The Cyprus Institute (CyI) is a novel research and educational institution with a scientific and technological orientation offering limited places in three doctoral programmes of study with English as the language of instruction. International in its composition and its outlook is propelled by a vision, which is centered around the benevolent use of science and technology to advance peace and prosperity in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean basin. In pursuing this vision, a key component of its strategy entails the development of partnerships with local, regional and international institutions of research and higher learning. It already has an extensive network of international partnerships and exchanges with these institutions and many more with its research partners.
The choice of partners is driven by several considerations, primarily the commonality of vision, their international standing, the alignment of research and educational thrusts and the facilitation of the achievement of the vision and the strategic goals of the Institute. Established partnerships with internationally leading centers of excellence (including the Max Planck Society, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The University of Illinois (U-C), FJZ Julich, The Centre de Recherche et Restauration des Musses of France) help maintain the level of scientific excellence and educational rigor. Regional partnerships (e.g. with The University of Athens, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and Tel Aviv University) promote the regional dimension of CyI. The Erasmus network provides an instrument of paramount importance for embedding The Cyprus Institute within the European context and in particular the European Higher Educational Area.
Exchanges with Institutions in all regions of the world are desirable, as indicated above; if they fit the criteria outlined above and are already occurring in an increasing pace. Exchanges with Canada and the US (including an EU-US Atlantis programme) and the hosting of Fulbright scholars are vibrant. Principal and central, as anticipated are the exchanges with European, especially EU institutions; and finally exchanges with institutions based in countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region are of critical importance, as they concern the regional mission of the Institute.
In terms of the Cyprus Institute’s most important objectives regarding mobility activities, given that it pursues and supports educational activities only at the Doctoral level, those concern advancing networking with peer Institutions pursuing similar goals in relevant our portfolio and those of relevance to our geographical region of interest (EU and MENA region). In terms of target groups those are: 1) students at the end of their first or second educational cycle who can be hosted as interns at CyI, and who may even want to consider pursuing a Doctoral degree with the Cyprus Institute; 2) students pursuing Doctoral education (third cycle) at CyI and in peer institutions who could benefit from the on-going research at the partnering Institutions, 3) postdoctoral young scientists who could be engaged in, or attend short courses at CyI and 4) mature scholars who want partner or explore partnerships with CyI and in the process offer courses, series of Doctoral seminars or other educational services.
The Cyprus Institute is very much in favour and eager to develop dual / multiple / joint degrees, as it fits both its character and mission. However, it will develop those in a particularly careful and deliberate manner, so as to ensure the considerable benefits of such arrangements, by cultivating the necessary procedures for the efficient implementation and resource allocation while minimizing the risks that such arrangements entail. Currently, the Cyprus Institute has an arrangement for a dual degree with the University of Illinois at Urbana –Champaign, in computational sciences (COS program).
Organisation and implementation of international (EU and non-EU) cooperation projects in teaching and training
Since its establishment, CyI has organized and hosted a number of training workshops and short teaching courses in conjunction with academics from collaborating institutions in Europe, the US and the Mediterranean region. The majority of these activities have been provisioned and funded through research and academic programs that the Institute has secured. The themes of these courses and workshops typically resonate with our research activities, but they also have an appeal to the academic and scientific community of Cyprus and the region at large. Aiming to offer a societal service, it has always been the policy of the Institute to allow for limited external participation to these courses for students and professionals of other local institutions provided there were adequate resources and availability. In particular, courses and workshops in high performance computing, digital cultural heritage and archaeology, as well as climate change have been and are organized on a regular basis. Examples like the LINKsceem courses (www.linksceem.eu), that are advertised on the web, along with instructions for enrolment, and the detailed tuition schedule, have been proved to be very popular with students and academics from the Middle East region. Other examples include courses organized jointly with faculty from MIT and UIUC, focused on environmental monitoring and antiquity analysis, in which instructors from CyI and the collaborating institutions deliver the courses and practical exercises. Once again the courses are advertised on the Institute’s website well in advance with clear instructions on application forms and deadlines. A register of attendance and a certificate of fulfilment are also provided by the CyI upon the completion of the course. Upcoming and past examples of organized teaching and training course scan be found in our website (www.cyi.ac.cy) under the events section.
Programme on Modernization
The CyI is among the few thematically oriented research- educational organizations in Europe. The Institute aspires to become a regional and international center of excellence by advancing research on specific strategic priorities of local interest and global significance, such as climate change, renewable energy, high performance computing and digital cultural heritage. Its fundamental units are not traditional departments, but cross-disciplinary Research Centres addressing important problems of the economy. This organizational structure and thematic orientation aligns the mission of the Institute almost perfectly with the Modernisation Agenda. In particular:
1. Increasing attainment levels to provide the graduates and researchers Europe needs: CyI is committed to training researchers and fostering high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship in its strategic target to transform the local economy into a knowledge economy. CyI engages mostly in projects obtained through competitive funding. Joining ERASMUS will likely strengthen its collaborative links in order to create a platform for hiring and educating researchers and steering them towards a sustainable career path.
2. Improving the quality and relevance of higher education: The programmes offered by CyI, as its research portfolio, are strategically chosen, not only to provide the industry with the much needed specialized skilled scientists, but are also aimed at increasing the employability of our graduates in a job market that is dominated by themes like energy, environment, high performance computing etc.
3. Strengthening quality through mobility and cross-border co-operation: The exchange of researchers, students and instructors prevents course duplication, especially in cases of high specialization, complementing courses offered by other reputable institutions. It is cost effective for the organizations involved, while the students have the advantage of far wider choice in both breadth and specialization. Such cross border cooperation fosters future peer relations in a wider educational and market areas.
4. Linking higher education, research and business for excellence and regional development: CyI’s close links and strategic partnerships with local and international industry, as indeed its in-house innovations and technology transfer office are designed to ensure that the knowledge transfer triangle works. ERASMUS will further enhance this goal by rendering it more international and more effective in a broader thematic and geographical area.
5. Improving governance and funding: CyI’s operations, and in particular research and education activities are supported by public investment, and supplemented by competitive funding, and private endowments. We anticipate that CyI’s model, novel to this region of Europe, will provide a role model in engaging the industrial sector and campaigning for an increase in governmental spending on research and education.