The research cluster of Resilient Society, with an impact on the public sector and the industry, focuses on research and services tailored to ensure society’s wellbeing, make economy sectors resilient, efficiently exploit the available resources, and protect civilians and businesses from natural threats and illegal actions in respect to smuggling/refugees trafficking in the surrounding sea. The research cluster includes a portfolio of several research fields, but the emphasis is on Disaster Risk Reduction and Access to Energy. The research staff appointed and working in this department/cluster are presented below in Figure 13. The Resilient Society research cluster consists of the following sectors:
The Resilient Society research cluster is the most populated cluster of the Centre, consisting of a total of 18 researchers (10 Postdoctoral and 8 PhD students) and is coordinated by Dr. Haris Kontoes from NOA, one of the EXCELSIOR project’s advance partners.
In situations of disasters, both environmental and/or anthropogenic, satellite EO data can be used to access and monitor target areas at the right time. The ERATOSTHENES CoE will use EO for Disaster Risk Reduction by increasing coordination of EO to forecast and prepare for disasters, mitigate damage and better manage and recover from disasters, through enhanced preparedness plans, timely activation, and dynamically updated situational awareness throughout the emergency management cycle for early action. Cutting-edge research in this domain can provide improved thematic accuracy, reliability and robustness of disaster risk reduction products and services with the incorporation of uncertainty, for developing resilient cities, shield critical infrastructures, enable business operation continuity after impacted by major disasters. This cluster will focus on natural and anthropogenic disasters, such as fires, floods, earthquakes, and health issues, such as epidemics, on the following research topics:
Based on the GAP analysis of the Disaster Risk Reduction cluster, the aforementioned training and future capacity buildings by NOA and other experts, are expected to fulfil the goal of research excellence in the topic of Disaster Risk Reduction, and more specifically in the development of near-real time disaster monitoring platforms; early warning systems; risk assessment frameworks of natural and built environment; disaster prediction models for geo-hazards, fires, floods and epidemics; Integration of risk monitoring frameworks with prediction models; structural condition assessment and health monitoring of critical infrastructure ; enhanced the burned area processing using RStudio, /Jupiter (python); and development of Digital Twins based on /earth observation data.
Cultural Heritage (CH) (both tangible and intangible) is a strategic resource for Europe and the International society with high cultural, social, environmental and economic value. To maximise the benefits of the application of Earth observation and digital technologies to CH, important challenges need to be addressed through research in order to develop approaches which meet the needs of all existing and potential user/stakeholder groups and thereby increase the social and economic value of CH. This will reinforce and expand partnerships and networks, exploiting the unique position of Cyprus in the region and connecting European countries with East and South continents. The activities and research topics of the Cultural Heritage sector are the following:
The initial main activities of ERATOSTHENES CoE CH team focused on risk assessment of CH assets against natural and anthropogenic hazards, CH digitization and applicability of remote sensing technologies for identifying unexcavated and buried archaeological features. The overall capacity building achieved by the workshops and training, carried out by the advance partners, have already provided and continue to provide to the Cultural Heritage (CH) sector team members valuable tools towards the systematic monitoring of CH against natural and anthropogenic hazards while forthcoming workshops will lead towards the appropriate mitigation measures to be implemented for their protection, management and safeguarding for future generations. A direction that CH team aims for future capacity building and activities is the geophysical equipment acquisition and conducting geophysical prospection surveys. The capacity building in conducting geophysical prospections surveys (e.g., Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), magnetometer, electrical resistivity tomography) and pre/post processing of the datasets with relevant software will be advantageous for the CH sector team to initiate collaborations with further revenue for ERATOSTHENES CoE by conducting geophysical prospection surveys for various stakeholders.
The goal is to establish a regional hub for digital and EO research in CH on the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East as a bridge of collaboration between the region and the EU, whilst continuing to actively contribute and act as a focal point at European level.
The ERATOSTHENES CoE will establish a satellite-based maritime research and services and engage in capacity-building and knowledge transfer with the strategic partners, which will include a better understanding of marine and maritime processes in the eastern Mediterranean and contribute to environmental, climate and socio-economic research and studies. The ERATOSTHENES CoE will support maritime traffic, transport and exploitation regulations at national and European/Global scale. Based on a dedicated ERATOSTHENES CoE owned direct data acquisition antenna/facility, which will be used for direct data downlink and obtaining near real-time information, Cyprus will rely much less upon third party maritime surveillance and services for local satellite data. The marine safety and security sector will capitalise on a secured supply of EO data and rapid development of services and customer needs in this domain and specifically in that geographic area. The main activities of the Marine Safety & Security sector are presented below:
Solar energy is the most abundant renewable resource, and, therefore much of the focus on sustainable energy is targeting the optimum solar energy use. Southern Europe, including Cyprus, presents an important solar energy potential and its exploitation is critical for regional sustainable development through efficient energy planning and a gradual independence from fossil fuels. The main question in solar radiation and energy research is the better understanding and the improvement of measurement and forecast accuracy of solar radiation related parameters and products. Energy is a top priority in the Smart Specialization Strategy for Cyprus, so solar energy management is crucial in the energy exchange marketplace, where on-the-spot energy prices are defined by supply and demand equilibriums; hence, energy ”liquidity” is vital.
Furthermore, Cyprus experiences high levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, with UV index values reaching up to 10 (extreme high) during the summer months. While UV radiation is essential for vitamin D synthesis, overexposure can lead to harmful health effects such as erythema, eye damage, and an increased risk of skin cancer. However, despite the high levels of UV radiation, a significant portion of the Cypriot population, particularly those with lower educational backgrounds, do not adhere to appropriate protective measures when exposed to the sun. Additionally, recent studies found that a big part of the Cypriot population has inadequate levels of 25(OH)D , indicating a need for a better strategy to promote optimal sun exposure behaviours and benefit the public health system of Cyprus.
To address these issues, the Eratosthenes Centre of Excellence, in collaboration with advanced partners from the National Observatory of Athens (NOA) and Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos, World Radiation Center (PMOD/WRC), established the Energy Sector and the ERATOSTHENES Solar Radiation and Energy Laboratory (ESEL) as part of the Excelsior EU project. This laboratory aims to contribute to the above needs and conduct research in this field.
The activities of ESEL are diverse, encompassing both fundamental research and applications related to solar radiation levels, radiative transfer modeling, and relevant atmospheric effects. The main scientific directions focus on several key areas:
The Energy sector closely collaborates with the Atmosphere group in many of its activities, including the Atmosphere Living Lab.