Role of ICCS
The Institute of Communication and Computer Systems (ICCS) of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) was founded in 1992. ICCS was founded following a roadmap to support the performance of top-quality research, development activities and the provision of scientific service to private and public bodies. Essentially the mission of ICCS was to support the deployment, the realization and the growth of the research priorities of ECE mainly through seeking, pursuing and acquiring research funding via the competitive calls for research proposals that the European Commission had instigated. In turn its purpose has been to build a research personnel base alongside ECE’s faculty so as to conduct state-of-the-art research and at the same time improve the research laboratory equipment base and infrastructures of the School. Furthermore, ICCS has been organized so as to host and to provide research stipends to postgraduate students and post-doctoral researchers. Since its foundation and up to date, ICCS has been growing and maturing within the complex context of the Greek law governing research, innovation and higher education affairs in a country where research resources and funding has been maintained at low levels, in comparison to the majority of the developed European countries. ICCS, 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. ICCS is very active in programs financed by the European Commission with substantial participation in competitive research programs. For example, up to date it has participated in more than 230 projects (FP6, FP7), 76 projects of Horizon 2020 and in more than 500 national projects (ESPA, etc). ICCS is planning to gradually become a Center Of Excellence in different fields of Informatics and Telecommunications.
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.
Since its foundation, in 1989, 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. 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. Another 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’. 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.
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