engineering (IMFSE); and programme director of the Fire Safe Design MArch at UCL. Michael joined UCL in 2019 from Foster+Partners, where he was an Associate Fire Engineer for almost seven years. Throughout his time in professional practice, he participated in the design of over 300 unique projects in our built environment. Notable projects include the Regent Street Apple Store, Maggie's at the Christie, and the Cleveland Health Campus.

Content and the Audience

Content and learning objectives

The summer school aims at presenting, explaining, and discussing the following relevant topics related to performance-based fire safety design:

  • Fire safety design principles: general objectives, approaches, and tools
  • Fundamentals of fire behaviour: overview on the needs, ignition, and fire spread
  • Fundamentals of smoke and heat transport
  • Structural fire safety
  • Probabilistic performance-based design
  • Fire safety design tools
  • Laboratory visit and testing
  • Case studies
  • Research in consultancy and emerging challenges
  • Poster session with presentations and discussions (with best poster award)

Target audience

Early career fire science researchers (PhD students or postdoctoral researchers), as well as practitioners in fire safety engineering who would like to strengthen their fundamentals, extend their knowledge, analyse practical examples and recent innovative applications, discuss emerging challenges, and learn more about performance-based fire safety design in general. The summer school cohort will be formed by up to 40 students with a diverse background, research interests, profession, geographical location, and gender.


The summer school will have 5 days for teaching and learning activities. It will be delivered as a mix of lectures, discussions, and case studies. During the laboratory visit, participants will witness live demonstrations and experiments, with ability to interact with the testing personnel and closely inspect data, testing process, and specimens. The teaching language will be English.

The Application Procedure

How to apply?

Participants are expected to be in an early-career stage, carrying out fire science related research and/or working in fire safety engineering projects. The course assumes the equivalent of an engineering background at MSc level.

A short CV (1 page) and motivational letter (1 page) to be submitted to before 15th March 2024. Applicants will be notified on approval of admission by 27th March 2024.

Admission will not be granted on a first-come first-serve basis, but rather on the basis of the CV and the motivation of the applicant. Applicants are expected to confirm their participation to the summer school by completing the registration process by 19th April 2024.

Registration fee

We forsee a registration fee of approx — 900€, including the accommodation (double shared room in a 3 / 4 stars hotel where the school will be held) and all main activities, the welcome reception, coffee breaks, lunches and the Summer School Dinner event. The full cost will be determined after the tentative number of participants is known.


The summer school will have 5 days for teaching and learning activities. It will be delivered as a mix of lectures, discussions, and case studies. During the laboratory visit, participants will witness live demonstrations and experiments, with ability to interact with the testing personnel and closely inspect data, testing process, and specimens. The teaching language will be English.


Draft Program

Lab Tour Program

(Wednesday 4th September 2024, 10:00 – 15:00)

Laboratory activities will be carried in three groups, as follows:

Brief explanation of planned activities:

  • Lab tour – walkthrough the ITB Fire Testing Laboratory – one of largest fire testing facilities in Europe, handling 200+ fire resistance and 2000+ reaction to fire tests each year. Given by the laboratory experts with explanation on the fire testing technology.
  • Fire resistance test – an EN1363 furnace tests (specimen TBD) with an explanation on the fire resistance testing procedures, and their role in fire safety engineering.
  • Smoke control in corridor – experiments carried in full scale smoke control laboratory (30 m corridor) equipped with all types of smoke control, with direct processing of experimental results and ability to observe live how different exhaust strategies lead to different outcomes.
  • Ventilated façade – experiments with a ventilated façade with adjustable cavity width to observe the changes in fire behaviour in a cavity with different sizes, as well as providing an introduction to temperature and flow measurements in fire experiments.

Laboratory activities will be carried in three groups, as follows:

See you in Warsaw!