The main objective of the MSc in Intelligent Critical Infrastructure Systems (CIS) program is to teach highly innovative methods, tools, and technologies for the monitoring, control, management, and security of CIS for a competent workforce that will be recruited by local and regional authorities and international companies seeking to make CIS more reliable, safe, resilient, efficient, and sustainable. In addition, the program is designed to transfer knowledge on the research and innovation challenges faced by modern CIS and cultivate student interest in pursuing a career path in research and innovation. Doing so, it is expected to contribute to the transformation of the research and innovation culture of Cyprus and the Mediterranean-Middle East region. The program is open to students from different technical backgrounds, spanning the different areas of science and engineering.
The program is intended to:
The program will result in students developing an understanding of the knowledge and a critical awareness of Intelligent CIS. Students will graduate with relevant and up-to-date knowledge that will allow them to find employment in the CIS industry or continue their studies at the PhD level.
When graduating from the program, students will have acquired the skills to:
Critical infrastructures are assets or systems, which are essential for the maintenance of vital societal functions. The principal examples are electric power systems, water distribution networks, telecommunication networks, and transportation systems. Without these, other basic infrastructures (e.g., banking, hospitals, schools, tourism, etc.) cannot operate as intended. Critical infrastructures provide the foundation on which communities are built and, when properly functioning, they enable economic growth and social well-being.
As urbanization increases, critical infrastructures worldwide are expanding and are becoming more complex, necessitating greater efficiency and improved capabilities in order to sustain their effective operation. Equipment failures are also occurring more frequently as large segments and components of critical infrastructures become old and outdated. Such failures may lead to serious degradation in performance or, even worse, to cascading overall system failure and breakdown.
Moreover, the safety and security of critical infrastructure systems against malicious attacks (such as denial-of-service) and natural disasters are becoming crucial issues for citizens, businesses, and governments who expect that these infrastructures will provide uninterrupted service 24/7 and under any circumstances. Unexpected events can also occur (accidents, earthquakes etc.) which create emergency conditions requiring immediate response to prevent fatalities and limit damages.
The problem of monitoring, control, management and security of Critical Infrastructures Systems (CIS) will become even more challenging in the future. Currently, an important proportion of the world population lives in urban areas and it is predicted that an even more significant percentage of the developing and developed world will be urbanized in the near future. However, existing critical infrastructures were not designed to accommodate such enormous demands. Moreover, due to wide-ranging deregulation, the use of renewable energy and a massive expansion of wireless communications, critical infrastructures, as well as the associated data, software and management systems, are becoming increasingly more heterogeneous, distributed, and inter-dependent making the seamless integration of all components that make up the CIS an immense challenge requiring special research attention.
The MSc program in Intelligent Critical Infrastructure is offered by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of Cyprus (UCY) in collaboration with the UCY KIOS Research and Innovation Center of Excellence (KIOS CoE) and Imperial College London (ICL), both international leaders in research and innovation activities in the topics of this MSc program.
Courses in this program have been designed and are delivered by world-class expert academic faculty from both institutions (UCY and ICL), with significant international research reputation in the topic of Intelligent Critical Infrastructure Systems (CIS), and in particular to topics relating to the monitoring, control, management and security of CIS.
The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of Cyprus was established in 2003 and is one of the four Departments in the UCY School of Engineering. In a relatively short period of time, it has managed to establish high-quality research, teaching and outreach activities. The Department provides high-quality degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels (BSc, MSc/MEng, PhD). These programs emphasize fundamental principles that prepare students for leadership roles in a challenging and rapidly changing technological world. Research and innovation is achieved in an environment that fosters cooperation between faculty, students, industry, and research organizations.
As of Fall 2018, the ECE Department consists of 18 full-time academic staff, 308 undergraduate students and 96 postgraduate students, at the Master’s and PhD levels. Members of the academic staff are currently involved in a large number of externally funded research projects (from the EU and local/international industry). According to the 2018 Academic Ranking of World Universities (aka Shanghai Ranking), the Department is ranked in the range 201-300 among similar departments around the world. It is ranked second among Greek-language departments in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Given the Department’s relatively recent establishment and short life, this makes it one of the youngest departments in the top 300 worldwide.
The KIOS Research Center of the University of Cyprus was established in 2008. It was subsequently upgraded into a Research and Innovation Center of Excellence (KIOS CoE) in 2017 under the EU’s strategic program “Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation – Teaming”. Currently, it is the largest research and innovation centre in Cyprus on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) with an emphasis on monitoring, control, management and security of critical infrastructures such as electric power systems, water distribution networks, telecommunication networks, and transportation systems.
