EXCELSIOR, organized an interactive workshop with the goal to promote collaborations in the sectors of Research, Education and Entrepreneurship in the context of the establishment of the new Centre of Excellence ERATOSTHENES. The workshop had a tripartite character: Firstly, the main objectives of the project were presented by Research Scientists of the ERATOSTHENES Research Centre of the Cyprus University of Technology (Prof Diofantos G. Hadjimitsis, Dr Kyriacos Themistocleous, Dr Chris Danezis, Dr Rodanthi- Elisavet Mamouri, Dr Christiana Papoutsa, Dr Georgia Kouta) who set the outline for the new Centre as well and its three pillars.

Secondly, a panel discussion session with the Space Technology experts from NASA, ESA, Copernicus, GEO, NOA, and others followed, which was moderated by Dr Themistocleous and which gave the opportunity to the participants to present their queries to the experts. Experts answered questions on the benefits of EO for Cyprus and how the ECoE would create opportunities for better monitoring of the environment in the region.  The final element of the workshop included an interactive online questionnaire on key questions regarding the research areas of the new Centre which called the participants to respond in real time. The workshop’s interactive nature aimed in unfolding and extending a discussion on the sectors which concerned the establishment of the new Centre of Excellence ERATOSTHENES.

The workshop was successful in informing the international Stakeholders of the RSCy2018 conference from the private, public, research, entrepreneurial and academic sectors regarding the opportunities and the benefits from the establishment of the EXCELSIOR project for Cyprus and the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean. More than 120 Stakeholders were given the opportunity to promote further collaborations and common actions with the Centre of Excellence.

Dr. K. Themistocleous, visited the UNESCO premises in France. The aim of ERATOSTHENES RC is to capitalize the experience of the 3 running H2020 projects in cultural heritage ATHENA, CLIMA and PROTHEGO for EXCELSIOR. During the PROTHEGO meeting in France on 23 March 2018, Dr. Themistocleous discussed future collaboration with other project consortiums. Dr. Themistocleous presented the case study of protecting the Choirokoita world heritage site in Cyprus from geohazards. Dr. Themistocleous had productive meetings with Giovanni Boccardi, UNESCO, Chief Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit – Culture Sector in Paris. Dr. K. Themistocleous met with Maud Moullec PWC in Paris (Figure 33) and regarding the ERATOSTHENES RC activities related to the Copernicus cultural heritage and the potential of a further collaboration, especially through the proposed ECoE.

ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO) has initiated its Business Incubation Centres (BICs) to work with and inspire entrepreneurs to turn space-connected business ideas into commercial start-ups companies. At the centres, the entrepreneurs are supported with technical expertise and business-development support. The Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO) coordinates ESA’s seven Business Incubation Centres (BICs) in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, UK and Belgium. The BICs assists entrepreneurs and young companies to use space technologies and knowhow in innovative new products and services in non-space fields and also provide advice and support with business development. By the end of 2017, 18 ESA BICs in 15 European countries supported 140 start-ups. Over 500 new start-ups have been fostered creating thousands of new jobs and boosted regional economies while several more ESA BICs are under preparation.

The ESA BIC in Bavaria, Germany, was founded in 2009 and is managed by Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO). Together with its partners, the centre offers business start-up support and technical expertise in many space related areas, including satellite navigation, data systems, robotics and software systems. The ESA BIC Bavaria has business incubation offices in four locations in the region: the Oberpfaffenhofen headquarters and the branch offices in Nürnberg, Berchtesgadener Land and Ottobrunn.  The Excelsior team visited the headquarters in Oberpfaffenhofen on March 22, 2018 and met with Thorsten Rudolph, Stefanie Hermann and Daniela Dobreva-Nielsen (Figure 15). Mr Rudolph, who is the CEO of the Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen, presented the activities of the ESA BIC. He agreed to discuss the opportunities through Excelsior to proceed with an ESA BIC in the Eastern Med region in the near future through ERC in order to foster and boost the earth observation sector and local and regional economy. The scientific expertise and development network of ESA BIC Bavaria’s partners will complement the local start-ups’ technical development and promote both the commercialisation and the usage of aerospace technologies in other growth areas.

