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Education and Training

This is the main pillar concentrating on all education and training activities necessary for building and maintaining scientific excellence of the human resource capacity of the KIOS CoE. This pillar involves the following key activities: the new Master of Science (MSc) programme on Intelligent Critical Infrastructure Systems; the Joint PhDs which include Imperial’s Partner Research Institution (PRI) programme and the Split-PhD programme; personnel mobility between UCY and Imperial as well as targeted secondments in the Centre’s collaborators; the personnel learning, training and development programme; and the continuous development of new online courses.

MSc in Intelligent CIS

The main objective of the MSc in Intelligent Critical Infrastructure Systems (CIS) program is to teach highly innovative methods, tools, and technologies for the monitoring, control, management, and security of CIS for a competent workforce that will be recruited by local and regional authorities and international companies seeking to make CIS more reliable, safe, resilient, efficient, and sustainable. In addition, the program is designed to transfer knowledge on the research and innovation challenges faced by modern CIS and cultivate student interest in pursuing a career path in research and innovation. Doing so, it is expected to contribute to the transformation of the research and innovation culture of Cyprus and the Mediterranean-Middle East region. The program is open to students from different technical backgrounds, spanning the different areas of science and engineering. The language of instruction is English.

The program is intended to:

Provide the theoretical basis for the monitoring, control, management, and security of intelligent critical infrastructure systems, with associated modelling, simulation, and design methods and algorithms.

Produce graduates equipped to pursue careers that involve design, modelling, analysis, control and optimization, as well as business aspects of critical infrastructure systems.

Offer students from a broad engineering and science background the opportunity to acquire ICT knowledge of intelligent critical infrastructure systems.

Provide a solid background that will enable graduates to further continue their studies towards a PhD degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering on the topic of Intelligent CIS.

The program will result in students developing an understanding of the knowledge and a critical awareness of Intelligent CIS. Students will graduate with relevant and up-to-date knowledge that will allow them to find employment in the CIS industry or continue their studies at the PhD level.

When graduating from the program, students will have acquired the skills to:

  • Deal with particular CIS challenges, understand the specific technical and management features, and the specific risks and security issues related to the considered CIS.
  • Apply innovative ICT techniques to address monitoring, control, management, and security of CIS at the technical, managerial, and policy level.
  • Conduct both theoretical and applied research contributing to the transformation of the research and innovation culture of Cyprus.

Key Aspects

Importance of the topic

One point of significant strength of the program concerns the blending of topics of great engineering and societal importance for the regional growth of students and researchers in the area of CIS. One of the main goals is in fact to promote awareness of the environmental problem, sustainability and energy-efficiency issues, security and safety aspects. Due to the anticipated attraction of a diverse pool of students enrolling from the region, the human resource capacity of Cyprus will be significantly expanded allowing a new generation of human resources skilled in CIS monitoring, control, and security that will have a multiplicative effect on the economic growth of Cyprus.

Novelty and Uniqueness

The existing programs in CIS (most of these found in the USA) cover topics closer to the computer science or civil engineering areas or to the social sciences. Instead, the proposed program considers an integrated engineering approach taking into account also the control and management aspect of critical infrastructures using modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). This represents a point of novelty and uniqueness for the program, especially in the European arena.

Multidisciplinarity

The program is designed to be multidisciplinary in nature, including concepts from Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics and Management Science, with an integrated vision of all the aspects of the monitoring, control, management, and security problems from a CIS’ perspective. The exposure to this holistic view of CIS allows students to acquire a wide background and perspective. As a result, they are able to deal with different issues associated with critical infrastructure solutions/services and to cooperate with the different specialists of the specific fields, both during the design phases of CIS as well as the monitoring, control, management, and security activities (namely the operational phase of CISs).

Strong relevance to UCY’s research activities

Monitoring, control, management, and security of intelligent CIS is a significant area of research and investment in the University of Cyprus, as evidenced by various activities at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the KIOS Research and Innovation Center of Excellence, the largest currently research center at UCY whose purpose is to instigate interdisciplinary interaction and promote collaboration between industry, academia, and research organizations in the area of Information and Communication Technologies, specializing in Monitoring, Control, Management, and Security of CIS. Hence, the MSc program offers prospective students access to a significant body of knowledge and expertise in research and innovation activities related to their studies.

Synergetic collaboration between UCY and Imperial College

The program is a collaboration between the University of Cyprus and Imperial College London, through a long-term collaboration between the two institutions under the EU’s strategic programme “Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation – Teaming”. Courses are designed and delivered by world-class expert academic faculty from both institutions, with significant international research reputation on the topic of Intelligent CIS. UCY is an approved Partnering Research Institution of Imperial, enabling Imperial faculty members to teach specific MSc courses at UCY and jointly supervise MSc projects.

