The Energy, Environment & Water Research Center (EEWRC) was founded in 2007 in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a very ambitious program aiming to develop the “Energy-Environment-Water” nexus in the context of the Eastern Mediterranean Middle East (EMME) region. The initial scoping report was commissioned, articulated, and developed by MIT. Until the creation of CyI’s new Research Centre CARE-C
in 2018 (due to the award to the Atmospheric Sciences division of EEWRC of the H2020 EMME-CARE
Teaming project), the EEWRC was the largest Research Center of CyI. In view of the departure of the Atmospheric Sciences division, through the creation of CARE-C, and the current local, regional, and global context of multiple challenges, especially those emerging from the climate crisis, EEWRC has adapted its core research Agenda around the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus.
EEWRC is recognized as a leading scientific and technological entity in Cyprus and strives to become one in the EU and the EMME region in its field of competence, in harmony with the overarching vision of CyI. That is realized through four main channels: (1) its world-class research programs and the associated wide-ranging collaborations network, (2) the technologies it develops and adopts, (3) its education and training activities and (4) the Center’s innovation potential.
The Centre’s strategic objectives, which are nested within the overarching vision and mission of CyI (see previous section) are summarized below:
- Consolidate its position as a leading regional Center for renewable energy technologies, energy systems, water management, agro-eco systems and sustainable cities in all aspects: science, technology, policy, training, and innovation, and bind these activities together through the development or adaption of an appropriate WEFE Nexus framework.
- Assume a leading role in the EMME region to promote and sustain the ‘Green transition’ through energy, environment, water and climate policy and diplomacy with a particular focus on Hydrodiplomacy.
- Deliver state-of-the-art educational and training programs and curricula for preparing tomorrow’s leaders, driving the green transition in the fields of expertise of EEWRC.
- Foster innovation in the fields of competency of the Center, which are critical for the economy of Cyprus the Island and the region and essential for the green transition. This activity is particularly attuned to the priorities of the Cyprus Government and the European Union.
The Centre comprises two research departments: i) The Energy Department and ii) the Water Department.
The Energy Department has developed a unique identity and has made significant inroads in becoming the reference energy research organization in Cyprus and the wider EMME region, and it is recognized as a center of European significance. To enhance this recognition, it (1) develops and maintains large strategic research infrastructures that serve the needs of the research communities of Cyprus and the region, such as those in the PROTEAS facility, (2) establishes strategic partnerships at the local, regional, and international levels, (3) consults national and regional stakeholders on matters of energy and climate policy, and (3) studies the scientific, economic, and societal impacts stemming from the green transition of Cyprus and the wider region. Its activities are recognized in the fields of new renewable energy technologies, energy policy and technoeconomics, and energy in the built environment. The Energy Department has been a central pillar of the Centre and Institute’s growth, with an especially noteworthy growth trajectory after 2014 where it coordinated and took part in several large European and national projects and has considerably grown the team and portfolio of activities.
It is pursuing research in three groups with distinct identities but with strong interlinkages:
- The Advanced Renewable Energy Systems (ARES) Group that works on energy production from Renewable Energy Sources (RES, primarily solar) and associated issues of energy storage and its efficient and smart management with emphasis on desalination.
- The Energy Planning and Analysis (EPA) Group that studies energy planning, associated technoeconomic studies and policy issues with a primary focus on decarbonization.
- The Sustainable Built Environment (SBE) Group that works to enable the urban transition towards sustainable cities and communities with an emphasis on promoting human health and well-being and sustainable use of energy.
The Water Department works on novel monitoring techniques and numerical models of hydrologic and ecosystems’ processes; and the development and environmental and economic assessment of sustainable water and land management innovations for climate change adaptation and combatting desertification, considering the Water-Energy-Food Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus. In that respect, it has acquired competencies in water transdisciplinary research cooperating with different stakeholders in Cyprus and the Mediterranean Region. The Water Department is an emerging regional scientific leader in transdisciplinary natural resource management research for the semi-arid areas of the Mediterranean and Middle East region; this expertise constitutes a particular asset for CyI in response to regional climate and socioeconomic challenges.
The Department has established the Cyprus hydro-ecological observatories for monitoring and analyzing the effect of a changing and variable climate on hydrologic and ecosystems processes in marginal, semi-arid Mediterranean agro-ecosystems. The Department cooperates with various departments of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment in Cyprus on resource management and policy issues and serves as an independent reviewer for validating the adequacy and accuracy of the financial calculations of the measures of the Rural Development Program. It cooperates with colleagues from CARE-C and other research organizations, such as the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, to apply multi-model frameworks and environmentally extended economic models to assess the economic and human health impacts of environmental policies and the green transition.