19-23 March 2018 –EXCELSIOR at 2018 Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) International Conference in University of Tübingen, Germany

Eratosthenes Research Centre presented ‘Athena Twinning ‘ (H2020)and ‘CLIMA _JPI’ (funded by Cyprus  Research Promotion Foundation) as part of the Eratosthenes Cultural Heritage activities at CAA2018. Gunter Schreier from DLR, partner in the EXCELSIOR project, as an invited speaker on the 20th of March 2018 presented ATHENA, and EXCELSIOR  Widespread  H2020  projects.

Mr. Komodromos attended the meeting ESA with EU-Non Full members of ESA  at Paris in France at ESA Headquarters. 15 March 2018. Mr Komodromos highlighted the last two years activities in space for Cyprus and he presented also the Excelsior project. It was agreed also the Department of Electronic Communications to assist in the organisation of the Cyprus Space info session in September 2018. Mr. Komodromos had a meeting with  EURISYS and promoted EXCELSIOR as the Cyprus success story in Earth observation.

ΕXCELSIOR AT A-LIFE Meeting in Austria

The 1st A-LIFE workshop took place at the University of Vienna between 5 and 6 March 2018 where Dr. R.E. Mamouri (CUT) and Dr. A. Ansmann (TROPOS) had the opportunity to meet and discuss with the scientific committee.   A‐LIFE (PI: Bernadett Weinzierl, University of Vienna, Austria) involves partners from several European countries and the U.S. including the University of Vienna (UNIVIE, Austria), the German Aerospace Center (DLR, Germany), Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS, Germany), National Observatory of Athens (NOA, Greece), Cyprus University of Technology (Cyprus) and 13 more research institutions.

The aim of the A-LIFE project is to investigate the properties of absorbing aerosols (e.g., mineral dust – black carbon mixtures) during their atmospheric lifetime to reduce large uncertainties in estimates of radiative forcing.

To achieve the aims of A-LIFE, an innovative aircraft field experiment was conducted in the Eastern Mediterranean between 3 and 30 April 2017 (aircraft base: Cyprus), and the field data are combined with laboratory and modelling studies. CUT and TROPOS followed the A-LIFE activities performing Atmospheric Remote Sensing Observations in Limassol (Cyprus Cloud Aerosol and pRecipitation Experiment (CyCARE) and CUT-TEPAK Remote sensing station), providing to the A-LIFE group the necessary information for the atmospheric conditions during the flights. During the workshop all participants had the opportunity to present first results of the different observations during A-LIFE campaign. R.E. Mamouri and A. Ansmann presented results from the CyCARE and CUT activities in Limassol during April 2017.

Cyta’s Innovation and Idea Development Center hosted during the 23rd to 25th of February, 2018, the first Cyta Smartcity Crowdhackathon.

Participants in the Hackathon included young entrepreneurs, developers, analysts and students which were called to develop pilot services and applications for solving problems that the Local Authorities face in order to support local and national development through new technologies. The Hackathon for the Development of Innovative Applications and Services invited participants to give solutions for smart cities through pilot applications on the Internet or/and through smart devices. EXCELSIOR project supports the Innovation and Idea Development Center of Cyta in the first Cyta Smartcity Crowdhackathon– A three day Hackathon for Smart Cities! 

The presentation was attended by significant stakeholders from the sector of economy, Municipalities and the academic community, as well as large organizations like Cyta, KPMG, Cyprus Research and Innovation Center (CyRIC), the innovation company Crowdpolicy, IDEA and all the participants of the Hackathon challenge. Members of the EXCELSIOR team networked with participants and informed interested stakeholders for the activities and aims of the project and arranged further meetings for collaborations!


