The mission of Athena RC is to conduct outstanding research in Informatics and Computational Sciences with substantial social impact, addressing both global challenges and local needs. Athena RC explores a broad spectrum of research areas within the ICT field, as well as topics raised by other scientific fields, industry needs, or societal challenges. Athena RC covers the research and innovation lifecycle end-to-end, commencing from basic and applied research, moving on to system and product prototyping and infrastructure service provision, and wrapping up with technology-transfer and entrepreneurship-enabling initiatives. In a nutshell, Athena RC aspires to create new knowledge and conceive ground-breaking solutions and technologies for the digital era. Its competitive advantage lies in the unique amalgama of skills and know-how of both its research and scientific staff that has already earned it national and international reputation and acclaim.
Further to research, innovation is also a fundamental pillar of Athena RC’s mission. Its several Research Institutes, Units, Spin-off companies and particularly its dedicated innovation-support Unit (Corallia) create a fertile technological innovation ecosystem and intensify systematic efforts to bring to market research and technological results.
In particular, Corallia is a multi-Cluster facilitator, incubator and youth entrepreneurship accelerator. It coordinates 3 innovation clusters with more than 170 members: the gi-Cluster (gaming & creative technologies & applications cluster), the mi-Cluster (microelectronics-based systems & IOT applications cluster) and the si-Cluster (space technologies & applications cluster), and is awarded with the Gold Label of Cluster Management Excellence; it operates 2 thematic Business Innovation Centres (BICs): the α2-innohub in Athens and the π1-innohub in Patras that have been awarded with the EBN EU|BIC certificate for quality business support; and implements a series of initiatives to stimulate youth entrepreneurship with partners and donors: the most prominent Accelerator in Greece the egg in cooperation with Eurobank, the Educational Trip in cooperation with student associations at highly acknowledged universities worldwide, Hackathons, Career Days, Internships Days, Networking Days, etc.
Athena RC has presence in three cities across Greece (Athens, Patras and Xanthi), has been awarded with an ISO 9001:2015 certificate by TUV NORD CERT for the management programmes, measures and actions as final beneficiary of Operational Programmes, the design and maturing of programmes and projects, the schedule, implementation, monitoring, control and validation of project deliverables and the management of State Aid Programmes and is an actor in and partner of the regional plans conducted by political, academic, economic and societal entities.
Link to national or regional initiatives for digitising industry
ATHENA RC/Corallia has been selected as one of the 40 best European practices in 2008 in the priority area “Strengthening the dynamics of SMEs" by the European Commission (DG Enterprise & Industry); shortlisted among the finalists in the category “Research, Technological Development and Innovation” within EC’s RegioStars 2009 Awards; hailed as a “Best Practice” by the EC within the framework of the European Charter for Small Enterprises 2008 among 151 cases from all over Europe in the category “Strengthening the technological capacity of small enterprises”; selected to represent Greece in the category "Promoting Entrepreneurship" at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2012; referred as one of the most successful achievements of the EU cohesion policy as per the respective EC report; mentioned among the organisations that have largely contributed to the technological development of Greece by the European Commission in 2014.
European Strategic Partnerships
- Aiming at intensifying cluster and network collaboration across borders and sectoral boundaries ATHENA RC/Corallia is also one of the founding members of two European Strategic Cluster Partnerships in the fields of semiconductors, space and creative industries, that are established under an initiative supported by the European Commission and awarded in 2016 with the ESCP-4i label. These partnerships, representing more than 2.000 companies and partner institutions including many SMEs, share a joint strategy to promote cross-sectoral cooperation and facilitate SME internationalisation in new “rising star” areas. They implement a number of coordinated support actions in order to unleash the innovative capacity of SMEs, improve their performance and increase their competitiveness as well as nurture cross-sectoral innovation through the development of new industrial competitive value-chains based on the combination of competences of SMEs. ATHENA RC/Corallia is also partner in two INNOSUP initiatives (NEPTUNE and INCLUSILVER).
- ΑΤΗΕΝΑ RC is strongly involved in the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) the leading EU initiative to support a coherent and strategy-led approach to policy-making on research infrastructures in Europe, and to facilitate multilateral initiatives leading to the better use and development of research infrastructures, at EU and international level. ΑΤΗΕΝΑ RC’s President Yannis Ioannidis is the Greek National Delegate in ESFRI. ΑΤΗΕΝΑ RC is core member of two pan-European Research Infrastructures in the area of Social and Cultural Innovation, namely CLARIN and DARIAH and is involved in a set of other RIs offering Information Technology tools and innovative services for advanced data management, thus heavily supporting the digital transformation of these RIs.
Apart from being a European and international actor, ΑRC has a strong regional role to play at national level, is supported by public funding and is closely cooperating with regional authorities. The Center operates in three cities (Athens, Patras and Xanthi) and implements its research and innovation strategy, positioning itself as an important partner in the regional plans conducted by political, academic, economic and societal entities. This offers ΑRC unique advantages: closer and stronger connections to the regional, academic and industrial environment, enhancing regional competitiveness by providing immediate access to the innovation created, taking advantage of the initiatives, funding schemes and other opportunities provided exclusively to regions.
