The Research Institute
ICCS was established in 1989 by the Ministry for Education, Lifelong Learning and Religion Affairs. It is a non-profit, private legal entity which is linked to the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and is the research host of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). The aim of the Institute is to promote the Research and Development in all different research disciplines of SECE. The research themes mainly include:
- Hardware and Software Technology
- Computer Network Technology
- Mobile technologies
- Digital Communications Technologies
- Control and Automation Technologies
- Energy and Power Production Technologies
- Biomedical and Biomechanics Technologies
- Information Systems and Management Decision Technologies
- Photonic Technologies for Communications
ICCS is very active in programmes financed by the European Commission with substantial participation in competitive research programs. For example, the last five years it has participated in 110 projects of 6th Framework Program and in about 75 projects of 7th Framework Program.
In addition, ICCS was or is the co-ordinator of projects for several European programmes (eg EC, ISIS, RACE II, ESPRIT, IES, ACTS, INFOSEC, BRITE-EURAM, STRIDE, MIP-Informatics, Telematic Applications, GROWTH, QoL, JOULE, ENERGIE ) and parallel to this it participates in various Greek programmes.
Last but not least applied Research is provided by ICCS to the following Hellenic public bodies: Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs • Ministry of National Defence • Ministry of Culture • Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs • Ministry of Health and Welfair • Ministry of Transportation and Communications • Ministry for the Environment Physical Planning and Public Works • Hellenic Organization of Telecommunications • Public Power Corporation •Hellenic Aerospace Industry.
Total research personnel
Permanent or long term Researchers: 12
Collaborating Faculty Members: 47
Permanent or long term Administrative Personnel: 10
The Institute of Communications and Computer Systems (ICCS/NTUA) is the research host of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens (SECE-NTUA). ICCS builds on the quality of the students and faculty of SECE-NTUA to consistently pursue the following objectives:
- To reinforce research activities in Greece in the disciplines of ECE, to keep abreast with developments in the global scene and to perform cutting-edge fundamental and applied research in information technologies, micro-electronics, communications, power, medicine, logistics, decision support etc.
- To breed innovation in Greece through collaboration with industry and academia worldwide.
- To support the scientific and professional career development of young researchers by exposing them to a high-tech research environment, while securing research stipends for pre- and post-doctoral researchers.
- To provide a protective and supporting environment that can help innovative ideas of its researchers to mature before being launched as spinoff companies.
- To gain visibility worldwide and to build a brand name as a top tier research institute.
Key facts about ICCS
The discipline of electrical and computer engineering (ECE) rests on the applied side of the physical and mathematical sciences and also takes important ingredients from chemistry and biology. Its applications tackle a wide spectrum of knowledge areas, such as information systems, micro-electronics, communications, power production and distribution, medicine, logistics, automation and control, decision support, sensors etc, to name just a few. Moreover, being precisely on the application side, ECE encounters the challenge to continuously exploit and promote, in practical manner, several and novel scientific breakthroughs from the very first moment they emerge or happen, but also to keep track of any disruptive change or evolution of whatever can be considered as ‘hot’ technological application domain. As an example, thirty years ago the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) was a key research area for young engineers, dreaming of high bandwidth digital connectivity. Thirty years onwards, broad-band residential connectivity is common practice and the goal has now shifted to the design of ultra-high bandwidth networks that will extend capacity to the limit of Shannon’s law. Nowadays a softer and more ecologically-orientated application of technologies has focused effort on greener power generation and communication networks while on the same time has given emphasis on applications and technologies directly related to medical and biomedical sciences.
Through the twenty seven years since its foundation, ICCS/NTUA has followed closely the progress of the disciplines of electrical and computer engineering, leading to successfully achieve its set goals and grow to a competent research institute in Greece and Europe.
More key facts
Nevertheless, ICCS/NTUA is not a ‘bricks and mortar’ research organization, featuring gleaming research laboratories, the latest clean room facilities, supercomputer clusters or investing on equipment races against other research organizations. The key reason for its success has been the quality of students and faculty members of SECE-NTUA. Every year the latter attracts the top graduates of higher education who pursue to enter NTUA through the exams of the national process for the selection of higher education students. On the other hand the faculty members of SECE-NTUA have equally high profile track records of scientific and research achievements in Greece, Europe or the US.
A third key reason for the success of ICCS/NTUA is the organizational structure adopted for its operation. Centrally-funded research institutes are commonly organized and directed in a top-down manner: They have strictly-defined research areas identified as ‘research units’, ‘research departments’ each directed by a ‘head’ and they usually include several management and administration layers populated with the appropriate administrative staff. By comparison ICCS/NTUA has a very lean structure. It is directed by its director and a 5-member board supported by an administration team of 13 persons. On the research/technical side there is a single layer hierarchy comprising individual and independent research teams, forming up the so called ‘laboratories’ or ‘research units’ (please see ICCS/NTUA site: www.iccs.gr). Presently within ICCS/NTUA there exist approximately 50 such research teams covering all domains of the ECE discipline. These research teams are headed by faculty members of ECE-NTUA or the appointed ICCS/NTUA researchers. The typical size of each of those groups is relatively small, up to 10 members, including PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and possibly support personnel.
As ICCS/NTUA is composed of a large number of independent research teams specializing on their individual research subject themes, they undergo continual updating and improvement as they redefine their current research objectives. In the short and medium term the main weaknesses of ICCS/NTUA stem from the very small size of its administrative support team. Its small size limits necessary activities that are required for an institute of ICCS/NTUA size. Some domains that require strengthening via the administration of ICCS/NTUA include centrally managed (a) IP protection, (b) observation of current technology and application trends, (c) efforts on collaboration and (d) dissemination. Currently ICCS/NTUA is undergoing an extensive exercise to study means for re-organization towards the aforementioned goals.
ICCS – NTUA, apart from continuing its course of excellence in Academic research, needs and aims to place more emphasis on empowering its research teams to patent their results, and also in encouraging spin-off companies that would exploit pre-normative research and development. Over the past years IPR protection and spin-off participation were mostly off-limits to ICCS researchers, partially due to costly and cumbersome legal procedures. With the foreseen simplification and encouragement of National and European authorities, exploitation of results and Private – Public Partnerships are emerging not only as real possibilities, but as the responsibility of ICCS to protect its members IPRs and set transparent rules for a fair commercial exploitation of innovative ideas.
ICCS – NTUA is also planning to gradually become a Center Of Excellence in different fields of Informatics and Telecommunications. For example ICCS has already a leading position in Greece and is well known in Europe in the area of Transport Research and especially at the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) through its participation in all major European Research initiatives. Another area where the same target can be pursued is the area of Virtual Reality where ICCS has been the leader of the largest European Network of Excellence that was ever granted by EC (INTUITION NoE) and also the leading founding member of the succeeding nonprofit European Organization (EUROVR). Furthermore, ICCS – NTUA together with its European partners and especially the consortium of the EUROFOT IP (7th FW, ICT, Contract No FP7-ICT-223945) is discussing the possibility of creating and hosting at ICCS premises a huge database with the results and data from field operational tests of Intelligent transportation systems and especially systems related with active safety from tests involving hundreds of vehicles and drivers in naturalistic driving conditions. The above are mentioned only as illustrative examples; several other similar efforts are on-going at ICCS – NTUA in different research areas.