In the framework of Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East – Climate and Atmosphere Research’s (EMME-CARE) Regional Professorship Programme, aiming to strengthen, expand and enhance collaboration networks in the EMME region to tackle air pollution and climate change and their impacts, the Cyprus Institute has entered into a formal collaboration agreement with the Saint-Joseph University of Beirut (USJ) in Lebanon.
Collaboration between the two institutions will cut across a number of areas: the exchange of students, researchers and faculty, through ERASMUS and other programmes, internships and sabbatical programmes, but also joint research efforts involving the exchange of ideas, methodologies and data, as well as the pursuit of joint publications as a result of joint research or funding opportunities for joint projects. Additionally, the two institutions will provide access to each other’s research infrastructures, which a focus on the analysis of the chemical speciation of aerosols, as well as examine the potential of dual postgraduate programmes or joint supervision.
As part of the Professorship Programme, the Cyprus Institute has also established a Faculty affiliation with USJ Professor Charbel Afif. At USJ, Prof Afif is the Chairperson of the Chemistry Department, Technical Director of the Center for Analysis and Research, and the leader of the “Emissions, Measurements, and Modeling of the Atmosphere” (EMMA) research group. His main expertise is the emissions of trace gases and aerosols, their chemical characterization for their source apportionment, and the management of their impacts. Prof Afif obtained his MSc. and PhD. in Atmospheric Chemistry from Paris 12 University in France. He was recruited as a postdoc at the Laboratoire Inter-universitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques (LISA) before going back to Saint Joseph University late 2009 for the full-time position. He participated in many international field campaigns and was the Principal Investigator of projects mainly focused on the East Mediterranean and Middle East region. He has more than 40 publications in international peer-reviewed journals, and participated in many international conferences. Prof Afif said about the affiliation “I am proud to take part of the Professorship Programme since this affiliation will allow me to contribute to the regional effort organized and led by the Cyprus Institute Climate and Atmosphere Research Center in understanding and reducing air pollution and its health and economic impacts in Lebanon and the region, and help plan the future of the climate actions to avoid as much as possible the devastating consequences. It is a very important opportunity for the EMME to seize.“
Further, through their collaboration the two institutions aim to enhance environmental observations in Lebanon, via intensive field campaigns and continuous long-term observations, helping to better understand the region. The collaboration will also considerably contribute to the strengthening and expansion of EMME-CARE’s network in the region, and support its development as a solution-oriented knowledge hub for critical issues related to environmental and climate change serving Cyprus and the EMME.
About Saint-Joseph University of Beirut (USJ)
Founded in 1875, USJ (https://www.usj.edu.lb/) offers a full range of specializations and academic disciplines in the following fields: religious studies, medicine and nursing, sciences, engineering and technologies, humanities, business administration and economics, law and political sciences, human sciences and education. USJ was accredited by ACQUIN in 2019.
The study of air pollution and climate change is a major field of interest for USJ which launched research projects over Lebanon for more than 15 years. The collaboration with the CyI began few years ago and led to several joint projects on air pollution in rural and urban environments in the EMME region – not only in Lebanon, supported in the analysis of more than 500 samples of aerosols taken in Beirut during field campaigns, but also in co-supervising a joint PhD thesis between CyI and IMT-Lille Douai (France).