Cyprus Aspires to Enter Space Arena with the ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence

Blog / August 9, 2018

The ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence plans to create opportunities for ground-breaking research on the systematic monitoring of the environment using Earth observations. The government of Cyprus views the project as a unique opportunity to develop a presence in the space sector and boost the local, regional and European economies.

EXCELSIOR H2020 Teaming Project: Narrowing the Research Divide in Europe

The EXCELSIOR (ERATOSTHENES Excellence Research Centre for Earth Surveillance and Space-Based Monitoring of the Environment) H2020 proposal aims at connecting renowned research institutions from countries with strong traditions in research and innovation with institutions from countries with developing research activities, so that the latter countries become more competitive in securing research funds.

The project was ranked 1st on a pan-European scale among 208 proposals submitted to Programme Teaming for Excellence Phase 1, part of European Union’s (EU) Horizon 2020 Framework for Research and Innovation.

The EXCELSIOR proposal was awarded 400,000 euros for a one year period (Phase 1 of the Programme) to develop a business plan to transform the existing ERATOSTHENES Research Centre (ERC), of the Cyprus University of Technology, into an ‘Excellence Research Centre for Earth Surveillance and Space-Based Monitoring of the Environment’, or ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence (ECoE).

The Phase 2 proposal will be submitted for evaluation to the EU Horizon 2020 Framework for Research and Innovation of the Widespread Teaming Programme, seeking funding of 15 million euros for a period of 5-7 years, with the possibility of an additional equal amount of national co-funding for a period of 15 years.

ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence Concept

The existing ERC is the only established laboratory in Cyprus for space-based Earth observation. The aim of the ECoC project is to transform the ERC into a sustainable, viable and autonomous Centre of Excellence for Earth surveillance.

The project team foresees that the ECoE will become a European leader in Earth observation research and play a leading role in the East Mediterranean, Middle East and North African (EMMENA) region in the use of Earth observation and space techniques for monitoring the natural and built environment.

EXCELSIOR project team and International Experts in action
EXCELSIOR project team and International Experts in action

Innovation through Open Data

The creation of the ECoE will generate new opportunities for innovative research on the monitoring of our planet using Earth observations, space and ground based integrated technologies. The ECoE will provide research & development and services (e.g. disaster risk, agriculture, etc.) for space monitoring and Earth observation at the national and regional levels.

The ECoE will set the stage for a sub-regional GEO initiative in the EMMENA region. The ECoE will also provide GEO with Earth observation data for the South Eastern Mediterranean, which will be incorporated into the GEOSS Platform.

Capitalizing on the GEO-CRADLE Community Activity coordinated by the National Observatory of Athens (NOA), the ECoE will support and secure the sustainability of the existing stakeholder network in the region, and will seek to implement a roadmap proposed by GEO-CRADLE towards the regional implementation of GEO, GEOSS, and EUROGEOSS and the development of innovative Earth observation services.

Throughout the seven year timeframe of phase two of the EXCELSIOR H2020 Project, as well through the full fifteen year establishment of the ECoE, GEO and the ECoE partners will work together to ensure sustainability and common benefit.

Partnering for Success

Five partners have united to develop a business plan for the upgrade, with the common vision for the ECoE to become a world-class innovation, research and education centre.

The project is a team effort between the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT, acting as the coordinator), the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the National Observatory of Athens (NOA), the German Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research and the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works of the Republic of Cyprus, through the Department of Electronic Communications. The Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works of the Republic of Cyprus, through the Department of Electronic Communications, fully supports the development of the ECoE through its participation in the project consortium and considers this as a unique opportunity forCyprus to develop a presence in the space sector and boosting the local, regional and European economy.

National and International Support

The project is actively supported by more than 25 public sector organizations, including Ministries, Municipalities, national level organizations and networks (e.g. the Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber) and at an international level (e.g. GEO, NASA, ISPRS, NEREUS, ACTRIS, EARLINET, EARSeletc), and research and innovation institutions (e.g. CYRIC).

Get Involved: Opportunities for Contributions and Support

Interested contributors to the EXCELSIOR project can connect with the project team to explore a variety of ways to work together to establish the Centre of Excellence, including:

  1. in-kind contributions, such as the provision of equipment to support research studies;
  2. concession of building infrastructure;
  3. dissemination and communications activities to promote the ERC and ECoE;
  4. financial contributions such as scholarships or contributions to the annual budget;
  5. provision of seminars and training.

ECoE will also be able to offer interested organizations specific training seminars and activities on addressing key problems using cutting-edge technologies.

About the authors

For more information please contact:

Prof. Diofantos Hadjimitsis (CUT, CYPRUS)

email: d.hadjimitsis@cut.ac.cy
Tel. +357 25 002548 (direct line) or 25002549 (through secretary)
Fax. +357 25 002661


Dr Silas Michaelides (CUT, CYPRUS)

email: silas.michaelides@cut.ac.cy


Dr Georgia Kouta (CUT, CYPRUS)

email: georgia.kouta@cut.ac.cy




The EXCELSIOR has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 763643




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