The year 2023 marks a significant milestone for the KIOS Research and Innovation Center of Excellence at the University of Cyprus, as it celebrates 15 years of research and innovation excellence. For over a decade, KIOS has been at the forefront of groundbreaking research and innovation, technological advancements, and transformative solutions, in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), bringing major socio-economic and environmental benefits at the local and global level.
This anniversary provides a great opportunity to reflect on KIOS’ journey and achievements as well as on its unwavering commitment to shaping a sustainable and technologically advanced future by producing new knowledge and tools to solve real-life societal and technological problems.
KIOS Beginnings (2008-2011)
KIOS was officially established as a Research Center for Intelligent Systems and Networks in 2008 by a group of visionary academics of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Cyprus. They envisioned a vibrant research center, where researchers could come together to address global societal challenges and drive innovation in the area of critical infrastructure systems and networks.
In a short period of time, a flurry of research activities was underway at the Center. The Center was awarded a prestigious “Strategic Infrastructure Grant” funded by the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation as well as other EU and nationally-funded research projects. Moreover, it established academic and industrial partnerships with key players in the areas of intelligent systems and networks and coordinated, for the first time in Cyprus, the European Union COST Action “IntelliCIS”. In three years since its inception, the small team of KIOS with 14 researchers, evolved into a team of 65 exceptional researchers from Cyprus and the EU.
The Road to Research and Innovation Excellence (2012-2016)
During the period 2012-2016, KIOS has had many research successes, receiving national and international recognition. One of the key successes was the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant (2012), awarded to the KIOS Director, by the European Research Council (ERC), for the research project “Fault-Adaptive Monitoring and Control of Complex Distributed Dynamical Systems”. After that, other successes followed, such as the ERC Proof-of-Concept Grant (2015) for the research project “SmartTap, as well as many more research projects funded by the EU and Cyprus. In addition, KIOS established partnerships with water authorities, energy authorities, and the Cyprus Police, aiming to promote technology transfer from academia to industry and other governmental organizations.
Notably, the most significant achievement of this period that helped the Center grow and develop was the Teaming Grant (2016) from the European Commission. KIOS, after an extremely competitive process, was selected to receive funding from the European Commission, the Government of Cyprus, and the University of Cyprus to advance into a European Center of Excellence and Innovation. To achieve this, KIOS established a strategic partnership with Imperial College London, one of the world’s leading Universities, tasked with sharing its best-practices and expertise.
The Upgrade to a European Research and Innovation Center of Excellence (2017-2023)
The KIOS Research and Innovation Center of Excellence (KIOS CoE) was officially launched in 2017. In the following 5 years, KIOS CoE experienced a significant growth, achieving inter alia the development of a critical mass of top-quality researchers who undertake pioneering and groundbreaking research projects, the creation of the KIOS Innovation Hub, aiming to provide research and innovation services to organizations involved in the operation of critical infrastructures, and the development of large-scale physical and virtual research infrastructures to test technologies under realistic operating conditions. Meanwhile, KIOS CoE received another ERC Proof-of-Concept Grant for the research project “Domognostics” (2018), an ERC Synergy Grant (2020) for the research project “Water-Futures”, and an ERC Consolidator Grant (2023) for the project “URANUS”. By the end of 2022, the KIOS team evolved into a diverse, multidisciplinary team of 189 highly qualified personnel from Cyprus, EU, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and beyond.
Today, KIOS CoE is the leading Center of Excellence in Cyprus and a key player in the region on ICT, carrying out top-level research and innovation in critical infrastructure systems. This research activity is strongly in line with the UN Sustainable Goals, the EU strategies and policies on green and digital transition, the National Recovery & Resilience Plans, as well as with the implementation of the Critical Entities Resilience Directives.
Currently, the Center employs more than 180 researchers specializing in a wide range of fundamental areas, such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Computational Intelligence, Internet of Things, Cybersecurity, Robotics, Networks, etc., and is involved in more than 30 research and innovation projects funded by various European and national funding agencies, as well as in more than 28 projects funded by the industry. Furthermore, it collaborates with over 300 organizations in Cyprus and abroad to transform new knowledge into tangible results, to make critical infrastuctures smarter, greener, more efficient, and secure, for the benefit of society at large.
Impact on Society and Beyond
In the last 15 years, KIOS’ research has yielded innovative solutions that have the potential to transform societies and economies and improve the lives of citizens worldwide. These solutions can improve the integration of renewable energy sources in smart grids and buildings; can reduce energy consumption, water losses, and greenhouse gas emissions; can successfully manage traffic congestion within large scale urban areas; can help first responders to manage emergency operations efficiently and effectively; and can support health authorities in making data-driven evidence-based decisions for public health matters. These advancements are crucial for achieving a greener and more sustainable future.
In terms of economic impact, the Center has created employment opportunities to over 450 professionals in various areas of expertise and professional experience in research and innovation and contributed to the promotion of the knowledge-based economy in Cyprus through the design of new products and services.
Finally, KIOS CoE has played a key role in raising Cyprus’ scientific profile and promoting it as a vibrant hub for research and innovation nationally and internationally.
As the KIOS CoE embarks on its next phase, it remains committed to its vision of being a global leader in research, innovation, and technological advancements that help societies and economies to be more resilient, greener, and safer. The Center’s interdisciplinary approach and collaborative spirit will continue to drive groundbreaking research, forging new paths to tackle complex problems and shape a better future for generations to come.