The kick-off meeting of NEXUS-MONARC project took place virtually on Friday 13 January 2023 and was attended by members of the project’s participant institutions. The rector of NKUA, Prof. Thanos Dimopoulos kindly addressed the meeting.
The three-year project, funded under the European Commission- Widening participation and spreading excellence (Grant agreement ID:101079156) marks the start of coordination of HORIZON EUROPE actions by our University. The project brings together groups from seven Laboratories of the School of Science in NKUA (Lab. Economic Geology and Geochemistry, Lab. Mineralogy and Petrology, Lab. Historical Geology and Biogeosciences, Lab. Physical Geography, Lab. Analytical Chemistry, Lab. Radiation Applications and Technologies, Sec. Ecology and Taxonomy), the newly established Ports Management & Shipping Department and the Company for the Development and Management of the Property of the University of Athens- Funding Support Office. There are also five collaborating external leading counterparts (Exelisis-EL, VITO-BE, Hochschule Fresenius-DE, University of Gothenburg-SE and NTNU- NO).
The NEXUS-MONARC project proposes a set of capacity building actions targeting to advance the profile of staff at the Department of Geology and Geoenvironment and collaborating groups at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Through these actions, a holistic approach to environmental monitoring will be developed for the marine environment of the Hellenic Volcanic Arc in the Mediterranean Sea, an environment that is influenced by multiple stressors of anthropogenic and natural origin, such as maritime transport, fisheries, industrial tourism, volcanic activity, hydrothermal venting, and others.
The project objectives will be achieved through transferring knowledge and best practices based on the extensive expertise of partner institutions and by orchestrating citizen science activities. Short scientific missions synchronized to citizen science activities will lead to the development of novel collaborative research projects for the coordinating and partner institutions. Furthermore, twinning activities will incite local and international stakeholders from public, policy, and industry to participate and contribute to educational and scientific actions, thus actively improving the marine environment and protecting its inhabitants. Owing to training and collaborative actions, the improved administrative and management practices of the NEXUS-MONARC will be readily applicable to other multi-stressor marine environments in the world.
The Widening package under HORIZON EUROPE puts emphasis on strengthening research management skills in the coordinating institution. In this manner, NEXUS-MONARC is an extremely timely project for NKUA. Specifically, on the management front, the action will greatly benefit the recently established Office for Funding Support of our University. It also builds on NKUA’s recent multimillion investments in horizontal, state of the art Core Analytical Facilities to support research and innovation. This is clearly a seeding project creating new opportunities for further successful research proposals. NEXUS-MONARC will establish a solid partnership between its participants and a network that will be sustained long after the end of the project. This shall be fulfilled by setting up an exploitation roadmap with the ultimate purpose to drive innovation and excellence in researching the marine environment of the Hellenic Volcanic Arc and beyond.
More project details will be soon available on the official webpage nexusmonarc.eu. You may also follow us for updates on the social media Facebook and Twitter @nexusmonarc
By Ariadne Argyraki, project coordinator, and Andreas Gondikas, project co-coordinator