Democritus University of Thrace
Xanthi, Greece

Democritus University of Thrace , was named after the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus who was born in the city of Avdira. Established in July 1973, it is based in Komotini, Greece and has campuses in the Thracian cities of Xanthi, Komotini, Alexandroupoli and Orestiada.The university accepted its first students in the academic year 1974–1975. As of 2014 DUTH comprises 8 schools — School of Humanities, Engineering School, Law School, School of Agricultural science, School of Education science, School of Economic and Social science, School of Health science and Physical Education and Sport science. The total number of students is 27,000 .As a university it is state-owned and fully self-administered. It is thus supervised and subsidized by the Greek State and the Minister for National Education and Religious Affairs. Wikipedia.

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The ODYSSEA platform will collect information from databases maintained by agencies, public authorities, research institutions and universities. The 4.5-year project is aimed at making Mediterranean marine data easily accessible and tailored to the needs of multiple maritime sector end-users. These include wind farms, mariculture, ocean energy, oil and gas extraction, undersea cables, ports and shipping, policy and others. ODYSSEA will develop a network of coastal observatories, deploying novel in-situ sensors at sea, employing oceanographic modelling and integrating existing mobile apps for citizen and scientist networks. It will also apply advanced algorithms to organise, homogenise and integrate large quantities of data. The ODYSSEA platform will provide, through a public portal, on-demand information services, including forecasts. The project will include capacity building to maximise exploitation of the information services for creating business and research opportunities across the Mediterranean Sea basin. ODYSSEA, led by the Democritus University of Thrace (DUTH) in Greece, is funded by HORIZON 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. "We have identified a real need to harmonise existing earth observing systems operating around the Mediterranean and upgrading their operational oceanographic capacities," said Prof. Georgios Sylaios from DUTH, who coordinates ODYSSEA. "The project will support EU policy implementation, thus improving interoperability in monitoring and fostering blue growth jobs creation." ODYSSEA is comprised of 28 partner organizations from 14 EU and non-EU countries across the Mediterranean. The consortium includes research institutes, universities, policy makers, non governmental organisations and SMEs. ODYSSEA will hold its opening conference in Kavala, Greece June 6-8, 2017. ODYSSEA is an EU-funded project intended to make Mediterranean marine data easily accessible and operational to multiple end-users. ODYSSEA aims to develop, operate and demonstrate an interoperable and cost-effective platform that fully integrates networks of observing and forecasting systems across the Mediterranean basin. For further information and updates, please follow our Facebook and Twitter.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EINFRA-9-2015 | Award Amount: 8.22M | Year: 2016

The overall objective of READ is to implement a Virtual Research Environment where archivists, humanities scholars, computer scientists and volunteers are collaborating with the ultimate goal of boosting research, innovation, development and usage of cutting edge technology for the automated recognition, transcription, indexing and enrichment of handwritten archival documents. This Virtual Research Environment will not be built from the ground up, but will benefit from research, tools, data and resources generated in multiple national and EU funded research and development projects and provide a basis for sustaining the network and the technology in the future. This ICT based e-infrastructure will address the Societal Challenge mentioned in Europe in a Changing World namely the transmission of European cultural heritage and the uses of the past as one of the core requirements of a reflective society. Based on research and innovation enabled by the READ Virtual Research Environment we will be able to explore and access hundreds of kilometres of archival documents via full-text search and therefore be able to open up one of the last hidden treasures of Europes rich cultural hertitage.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-07-2014 | Award Amount: 3.95M | Year: 2015

Currently cloud infrastructures are mostly homogeneous -- composed of a large number of machines of the same type -- centrally managed and made available to the end user using the three standard delivery models: Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). As clouds increase in size and as machines of different types are added to the infrastructure in order to maximise performance and power efficiency, heterogeneous clouds are being created. However, exploiting different architectures such as graphics processing units, many integrated cores and data flow engines, poses significant challenges.To efficiently access heterogeneous resources and, at the same time, to exploit these resources to reduce application development effort, to make optimisations easier and to simplify service deployment requires a reevaluation of our approach to service delivery. The evolving complexity of the cloud ecosystem will eventually render traditional cloud management techniques ineffectual. Self-organisation and self-management are powerful techniques for managing complexity. Some of our initial simulation results using self organisation and self optimisation indicate that these can be used as the basis of a new cloud management and delivery model capable of efficiently dealing with issues that arise at scale. Our preliminary work has centred on promoting access to power efficient heterogeneous resources by shifting the deployment and optimization effort from the consumer to the software stack running on the cloud infrastructure. With CloudLightning, we propose to extend this work and to build a cloud management and delivery infrastructure based on these principles. Given the prohibitive expense associated with empirical experimentation on hyperscale cloud infrastructures, data gathered on our testbed will be used to simulate this infrastructure and to evaluate the self organisation approach in that context.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-10-2015 | Award Amount: 1.60M | Year: 2016