The goal of the Center is to conduct outstanding interdisciplinary research and innovation and produce new knowledge and tools that can be applied to solve real-life problems. Towards this goal, the Center undertakes numerous education and training activities in its scientific topics of interest, one of which relates to the support of this MSc program. The Center collaborates with an extended network of national and international academic, industrial, and governmental organizations to ensure that its research has maximal applicability and impact.
Consistently rated amongst the world’s best universities, Imperial College London (ICL) is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in research and education. ICL provides a multidisciplinary space for education, research, translation and commercialization, harnessing science and innovation to tackle the world’s biggest technological challenges. World-renowned academics from Imperial’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and the Institution for Security Science and Technology are involved in the MSc program, leveraging close and long-lasting collaboration between academics and researchers from UCY and ICL.
Imperial’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering delivers high-quality teaching and conducts internationally leading research across a wide range of topics targeting both fundamental advances and practical applications of science and technology. The quality and impact of its research are demonstrated by its many highly cited publications, the personal recognition of its researchers through awards and honours, and the commercial adoption of its results and innovations. The Institution for Security Science and Technology is ICL’s hub for security research and is one of the Global Challenge Institutes of the University. Its mission is to coordinate interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary research in security across ICL and to act as a security science, technology and innovation interface for academia, government and industry.
One point of significant strength of the program concerns the blending of topics of great engineering and societal importance for the regional growth of students and researchers in the area of CIS. One of the main goals is in fact to promote awareness of the environmental problem, sustainability and energy-efficiency issues, security and safety aspects. Due to the anticipated attraction of a diverse pool of students enrolling from the region, the human resource capacity of Cyprus will be significantly expanded allowing a new generation of human resources skilled in CIS monitoring, control, and security that will have a multiplicative effect on the economic growth of Cyprus.
The existing programs in CIS (most of these found in the USA) cover topics closer to the computer science or civil engineering areas or to the social sciences. Instead, the program considers an integrated engineering approach taking into account the control and management aspect of critical infrastructures using modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). This represents a point of novelty and uniqueness for the program, especially in the European arena.
The program is designed to be multidisciplinary in nature, including concepts from Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics and Management Science, with an integrated vision of all the aspects of the monitoring, control, management, and security problems from a CIS’ perspective. The exposure to this holistic view of CIS allows students to acquire a wide background and perspective. As a result, they are able to deal with different issues associated with critical infrastructure solutions/services and to cooperate with the different specialists of specific fields, both during the design phases of CIS as well as the monitoring, control, management, and security activities (namely the operational phase of CISs).
Monitoring, control, management, and security of intelligent CIS is a significant area of research and investment in the University of Cyprus, as evidenced by various activities at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the KIOS Research and Innovation Center of Excellence, the largest currently research center at UCY whose purpose is to instigate interdisciplinary interaction and promote collaboration between industry, academia, and research organizations in the area of Information and Communication Technologies, specializing in Monitoring, Control, Management, and Security of CIS. Hence, the MSc program offers prospective students access to a significant body of knowledge and expertise in research and innovation activities related to their studies.
The program is a collaboration between the University of Cyprus and Imperial College London, through a long-term collaboration between the two institutions under the EU’s strategic programme “Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation – Teaming”. Courses are designed and delivered by world-class expert academic faculty from both institutions, with a significant international research reputation on the topic of Intelligent CIS. UCY is an approved Partnering Research Institution of Imperial, enabling Imperial faculty members to teach specific MSc courses at UCY and jointly supervise MSc projects.
The application module of the program is focused on real problems, many provided by industrial partners collaborating with the academic faculty and entities involved in the delivery of the program. More specifically, it is important to highlight the close relationship between the designed program and the industry or the application fields, since many courses are directly related to the applications or refer to specific use cases to explain the techniques and how to implement them in the real infrastructures, thus enhancing the impact of the MSc program. Moreover, the MSc Thesis provides the opportunity to perform applied research in collaboration with industrial partners.
Admission to the program requires holding a bachelor’s degree in some Engineering or Science discipline. The degree must have been judged as equivalent to a University degree by the Cyprus Council for Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications.
Applicants who do not hold their first degree at the time of application but will hold such a degree before the commencement of the graduate program, are also eligible to apply but must submit a letter from their University’s Registrar verifying that they are indeed eligible to graduate. The decision on their admission does not become official until the degree has been successfully produced.
Pre-requisite courses may apply to some of the MSc courses, which can be undertaken from the BSc-level programs of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering or other departments at UCY. On admission, the necessary pre-requisite courses per student will be determined.
Applicants must demonstrate competitive academic standards and top grades in the English language. Proficiency in English can be demonstrated through one of the following: