ENGAGE 2021: A journey to the Digital and Green Age!
The Cyprus Institute had an inspiring presence at the “European Researchers’ Night 2021: the diGitAl and Green agE (ENGAGE)” event, organised virtually for the second time, on Friday, 24th of September 2021.
The event is held annually to promote the importance of research, technology, and innovation and is an initiative of the European Commission, funded through the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) of the EU’s Framework-Programme for Research and Innovation, and organized by the Research and Innovation Foundation (RIF). The European Researchers’ Night event takes place at the same time in 350 cities across Europe and beyond, on the last Friday of September, and is dedicated to bringing researchers closer to the public, highlighting the important role they play in society and promoting the profession of a researcher.
The European project ENGAGE (European Researchers' Night in Cyprus: the diGitAl and Green agE) aims at the mobilization and active participation of the actors of the R&D ecosystem of Cyprus in the organization of the great pan-European celebration of science, research and innovation in Cyprus. The main theme of this years’ event was the transition to the digital and green age, inspired by the European Green Deal and the European Digital Strategy. In the framework of the event, scientists, academics, researchers and entrepreneurs presented their actions and achievements to the public.
CyI participated with a total of ten different virtual activities, and the public had the opportunity to get acquainted with various research themes carried out at the Institute:
- A Digital Future for our Past – exploring the past, safeguarding the present, preserving for the future – led by STARC Associate Professor Sorin Hermon. Team Members: STARC Assoc. Prof. Nikolas Bakirtzis, STARC Assoc. Prof. Kirsi Lorentz, STARC Assistant Professor George Artopoulos, STARC Post-Doctoral Fellow Mia Trentin, STARC Associate Research Scientist Svetlana Gasanova, STARC PhD Student Valentina Vassallo, STARC PhD Student Athanasios Koutoupas, STARC Graduate Research Assistant Raphael Moreau, STARC Research Assistant in Digital Media / Libraries Andriana Nikolaidou, and STARC Associate Research Scientist Dante Abate
Abstract: The main objective of the activity was to expose visitors to the innovative ways the Digital Transformation is changing the ways we understand, communicate our Cultural Heritage, and preserve it for the future. Visitors gained hands-on experience of the Cypriot Cultural Heritage, through a variety of digital applications, ranging from admiring art masterpieces, digitally walking in old castles, ancient villages, virtually exploring landscapes and people from the past.
- Energy storage and production using renewable energy sources - led by the Head of PROTEAS Operations Facility Marios C. Georgiou. Team members: EEWRC Associate Research Scientist for Concentrated Solar Power Alaric Montenon, and EEWRC Associate Research Scientist Nestor Fylaktos
Abstract: Visitors had the opportunity to find out more about PROTEAS and Fresnel Facilities of The Cyprus Institute. These facilities are using renewable energy sources in order to produce electricity, store energy, desalinate sea water and provide solar cooling and heating for buildings.
- Unmanned aerial vehicles in Research Service - led by CARE-C Electrical/Electronic Engineer for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Panayiota Antoniou. Team Members: Director of CARE-C Jean Sciare, CARE-C Research and Development Scientist Christos Keleshis, CARE-C Electrical/Electronic Engineer Evagoras Nearchou, CARE-C Composite Aircraft Developer for the Unmanned Systems Research Laboratory (USRL) Andreas Leonidou, CARE-C Intern Constantinos Photiades, CARE-C Software Developer for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Christos Constantinides, CARE-C Junior Developer for UAS Michalis Strouthos, CARE-C Junior Software Developer for UAS Charalambos Neocleous, CARE-C Intern Fotis Manelides, CARE-C Research Technical Assistant for Aerial Imaging with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Andreani Papageorgiou, and CARE-C Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Systems Developer Constantinos Savvides
Abstract: During the last two years, USRL has focused on the development of a new, customized system for the navigation of UAVs, comprised of a ground control station software and a flight controller. This system was presented during the Researchers’ Night in operation, via a flight simulator. In addition, part of the USRL unmanned aerial vehicles’ fleet, scientific equipment that was installed in the UAVs for research purposes, and the latest USRL research activities, were demonstrated via audio-visual media.
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals - led by the Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fabio Maria Montagnino. Team members: Innovation Managing Coordinator Anixi Antonakoudi
Abstract: The Cyprus Institute considers innovation and entrepreneurship as key factors to achieve a broad impact of research in the society and the economy. The present activity presented the main focus areas and showcases activities related to the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Strategy adopted by The Cyprus Institute. The Institute is embracing the perspective of meaningful innovation, where scientific discoveries, new knowledge and advanced technologies are serving towards a balanced model of prosperity, which is leaving nobody behind and it is not harmful for the environment. Moreover, the Institute has adopted the UN Sustainable Development framework and is promoting a green economic model, where the creation of jobs and business activity is part of the ecologic transition. The present activity provided an opportunity to the general public to familiarize with the concept of sustainable development and relevant solutions leading to a more inclusive, fairer and greener society.
- Multiscale Modelling of materials using supercomputers - led by CaSToRC Scientific Coordinator Andreas Gavrielides. Team members: MSCA Postdoctoral Fellow & CaSToRC Research Associate Hilal Reda, CaSToRC PhD Student Nikolaos Patsalidis, and CaSToRC Scientific Coordinator (SimEA Project) Dr Kathy Christoforou
Abstract: This activity presented the basic pillars of science, which are theory and experiment. Theoretical studies are also facilitated by simulations or “computer experiments”. Simulations allow us to study phenomena in greater detail at a reduced cost. For example, for any material (gas, liquid or solid), we can compute important properties and its behaviour under varying conditions by simulating it in different time and size scales, ranging from the quantum- to the macro- world. Despite this, with an increase in the demand for more technologically advanced materials, more detailed simulations are needed which in turn require more computational power. Simulations can run for several months, but with the use of supercomputers, we can ‘split’ the computational problem in parallel processors, making calculations much faster. Finally, by simulating using various parameters which may be nearly impossible to do with real experiments (mainly due to exorbitant costs), we can optimize products (e.g. strength of new materials).
