Cyprus plays leading role in natural disaster research in the South Med

Cyprus’ research center, CERIDES, is looking to become a beacon of excellence in fire research both in Cyprus and the South-Eastern Mediterranean region

Today, a strategic project of particular significance for Cyprus was officially launched at the CERIDES Centre of Excellence of the European University Cyprus in the presence of Environment Commissioner Clelia Vassiliou.

SEMEDFIRE (South Eastern Mediterranean Excellence Development In Fire Research) is a project funded by Horizon Europe, the ninth of the European Union’s Research and Innovation Framework Programmes 2021-2027, with a budget of €95.5 billion. The three-year SEMEDFIRE – Twining project, the first Twining project awarded to European University Cyprus, strengthens its position as a leading academic research institution in the South-East Mediterranean region and beyond by bringing together world-renowned experts in the field of fires.

SEMEDFIRE – Twining aims to upgrade the knowledge and expertise of a leading Cypriot research center 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 program’s inaugural session, Environment Commissioner Clelia Vassiliou stated that the Republic of Cyprus, at the initiative of President Nicos Anastasiades, undertook to mobilize the policies of European and Middle Eastern countries 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 why, the Commissioner emphasized, CERIDES’ efforts to become a Euro-Mediterranean center of knowledge, research, and innovation in natural disaster management through an integrated and strategically analyzed approach are critical. At the same time, she added, CERIDES is working to build a bridge in the southern Mediterranean on civil protection issues.

Dr. George Boustras, Director of CERIDES and project coordinator, stated that the Southeastern Mediterranean is a target area for CERIDES Excellence in Innovation and Technology of European University Cyprus. CERIDES, he explained, has been active in the South East Mediterranean for many years, coordinating or participating in a number of European funding actions aimed at disaster prevention or management, with a focus 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.

CERIDES will collaborate closely with Hazelab at Imperial College 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 to achieve the SEMEDFIRE objectives.

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