The need to advance financial capability and financial awareness among informed citizens and market participants was identified as a major target to achieve an improved social performance, better client protection and, ultimately, greater societal well-being. The new socio-economic landscape in the post-crisis world brought changes in the financial, labour and pension markets along with changes in the public finance decisions from the political sphere. Technological developments enable and enhance the availability of large volumes of information on themes relevant to financial decision making. However, the volume of information, the existence of often ad hoc sources, and the documented existence of cognitive limitations by individuals when it comes to the processing of big data plus widespread financial illiteracy found even within developed economies, including those of the EU point to the need for (a) specialized financial education toolkits available to the wider public (b) advanced crowd-sourcing tools to process financial data, extract and present collective knowledge, (c) advanced forecasting models exploiting the market sentiment to identify market trends and threats, (d) novel personalized recommendation systems to support financial decisions according to the users profile (financial literacy level, interests, demographic characteristics etc). Based on these requirements, PROFIT will develop a platform built on Open Source components. The platforms functionalities will be pilot-tested in collaboration with the members of the European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks (FEBEA), an institution committed to responsible banking and finance. The outcomes of the project are expected to enable best practices that can be made available to the wide public in the European Union.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: MG-8.1a-2014 | Award Amount: 3.88M | Year: 2015

Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is expected to play a predominant role in the management of the transport infrastructure. Yet, SHM techniques continue to rely on point-based, as opposed to spatial, sensing requiring a dense network of these point-sensors increasing considerably the monitoring cost. Additionally, commercially available, strain sensors cannot measure strains beyond 1% to 2% and, thus, are not able to provide an alarm for an imminent catastrophe. SENSKIN aims to: (a) develop a dielectric-elastomer and micro-electronics-based skin-like sensing solution for the structural monitoring of the transport infrastructure that will offer spatial sensing of reversible (repeated) strains in the range of 0.012% to more than 10%, that requires little power to operate, is easy to install on an irregular surface, is low cost compared to existing sensors, allows simple signal processing and includes the ability of self-monitoring and self-reporting. (b) use the new and emerging technology of Delay Tolerant Network to secure that strain measurements acquired through the sensing skin will reach the base station even under extreme environmental conditions and natural disaster events such as, high winds or an earthquake, where some communication networks could become inoperable. (c) develop a Decision-Support-System for proactive condition-based structural intervention under operating loads and intervention after extreme events. It will be based on an accurate structural assessment based on input from the strain sensors in (a) above and will examine the life-cycle economic, social and environmental implications of the feasible rehabilitation options and the resilience of the infrastructure to future changes in traffic demand that these options offer. (d) implement the above in the case of bridges and test, refine, evaluate and benchmark the monitoring system (integrated a and b) and package (integrated a, b and c) on actual bridges.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BG-03-2014 | Award Amount: 4.75M | Year: 2015

Surfactants and emulsifiers constitute an important class of chemical agents that are widely used in almost every sector of modern industry. The huge market demand is currently met almost exclusively by synthetic, mainly petroleum-based, chemical products, which are usually non-biodegradable and mostly toxic or GM plant based products (used in foods), which are undesirable by some end-users. Their biologically produced counterparts (i.e. bio-surfactants and bio-emulsifiers) offer more green sustainable alternatives. This has led to a number of manufactures, looking for ways to increase competitiveness through searching for underexploited sources such as the marine environment. Our objectives are to develop (1) innovative approaches in discovering, characterizing and producing novel marine-derived bio-surfactants from a large bacterial collection (greater than 500 strains) housed at Heriot Watt University, originally isolated from various coastal and open ocean waters around the world, (2) novel, economic, and eco-friendly end-products with commercial applications in order to replace synthetic counterparts, and (3) to demonstrate the functionality of new product development for commercial exploitation. Our collection consists of novel bacterial species, originally isolated for their ability to degrade oils, with proven promise in this respect. For this reason, our consortium (consisting of academic institutions, industrial companies and end-users) offering a wide range of expertise, will address the technical bottlenecks for meeting our objectives, namely those of marine resource identification, sustainable supply, discovery pipeline and efficient production in biological systems. The relevance of our proposal to the work programme is underlined by its expected impact in increasing efficiency of discovery pipelines, the development of more economic and eco-friendly end-products and finally in contributing to the implementation of the objectives of the EU Blue Growth.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2015 | Award Amount: 526.50K | Year: 2016

