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Dr. Nektarios Chrysoulakis earned a highly competitive ERC Synergy Grant

Oct 11, 2019

Dr. Nektarios Chrysoulakis, Director of Research at the Institute of Applied and Computational Mathematics of the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH) earned a highly competitive ERC Synergy Grant 2019. These grants are intended to foster research at the intellectual frontiers, by enabling a small group of two to four Principal Investigators and their teams, to bring together complementary skills, knowledge, and resources in new ways to jointly address ambitious research problems. The aim is to promote substantial advances at the frontiers of knowledge, to cross-fertilize scientific fields, and to encourage new productive lines of enquiry and new methods and techniques, including unconventional approaches and investigations at the interface between established disciplines. This should enable transformative research, not only at the forefront of European science but also to become a benchmark on a global scale.

The project is entitled urbisphere: coupling dynamic cities and climate” and consists a synergy of four researchers based in Germany, Greece and the UK, who will use their expertise to integrate different computational and observational approaches to create a coupled, dynamic and unified assessment and modelling system, to better understand feedbacks between cities and climate change. Physicist Nektarios Chrysoulakis will work with spatial/urban planner Jörn Birkmann and meteorologist/geographer Sue Grimmond, as well as climatologist Andreas Christen. The team will bring expertise from previous work and study in Canada, the USA, New Zealand, Asia and Africa. “urbisphere” will focus on new dynamics and risks between cities and climate. Climate change and urbanization are two global megatrends that transform human life and directly impact each other. Nowadays, there is a fundamental disconnect between how climate and urban system science analyse and model these processes and phenomena. “urbisphere” aims to change how the scientific community conceptualises, classifies and predicts the climate system and urban planning in cities. The project will create a deep understanding of socio-economic dynamics and human responses to climate and extreme events, as well as urban transformation. The team will explore how urbanization, human behaviour and technology changes in cities will impact climate change and how these impacts will influence urban populations and their vulnerability and adaptive capacity. It will also provide new insights into associated risks at present and in the future. The ERC-funded research team will forecast future urban states and climates - while considering weather, air quality, differential exposure and vulnerability of people - from neighbourhood to city scale. These aspects will be explored in different European and global cities, such as London, Stuttgart, Shanghai and Nairobi. The duration of the project is 6 years with the total budget of € 12.720.904.

In the 2019 competition, 37 research groups across Europe won highly-coveted ERC Synergy Grants. Worth in total € 363 million, this funding enables research groups to bring together complementary skills, knowledge and resources to jointly address research problems at the frontiers of knowledge. The grants are part of the EU's researchand innovation programme, Horizon 2020.

It is worth noting that “urbisphere“ is the only ERC Synergy Grant that will be coordinated by a Greek Researcher. In Greece, FORTH is at the top with the largest number of ERC funded projects, with an inflow of more than € 32 million.


See the respectivepress release of the European Research Council:

Short Bio


Dr. Nektarios Chrysoulakis is a Director of Research at FORTH and Head of the Remote Sensing Laboratory (  He holds a BSc in Physics, a MSc in Environmental Physics and PhD in Remote Sensing from the University of Athens. He has been involved in R&D projects funded from organizations such as the European Union, the European Space Agency and the Ministries of Environment, Development, Culture and Education. He has considerable experience in the areas of Earth Observation and Urban Climate. His main research interests include urban research, urban energy balance, natural and technological risk analysis, thermal infrared imagery and surface temperature studies, environmental monitoring and change detection. He is the Coordinator of the new H2020-Space project CURE, which will start in the beginning of 2020, aiming at developing cross-cutting applications for urban resilience, based on Copernicus Core Services. He was the Coordinator of the H2020-Space project URBANFLUXES (, which revealed novel scientific insights, related to monitoring the urban energy balance, including anthropogenic heat flux, at local scale in cities, generating new Earth Observation opportunities. He was also the Coordinator of the ERA.Net-RUS Plus project SEN4RUS (, aiming at developing indicators that effectively and efficiently exploit the information content provided by Copernicus Sentinels mass data streams, in support of city and regional planning in Russia. Furthermore, he was the Coordinator of the FP7 projects BRIDGE (, dealing with Urban Metabolism and GEOURBAN (, dealing with the development and on-line evaluation of satellite-based indicators for urban planning and management. Dr. Chrysoulakis also participated in the H2020 project ECOPOTENTIAL ( with main goal to create a new unified framework for ecosystem studies and management of protected areas; in the H2020 project ThinkNature ( with main goal to develop a platform that supports the understanding and the promotion of Nature Based Solutions; and in the LIFE+ project FLIRE (, focusing on the development of an integrated Decision Support System for both flash floods and forest fires risk assessment and management. He has given more than 20 invited talks to internationally established conferences and international advanced schools and workshops. He has supervised ten post-doctoral fellows and co-supervised eight PhD students. He has more than 250 publications in per-review journals and conference proceedings. He is Editor of several books, handbooks, journals’ special issues and conference proceedings, as well as, Chair and member of the steering and organization committees of several international conferences.