- A simple, open-source, raspberry-Pi based weather station unit – led by CARE-C Computational Support Specialist Marco Miani. Team members: CARE-C Technical Research Specialist in Atmospheric Sciences Pierre-Yves Quehe, and CARE-C Research Assistant in Atmospheric Sciences Danielle El Hajj
Abstract: The well-known Raspberry-Pi 4 board is used as a weather station: it is connected to 3 sensors so to measure basic weather parameters, such as: air temperature, atmospheric pressure and relative humidity. The objective of this project was to present the basics concepts orbiting around environmental measurement, the numerical code needed to process that data, as well as pre- and post-processing involved (filtering, quality check and visualization). The unit uses and runs on a python code developed by the authors, which handles basic tasks (remote connectivity and storing), data quality & sampling, as well as synchronization over the internet and, finally, its visualization, while real-world weather data are being sampled. In addition, its basic functioning can be supervised and controlled remotely allowing users, even untrained, to actively interact with the device and the data it generates.
- Archaeological sciences in the digital era – led by STARC Assistant Professor Efthymia Nikita. Team members: STARC Research Affilliate Anna Spyrou, STARC Post-Doctoral Fellow Artemios Oikonomou, STARC Assoc. Prof. Evi Margaritis, STARC Graduate Research Assistant Chryssa Vergidou, STARC Post-Doctoral Fellow Giuseppina Mutri, STARC PhD Student Mahmoud Mardini, and STARC Graduate Research Assistant Kyriaki Tsirtsi
Abstract: This activity showcased a range of digital applications in the archaeological sciences with emphasis on human osteoarchaeology, zooarchaeology, archaeobotany and archaeological materials. The public had the opportunity to see how different digital reference collections are created, and what their advantages and disadvantages are compared to traditional/physical collections. People saw how 3D scanners and printers work and learned how digital archaeological data facilitate much more advanced analytical approaches. Taking these analytical approaches as a starting point, attendees learned the basic principles of osteoarchaeology, zooarchaeology and archaeobotany, as well as the fascinating information that can be extracted from these sub-disciplines regarding life in the past.
- How does water flow? Hydrology in action – led by EEWRC Associate Professor, Hydrology & Water Management Adriana Bruggeman. Team members: EEWRC Associate Research Scientist in Water and Natural Resource Management Research and Economics Elias Giannakis, EEWRC Associate Research Scientist in Water and Natural Resource Management Research and Economics Christos Zoumides, EEWRC Post-Doctoral Fellow in Hydrology and Land Management Hakan Djuma, EEWRC Post-Doctoral Fellow in Hydrology Marinos Eliades, EEWRC PhD Student Melpomeni Siakou, and EEWRC PhD Student Ioannis Sofokleous
Abstract: When water flows from the mountains to the plains, it converges or diverges based on the shape of landforms. The distribution of water leads to watersheds which play an important role in our agro-ecosystems and determine the availability of water resources. In this activity, the dynamic behavior of watersheds was demonstrated with an interactive augmented reality sandbox, where participants were able to change landforms and explore in real time the importance of water relative to the study of hydrology and earth sciences. Furthermore, researchers demonstrated how irrigation scheduling and water conservation can be achieved with the use of soil moisture sensors. Audiovisual material also broadcasted smart recipes and procedures to adapt our water resources and cities to climate change.
- A Low Cost Aerosol-to-Liquid Bio-Sampler for Collecting Airborne Viruses – led by CARE-C Associate Professor George Biskos. Team members: CARE-C Research Assistant Emmanuel Albanes, CARE-C Research Assistant in Air Quality Instrumentation Marinos Costi, and CARE-C Associate Research Scientist Spyros Bezentakos.
Abstract: The project aims to develop a prototype of a low-cost-aerosol-to-liquid bio sampler that can collect the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The Bio Sampler uses a method for encapsulating the viral aerosol into droplets, collecting them through a cyclone, and then analysing the presence of the virus using a rapid detection system known as CovBELD, and provided by EMBIO, our partner in the project. The activity’s objective was to show in a simple way the operation of devices that work with the same theoretical basis, such as condensed particle counters.
- What remains of us: Past people in the Digital and Green Age – led by STARC Assoc. Prof. Kirsi O. Lorentz. Team members: STARC PhD Student Yuko Miyauchi, STARC PhD Student Sila Kayalp, STARC PhD Student Bianca Casa, STARC Post-Doctoral Fellow Simone Lemmers, and STARC PhD Student Natalie Milanese Branca
Abstract: Visitors had the chance to uncover what remains of our ancestors and piece together their lives using state-of-the-art investigative techniques and move beyond the excavation and laboratory settings into the digital world. Visitors could explore the ways in which bioarchaeological research is facilitated by the use of digital innovations such as high-magnification digital microscopes, laser scanning, microCT scanners, and chemical and structural imaging using synchrotron radiation (SR). Such technologies enable us to understand past people in unprecedented detail (nanometers). They had also the opportunity to explore how we reconstruct past lives, through specific case studies: individuals using their teeth for work (high-magnification digital microscopy, microCT scanning, 3D printing; activity induced dental modification); those who gathered resources from the sea (laser scanning; synchrotron radiation computed tomography; External Auditory Exostoses); people who were exposed to heavy metals (XRF, SR-XRF, XAFS; biogenic uptake of heavy metals). Past heavy metal pollution prompts us to aspire to a Green future!
More info about the event is available here.