ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence is paving the way for Cyprus to enter the space arena

Blog / April 1, 2020

Image: The SpaceX Dragon approaches the International Space Station as both spacecraft orbit above the Mediterranean Sea in between Turkey and Cyprus. Credit: NASA
Image: The SpaceX Dragon approaches the International Space Station as both spacecraft orbit above the Mediterranean Sea in between Turkey and Cyprus. Credit: NASA
Image: The SpaceX Dragon approaches the International Space Station as both spacecraft orbit above the Mediterranean Sea in between Turkey and Cyprus. Credit: NASA
Image: The SpaceX Dragon approaches the International Space Station as both spacecraft orbit above the Mediterranean Sea in between Turkey and Cyprus. Credit: NASA

Cyprus is expanding its presence in the area of Earth observations (EO) and space-based monitoring as they announce a new ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence (ECoE).

This project will upgrade the existing Remote Sensing and Geo-Environment Lab (Eratosthenes Research Centre) within the Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Faculty of Engineering and Technology of the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) that has been running since 2007.

The creation of ECoE will generate new opportunities for innovative research in the monitoring of our planet using Earth observations obtained through space-based and ground-based integrated technologies. ECoE will provide research and development and services in areas such as disaster risk reduction, food security, precision farming, renewable energy, civil protection and safety at the national and regional levels.

The EXCELSIOR (ERATOSTHENES: EΧcellence Research Centre for Earth Surveillance and Space-Based Monitoring of the Environment) is a newly granted project from the Horizon 2020 Framework for Research and Innovation of the European Union (Grant Agreement number: 857510). Through the EXCELSIOR Horizon 2020 Widespread Teaming Phase 2 project, a new, autonomous and self-sustained Centre of Excellence, the ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence (ECoE) will become the sole established laboratory in Cyprus for Earth observations. The total funding of the EXCELSIOR H2020 Teaming project is: 15 million Euros from EC, 15 million Euros from the Republic of Cyprus and 8 million Euros from the Cyprus University of Technology.

ECoE: A Digital Innovation Hub for Earth observations

ECoE will act as a Digital Innovation Hub and a Research Excellence Centre for EO in the region, creating an ecosystem where the state-of-the-art sensing equipment, cutting-edge research, targeted education services and entrepreneurship come together and will embrace three cutting-edge Thematic Clusters for sustained excellence in research:

  • Environment and Climate, including climate change, precipitation, atmospheric pollution, agriculture (such as irrigation, precision farming and targeted agriculture), water resources and water quality.
  • Resilient Society, including resilience of critical infrastructure, businesses, cities, citizens, and food, disaster management (such as early warning systems to monitor and support risk reduction), renewable energy, smart cities, built up environment, cultural heritage, mineral and hydrocarbon exploitation, marine security.
  • Big Earth Data Analytics, including satellite Big Data management and analytics, modelling, forecasting, as well as state-of-the-art sensors and infrastructure in line with the Smart Specialization Strategy for Cyprus (S3Cy) priorities.

ECoE will set the stage for a regional GEO implementation in European, Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa (EMMENA) Region. ECoE benefits from existing GEO initiatives, such as GEO-CRADLE, while advancing the maturity of EO research and science in the region. Through Excelsior and its implementing operating body, the ECoE, the existing regional and global portal capacities including GEO-CRADLE Regional Data Hub and the GEOSS Platform will be highly enriched with new satellite and modeled data, covering primarily the European and EMMENA region.

Capitalizing on the GEO-CRADLE Initiative coordinated by the partner National Observatory of Athens, ECoE will support and secure the sustainability of the existing stakeholder network and will seek to exploit and implement a roadmap proposed by GEO-CRADLE, towards the regional implementation of GEO, GEOSS, and EuroGEO in the development of innovative Earth observation services.

Partners in Success

On the occasion of the opening ceremony of the EXCELSIOR project, the Cypriot President Anastasiades receives a present from DLR as a guest gift from Gunter Schreier, Deputy Director of DFD and Head of DLR’s share in the project.
On the occasion of the opening ceremony of the EXCELSIOR project, the Cypriot President Anastasiades receives a present from DLR as a guest gift from Gunter Schreier, Deputy Director of DFD and Head of DLR’s share in the project.
On the occasion of the opening ceremony of the EXCELSIOR project, the Cypriot President Anastasiades receives a present from DLR as a guest gift from Gunter Schreier, Deputy Director of DFD and Head of DLR’s share in the project.
On the occasion of the opening ceremony of the EXCELSIOR project, the Cypriot President Anastasiades receives a present from DLR as a guest gift from Gunter Schreier, Deputy Director of DFD and Head of DLR’s share in the project.