KKNOWPEC, Knowledge for pesticides control, aims to create a transnational research network between Europe and Latin America focused on the challenge of unwanted pesticides in the environment. KNOWPEC wants to identify the occurrence and fate of banned and toxic pesticides in drinking and natural waters in agricultural areas of Latin America where knowledge on occurrence and risk is scarce. KNOWPEC wants to assess the environmental and potential human risks of the pesticides detected, and to provide solutions for both reducing pollution at source, and remediating contaminated water. Together, KNOWPEC will promote the sharing of knowledge at each step from pesticide analysis, toxicity and risk assessment to advanced treatment technologies that jointly enables the design of sustainable solutions to each pesticide pollution problem. Moreover, we want to create the tools of information and networking for a source of collaboration between European and Latin America institutions under the framework of the environmental and human protection from pesticides. KNOWPEC will make important contributions increasing the knowledge of pesticide pollution in potable and natural waters in selected Latin America locations providing typical (or exemplary) cases of widespread agricultural practices and ecological regions. This, together with the application of knowledge from a network of experts in chemical analysis, environmental toxicity and risk assessment, and innovative water treatment technologies in training future specialists, will contribute to safeguarding drinking water supplies and providing solutions for sustainable food production, and a sustainable environment.

Paschou P.,Democritus University of Thrace
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews | Year: 2013

Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neuropsychiatric disorder that is caused by a likely complex genetic basis, interacting with environmental factors. Just as multiple large scale collaborative projects for TS are starting out and the first ever genomewide association study for TS has been published, this review provides a synthetic overview of more than two decades of active research. Studies of the dopaminergic and serotonergic pathways, have yielded inconsistent results, although, for instance, the involvement of DRD2, MAO-A, and DAT1 has been supported by independent findings. The study of chromosomal aberrations in TS etiology has implicated multiple genes, with SLITRK1 being the most prominent example. Common underlying themes with other neurodevelopmental disorders are emerging and attention on neurexins, neuroligins, and genes from the histaminergic and glutamatergic pathways is increased. Propelled by the gradual availability of large scale TS cohorts, and novel methodologies for the study of both common and rare genetic variants, the new era of TS genetics holds the promise to identify novel targets for improved therapies. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Menegaki A.N.,Democritus University of Thrace
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2014

The relationship between energy consumption and GDP growth has been intensely examined in multiple frameworks set by various methods and countries. This paper is a meta-analysis of 51 studies published in the last two decades, with worldwide data since 1949, on the relationship between energy consumption and GDP growth. The aim is to systemize some of the factors that cause the variation of results in these studies. Our results yield evidence that the long run elasticity of GDP growth with respect to energy consumption is not independent of the method employed for cointegration, the data type and the inclusion of variables such as the price level or capital in the cointegration equation. Also 1% increase in capital, increases the elasticity of GDP with respect to energy consumption by 0.85%. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: LCE-14-2015 | Award Amount: 1.63M | Year: 2016

The aim of the SEEMLA project is the reliable and sustainable exploitation of biomass from marginal lands (MagL), which are used neither for food nor feed production and are not posing an environmental threat. The main target groups are regional authorities and public or private owners of MagLs, who can provide knowledge on land availability and are responsible for managing these. Furthermore foresters, farmers and the civil society affected by transformation of MagL into energy crop plantations are important cooperation partners for the projects success. The initial challenge of the project is to define MagL. In order to achieve high yields on the MagL the goal is to develop and optimize cropping systems for special sites. The project focuses both on existing plantations of energy crops on MagL and on the establishment of new plantations on MagLs. General guidelines and manuals shall attract and help relevant stakeholders as well as piloting shall prove the feasibility of SEEMLA results. The first scenario will enable the assessment of good practice and the refinement of current practices, making them more sustainable (environmental, economic, social). The second approach will transfer good practices to underused MagL. The project will focus on three main objectives: the promotion of re-conversion of MagLs for the production of bioenergy through the direct involvement of farmers and foresters, the strengthening of local small scale supply chains and the promotion of plantations of bioenergy plants on MagLs. Moreover the expected impacts are: Increasing the production of bioenergy, farmers incomes, investments in new technologies and the design of new policy measures. The project team is balanced between scientific and technical partners as well as national and regional organisations. By including partners from South-East, Eastern and Central Europe the knowledge transfer between regions of different climatic and political backgrounds can be established.

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