Cyprus-based project brings together world-renowned experts in fire research

A strategic project of particular importance for Cyprus was inaugurated on Tuesday at the CERIDES Centre of Excellence of European University Cyprus in Nicosia, in the presence of the Commissioner for the Environment of the Republic of Cyprus, Clelia Vassiliou.

SEMEDFIRE, (South Eastern Mediterranean Excellence Development In Fire Research), is a project under Horizon Europe, the ninth in a series of the European Union’s Research and Innovation Framework Programmes 2021-2027 with a budget of €95.5 billion.

The three-year SEMEDFIRE – Twining, the first Twining project awarded to European University Cyprus, further enhances its status as a leading academic research institution in the South-East Mediterranean region and beyond, bringing together world-renowned experts in the field of fires.

What stands out, especially in relation to the Cypriot involvement is that SEMEDFIRE – Twining aims to upgrade the knowledge and expertise of a leading Cypriot research centre in order for CERIDES to become a beacon of excellence in fire research both in Cyprus and the South-Eastern Mediterranean region.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the programme, Environment Commissioner Clelia Vassiliou said that the Republic of Cyprus, at the initiative of President Nicos Anastasiades, undertook mobilising the policies of the countries of Europe and the Middle East through a scientific approach in order to address the risk in the region, the magnitude of which places it in the so-called “red zone”, i.e. the zone of countries most at risk worldwide.

This is precisely why, the Commissioner stressed, CERIDES’ efforts to become a Euro-Mediterranean centre of knowledge, research and innovation in natural disaster management through an integrated and strategically analysed approach are of paramount importance. At the same time, she added, the effort of CERIDES is building a bridge in the south-eastern Mediterranean on civil protection issues.

For his part, CERIDES Director and project coordinator Dr George Boustras said that the Southeastern Mediterranean is a target area for CERIDES Excellence in Innovation and Technology of European University Cyprus. He explained that CERIDES has been actively active in the South East Mediterranean for years, coordinating or participating in a number of European funding actions aimed at disaster prevention or management with an emphasis on fires. Through the SEMEDFIRE project, Professor Bustras added, we look forward to creating the conditions that will allow us to offer at the national and regional levels a research infrastructure that will pioneer and evolve – with the help of our partners in the network – into a reference point for fire prevention and management issues.

In order to achieve the objectives of SEMEDFIRE, CERIDES will work closely with Hazelab at the Imperial College of London, the Department of Fire Geography at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, the Civil Protection of the French Republic, the Pau Costa Foundation in Spain and the Metropolitan Municipality of Nîmes in France.

Leading academics and public authorities from the European Commission, Cyprus, Cyprus, Greece, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Lebanon, Israel and Spain via videoconference welcomed the project’s inaugural session.