EXCELSIOR at the signing ceremony of the agreement between the Chinese Group “Tatwah” and the Malaysian Group “ASN“ in Malaysia

23-25 February 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Department of Electronic Communications of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works, as the representative of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus, attended the signing ceremony of the agreement between the Chinese Group “Tatwah” and the Malaysian Group “ASN” on 22-26 January 2018 for the use of Chinese satellites (Tatwah Group) using geostationary satellite positions belonging to Cyprus for provision of satellite services in Malaysia and the region through Malaysian Provider (ASN Group). The ceremony took place in Kuala Lumpur in the presence of representatives of the signatory countries, Malaysia, China and Cyprus. With this Agreement, Cyprus emerges as a significant actor in space technologies, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, it substantially benefits financially.

In the context of this ceremony, Mr. George Komodromos, Director of the Electronic Communications Department, on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus, analyzed the island’s strategic position and the major importance for the creation of ground stations (node) on the island, in relation to satellite communications and Earth Observation.

The Department of Electronic Communications of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works is a partner in the EXCELSIOR program (ERATOSTHENES: Excellence Research Centre for Earth SurveiLlance and Space-Based MonItoring Of the EnviRonment) and the above-mentioned contacts of Mr. Komodromos, as well as this strategic agreement, contribute to the creation of mutually beneficial synergies for the program. EXCELSIOR project, which is coordinated by the Cyprus University of Technology, envisions the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for conducting basic and applied research and innovation in the areas of the integrated use of remote sensing and space-based techniques for monitoring the environment, through the TEAMING Horizon 2020 programme of the EU.

1st conference of the Remote Sensing and Space Applications, Committee of the Geological Society of Greece at  Αthens Harokopeion University


Mr Marios Tzouvaras presented the “EXCELSIOR Horizon 2020 Teaming project as a tool for the Eratosthenes Research Centre to become a Centre of Excellence in Cyprus and Eastern Mediterranean region” during the first conference of the Remote Sensing and Space Applications,. The conference was organized by the Committee of the Geological Society of Greece

Expert Advice from External Advisory Members – Dr VINCENT AMBROSIA –  NASA

Vincent Ambrosia, Associate Program Manager in the NASA Applied Science Program

Interview by Dr Georgia Kouta, Post-Doctoral Researcher, ERC



How you perceive the impact of the establishment of an Earth Observation Centre of Excellence in a regional perspective, taking into account the scientific importance of another research Centre on EO with ground stations.

From the regional perspective, I believe that the ECoE is strategically situated geographically and scientifically at the crossroads of a dynamic frontier. In geographic terms, the Centre is in a strategic location that links Europe, North Africa, the Levant and the Middle East, providing a centralized location for sharing Earth Observation capabilities to support common biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere research on interactions and inter-dependencies.

Further, Cyprus (CUT) is the closest EU nation to those regions and provide a gateway of easy access between the economic strength of the EU and the burgeoning developments in the surrounding regional communities.

Scientifically, the ECoE would also be a gateway for those peripheral regional entities to access the scientific foundations and knowledge of the ECoE collaborations team. It will assist in advancing their understanding, adaptation and use of Earth observations, models, and applications to foster greater advancement in their own ecosystems management practices, and allowing grater economic development regionally.

CUT and the proposed ECoE, therefore can play a role that no other country in the EU can naturally claim.

There is no other location in the southern European region that can provide the satellite data reception / coverage area that Cyprus can, especially with coverage from the downlink station able to reach Israel, Lebanon, Syria, the Levant, northeast Africa, as well as Turkey and southern EU regions. The establishment of a receiving station in Cyprus would allow the ECoE to be a regional broker and collection / archiving entity for the Eastern Mediterranean areas, a significant advantage to the proposed establishment of the ECoE in Cyprus.

Read more on our External Experts Views here.



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