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Network for sOcial compuTing REsearch (NOTRE)

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NOTRE (Network for sOcial compuTing REsearch (NOTRE))

Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2018-12-31

The vision of NOTRE is to develop a network that will strengthen and enhance the potential of the newly established Social Computing Research Centre (SCRC) at the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) for stimulating scientific excellence and innovation capacity in the area of social aspects of computing. NOTRE proposes an interdisciplinary approach towards the close network collaboration between SCRC of CUT, a research active university in a low-performing member state, and four internationally-leading counterparts specializing in: (a) online social networks and their analysis; (b) entertainment, games, virtual reality and educational technologies; (c) Social Computing for social inclusion; and (d) Social Computing and social change. SCRC through this proposal does not only aim to access the core research groups of the leading counterparts, and their collaborators, but also recognizes the multidisciplinarity of the field and will try to establish itself as an intermediate between them. The NOTRE network will follow a series of interlinked activities, such as short term staff exchanges, expert visits, and short-term on-site training, workshops, conference attendance, organization of joint summer school type activities, and dissemination and outreach activities. Such activities with world-renowned EU partners (IMDEA; MIRALab of Universite de Geneve; Institute of Computer Science of the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas -FORTH-ICS; and the Department of Political Science of the University of Dusseldorf -UDUS), will be instrumental for significantly strengthening SCRC's research efforts, enhancing the network's innovation capacity and research profile, and stimulating scientific excellence in the emerging multidisciplinary field of Social Computing. The effective knowledge transfer and sharing through NOTRE will also push for research advancements linked to the Smart Specialization Strategy of Cyprus.

During the duration of NOTRE, the consortium has managed to facilitate a number of collaborations, ensured the presence of SCRC in various networking events and allowed for valuable training sessions between the SCRC and the international-leading partners that have hosted NOTRE meetings and offered their insights. These collaborations happened in the format of joint paper publications, presentations in top-tier conferences, workshops at international conferences and submissions of funding applications. SCRC has submitted through the duration of NOTRE 101 grant applications. Out of these 49 as coordinator and 52 as partner for the total sum of 32.477.953,43 EUR towards SCRC. From these applications, 23 have been successful with a budget of 3.293.831,48 EUR. Furthermore, public events in all partner countries and two events in Cyprus have helped raise the profile of NOTRE and SCRC significantly as these have been attended by more than 1.000 individuals worldwide (approximately 600 in Cyprus and 400 abroad). Moreover, three networking events in Cyprus industry and academia have brought world-renowned speakers from the industry such as Google and Uber to engage with SCRC academics and gather the Cypriot emerging social computing community around SCRC.
During the implementation of NOTRE, the main measures that have been applied to enhance the expected impacts included PhD student exchanges, short-term staff exchanges, training activities, organisation of workshops, tutorials and parallel sessions and attendance in international conferences as well as the organisation of two joint summer schools. The consortium has managed to facilitate a number of collaborations, ensured the presence of SCRC in various networking events and allowed for valuable training sessions between the SCRC and the international-leading partners that have hosted NOTRE meetings and offered their insights. These collaborations happened in the format of joint paper publications, presentations in top-tier conferences, workshops at international conferences and submissions of funding applications. SCRC has submitted through the duration of NOTRE 101 grant applications. Out of these 49 as coordinator and 52 as partner for the total sum of 32.477.953,43 EUR towards SCRC. From these applications, 23 have been successful with a budget of 3.293.831,48 EUR. Furthermore, public events in all partner countries and two events in Cyprus have helped raise the profile of NOTRE and SCRC significantly as these have been attended by more than 1.000 individuals worldwide (approximately 600 in Cyprus and 400 abroad). Moreover, three networking events in Cyprus industry and academia have brought world-renowned speakers from the industry such as Google and Uber to engage with SCRC academics and gather the Cypriot emerging social computing community around SCRC.
SCRC is conducting cross-domain research on the human, societal and system aspects of computing. The linking activities carried out during the project with leading institutions in Spain, Switzerland, Germany and Greece have resulted in a transfer of know-how on research approaches that maximize the impact of the centre's scientific results. Moreover, NOTRE has given SCRC the opportunity to network with high-performing partners of the leading counterparts. Consequently, this has ensured that SCRC’s output will increase in terms of publications in high impact venues (journals and conferences), citations and EU-funded projects. SCRC has exploited the networking activities of NOTRE to raise its profile with respect to the variables of the composite indicator of Research Excellence, which measures the effects of European and national policies on the modernization of research institutions, the vitality of the research environment and the quality of research outputs in both basic and applied research. NOTRE has helped improve the innovation culture of Cyprus by showcasing SCRC’s developed technologies and studies at local start-up events (e.g. Start-up Cyprus, Open Coffee Cyprus, Cyprus Hackathon). In addition, NOTRE has promoted the beneficiaries research results to pan-european start up fora and competitions. The leading counterparts have helped SCRC to become involved in high-profile projects which can raise international awareness about the centre and boost its potential in collaborating with other institutions for large research grants. Meanwhile, students and faculty from SCRC were provided with opportunities to work in collaboration with scientists in FORTH, MIRALab, UDUS, iMdea in order to carry out part of their work in their facilities. This has allowed students that have completed such exchanges to transfer skills and expertise back to SCRC and Cyprus. Through targeted outreach activities NOTRE has enhanced technology transfer, promoted applied research responding to specific industrial problems, boosted collaboration in research programs, supported the placement of students in the industry and internationally leading PhD programs, and promoted business innovation within the Cypriot academic community. SCRC will continue and intensify the activities outlined above beyond the completion of the NOTRE project through other projects that have emerged as collaborations between SCRC and the other institutions involved in NOTRE.
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