Strong relevance to the industry

The application module of the program is focused on real problems, many provided by industrial partners collaborating with the academic faculty and entities involved in the delivery of the program. More specifically, it is important to highlight the close relationship between the designed program and the industry or the application fields, since many courses are directly related to the applications or refer to specific use cases to explain the techniques and how to implement them in the real infrastructures, thus enhancing the impact of the MSc program. Moreover, the MSc Thesis provides the opportunity to perform applied research in collaboration with industrial partners.

Joint PhDs

The programme will be available via 3 mechanisms: (1) Joint PhD programme, which refers to PhD projects that are co-supervised by faculty at the KIOS CoE together with a faculty member from Imperial, (2) Imperial Partner Research Institution (PRI) programme, which allows Imperial students to spend the majority of their time with an approved partner (hence, at KIOS CoE) and still receive their degree from Imperial (UCY has already become an approved Imperial PRI), (3) Split-PhD Programme, which involve co-supervised projects where the student spends half of his/her time at UCY and the other half at Imperial.

The topics of the PhD thesis will relate to the monitoring, control, and security of CIS and will include basic research as well as more applied research topics in collaboration with an industrial partner. Furthermore, all students will be encouraged to spend at least a 3-month period with an industrial partner to gain practical experience. The degree will be research-based and will typically require 3 years after an MSc degree. The offered MSc programme in Intelligent CIS will serve as one possible source for candidate PhD students; however, students with other backgrounds will also be considered.

Mobility

The KIOS CoE encourages mobility activities for all its personnel with at least one visit to the partner institution. Furthermore, all KIOS CoE researchers will have secondments to public/private sector organisations and at KIOS Innovation Hub partners. Secondments are an important opportunity for the researchers to receive the training and practical experience they would otherwise not have received, in an industrial setting, thus enhancing their skills by working in a multicultural and multidisciplinary environment while solving real-life problems. Imperial and UCY have already established an agreement for student, faculty, and administrator mobility through the ERASMUS programme.

Personnel Training

There are several activities for the training of KIOS CoE researchers and administrators as well as partner organisation personnel, such as:

  • Summer Training Schools: One-week intensive courses that will be organised once per year giving emphasis on a current technical area such as cognitive systems, cyber-physical systems, monitoring and big-data analytics, control and fault-tolerance, cyber-security and computational intelligence. The programme may also include collaborating projects on the KIOS CIS Testbeds, field trips to KIOS Innovation Hub partners, and it will be linked with the annual KIOS CoE workshop, where researchers will present their research work to an industry panel. Dedicated sessions will be organised in collaboration with the KIOS CoE Entrepreneurship Network, as well as for other transferrable skills. The training schools will be open to all KIOS CoE researchers as well as researchers from other organisations, while world renowned experts will be invited to present on various topics.
  • Academic Courses: Refers to all academic courses offered by Imperial and UCY, which will be open to all KIOS CoE researchers.
  • Entrepreneurship Training: A number of short courses will be provided to all KIOS CoE researchers on entrepreneurship, exploitation of Intellectual Property (IP), IP Rights (IPR), and IPR management, how to start a company, project management, etc. These will be provided by Imperial in collaboration with the KIOS CoE Entrepreneurial Network.
  • Personal and Professional Training: A number of short courses on a wide range of personal and professional trainings through the Imperial and UCY learning programmes. Examples include topics such as successful research proposal and paper writing, presentation skills, communication of ideas, time management, etc.
  • Technical Training: Special courses will be organised for the purposes of educating the KIOS CoE researchers on technical skills, which are relevant to the needs of the industry, on standards, etc.

In addition to the training provided for the KIOS CoE personnel, KIOS CoE in collaboration with Imperial will prepare specialised courses to address the needs of industry personnel such as training on state-of-art technologies related to the IP produced at KIOS CoE (e.g., using simulators for modelling different scenarios in water distribution networks). In addition to the training courses, selected presentations (e.g. video tutorials) will be prepared as on-line content, which can be distributed as free or premium content through websites that specialise in delivering technical training (depending on the IP exploitation potential).

Online Courses

A number of online courses will be prepared by KIOS CoE personnel on topics within the specialisation areas of the Centre such as monitoring and control, fault diagnosis and fault tolerant control, security and protection for researchers as well as for the industry. An effort will be made to make the courses accessible to a wide audience through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Platform. In addition, the courses will include several practical examples and case studies using the CIS Testbeds developed at KIOS CoE. Such courses are also expected to raise the international visibility of KIOS CoE.