The Government of Cyprus fully supports the development of ECoE through its participation in the project consortium and funding support that equals that of the European Union. The project is considered as a unique opportunity for Cyprus to develop and establish a presence in the space sector, boosting the local, regional and European economy.

At the opening ceremony, Cypriot President Anastasiades stated: “Our Government has set out bold and ambitious targets, aimed at enabling Cyprus to become a dynamic and competitive economy, driven by research, scientific excellence, innovation, technological development and entrepreneurship.”

“All partners, in close collaboration with the EXCELSIOR Consortium, will provide any assistance deemed necessary in order to develop the ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence into a world class Research and Innovation Hub for Earth observation, a reference Centre in Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa,” explained President Anastasiades.

The project is actively supported by more than 95 organizations, including Ministries, Municipalities, National-level organizations and Networks (e.g., the Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber, 6 Ministries from the Cyprus Government and 19 Govermental Department from Cyprus, International organizations (e.g. GEO, ESA, NASA, ISPRS, NEREUS, ACTRIS, EARLINET, EARSel, COPERNICUS Support Office etc.),  Universities (Tel-Aviv University, Aristotle University, National Technical University of Athens, Ben-Gurion University, CNR-Italy etc.) and Research Centres, research and innovation institutions and companies (e.g. CYTA, CYRIC, Gravity, Atlantis Consulting, Geofem, i-BEC etc.).

The Consortium of the EXCELSIOR project consists of the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT), the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the National Observatory of Athens (NOA), the German Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS) and the Department of Electronic Communications (DEC) from the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy of the Cyprus Government.

The External Advisory Board of the ‘EXCELSIOR’ and the ‘ECoE’ consists the following: Mr. Vincent Ambrosia from NASA, Mrs. Simonetta Cheli from ESA, Mr. Marcello Maranesi- independent consultant (worked in the past as Chief Executive Officer at e-GEOS-Italy) , Prof. Lena Halounova-ISPRS Secretary General &Czech Technical University, Dr. Peter Zeil from Spatial Services & University of Salzburg and Mr. Daniel Barok-senior space consultant (former Adviser for International Collaboration at Israel Space Agency).  The Eratosthenes Centre of Excellence (ECoE) board of directors consists among others Barbara Ryan-former-secretariat Director of GEO, Prof. Rosa Lasaponara from the Italian National Research Council (CNR), Dr Nektarios Chrysoulakis from FORTH, Mrs Vasiliki Anastasiadou Former Minister of Communications and Works, Mr. Marios Demetriades- Former Minister of Communications and Works, Prof. Evangelos Akylas-Cyprus University of Technology etc.

Get Involved – Act together

The ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence will create opportunities for innovative research on the systematic monitoring of the Environment, using Earth observation through space-based and ground-based integrated technologies. The ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence will create 112 job positions for the next 7 years.

There are several ways in which you can become a stakeholder in the EXCELSIOR project and/or the ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence. If you would like to find out more, contact the persons below to discuss further opportunities for collaboration!

Please contact: Prof. Diofantos Hadjimitsis (CUT, CYPRUS): d.hadjimitsis@cut.ac.cy, coordinator of the ‘Excelsior’ H2020.


Prof. Diofantos Hadjimitsis, Cyprus University Technology, CUT.
Prof. Diofantos Hadjimitsis, Cyprus University Technology, CUT.
Prof. Diofantos Hadjimitsis, Cyprus University Technology, CUT.
Prof. Diofantos Hadjimitsis, Cyprus University Technology, CUT.

Mr. Georgios Komodromos, Department of Electronic Communications
Mr. Georgios Komodromos, Department of Electronic Communications
Mr. Georgios Komodromos, Department of Electronic Communications
Mr. Georgios Komodromos, Department of Electronic Communications

Mr. Gunter Schreier, German Aerospace Center
Mr. Gunter Schreier, German Aerospace Center
Mr. Gunter Schreier, German Aerospace Center
Mr. Gunter Schreier, German Aerospace Center

Dr. Haris Kontoes, National Observatory of Athens, BEYOND
Dr. Haris Kontoes, National Observatory of Athens, BEYOND
Dr. Haris Kontoes, National Observatory of Athens, BEYOND
Dr. Haris Kontoes, National Observatory of Athens, BEYOND

Dr. Albert Ansmann
Dr. Albert Ansmann
Dr. Albert Ansmann
Dr. Albert Ansmann


For more information visit our website

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 857510

 

This project has received funding from the Government of the Republic of Cyprus through the Directorate General of the European’s Programmes, Coordination and Development

 

 

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