Finally, ATHENA RC is fully-aligned to, and collaborates for the implementation of, the RIS3 strategy of the Region of Attica. ATHENA RC representatives participate in the RIS3 Experts Network in all three strategic priorities (Creative Industries, Blue Growth, Sustainable Growth) while several key references to ATHENA RC are included through-out the officially approved Attica RIS3 Document. Specifically, ATHENA RC is highlighted as a leading research center in Attica specializing in Information and Communication Technologies and microelectronics, while the Corallia unit in particular is extensively referenced for its role in organizing and facilitating 3 innovation clusters (mi-Cluster, si-Cluster, gi-Cluster) that constitute significant pillars of the entrepreneurial discovery process in Attica.
ATHENA RC has an integrated portfolio of services provided to innovation ecosystems and its members, aiming at maximizing their true business potential. These services offer great value to the companies’ daily operation, covering a wide range of activities. The main focus is on synergies within the regional ecosystem, enhancing innovation and extroversion actions. This service portfolio has been rigorously tested, validated and optimized over the past 10 years by Corallia, resulting in a great number of success stories in the launch and commercialization of innovative technology products in the ICT sector. The main services provided can be categorized in the following areas:
- Research & Networking: Showcasing the profile of cluster members and the identity of the cluster overall, placing the ecosystem dynamically on the international market, through targeted publicity, networking and through the design and implementation of data collection and marketing intelligence mechanisms.
- Expansion & Internationalization: Advisory support on specific operational and business development issues, with many opportunities for cooperation with experienced partners and benefits of involvement within a collaborative environment of innovation incubators.
- Education & Training: Business acceleration opportunities through mentoring and training of key scientific and management staff, by organizing high-quality educational programs and specialised seminars in collaboration with subject-matter experts.
- Commercial Cooperation: Strengthening of the value chain and the partnerships between members, international presence, expansion into new markets and developing strategic partnerships both at home and abroad through participation in exhibitions and roadshows to target markets and business meetings.
- Innovation & Technology: Improving innovation processes and developing technological achievements, monitoring and shaping trends and international high-technology standards with the enhancement of applied research by linking industry and academic research community and by organizing scientific events.
- Policy Action: Improving the macroeconomic environment by actively exploring partnerships, shaping national & international policy, and developing & implementing action plans related to innovation, entrepreneurship and competitiveness support measures.
Examples of services include:
- Office/Desk Renting, Business Center and Teleconferencing Facilities, Exhibition Area, Lab Area, Data Center in two EBN-qualified business innovation centers.
- 12-month business acceleration for more than 30 early-stage startups every year in the most prominent Greek accelerator “egg–enter.grow.go” that offers state-of-the-art infrastructure, training, mentoring and business-support services.
- Organisation of customised seminars and training certification programs to scientific and management staff for acquiring new skills and dexterities.
- Organisation of professional employment support measures and events, such as Career Days, Internship Days, Industry-Academia Networking Days, etc.
Support through Knowledge & Technology Transfer, and Infrastructures:
- Responding to requests for knowhow and expertise pertaining to technological needs of specific SMEs,
- Developing proposals for possible solutions (including potential providers and collaborators, prototypes, methodologies, etc),
- Providing or facilitating access for businesses to a set of research and other digital infrastructures.
- Provision of business advice and direct access to an extensive network of Business Angels, VCs, Banks and Institutional Investors, offering Seed and Growth Capital, Micro-loans, Loans, Financial Guarantees, Factoring, etc.
- Coordination of proposal submissions to Horizon, COSME, Interreg, Structural Funds Programmes, National Development Funds, etc.
Innovation and Business support:
- Organisation of open innovation contests and challenges, such as Hackathons, Appathons, Startup Weekends, Bootcamps etc.
- Advice and support on developing a business plan and an intellectual property management plan, in cooperation with specialized experts and patent attorneys.
- Organisation of business Roadshows, commercial and technology Exhibitions, Trade Fairs, B2B/B2C/C2C Match-making and brokerage events, at international level.
- Digital Media Development, Market Intelligence Watch, Benchmarking, Press Releases preparation and issuing, etc.
Client Example: Access to market and transfer of technology
Client organization: SME software developer active in the Creative Industries sector
Client needs: access to market, support of innovative ideas, including maturation of ideas and projects, scalability and internationalisation, demonstration, transfer of technology, feasibility analysis, and Intellectual Property Rights protection.
Provided solution: Corallia/ATHENA RC supported the client by finding and suggesting the appropriate financing and collaboration mechanism to cover the needs above. By studying its products developed, the customer was made aware of the possibility to enter new digital markets and develop solutions for connecting existing game technology with e-health platforms, allowing for health-related meta-game mechanisms. For achieving this, Corallia/ATHENA RC supported the customer to avail of the INCluSilver programme. INCluSilver is an EU Horizon2020 INNOSUPP programme that aims to support collaboration between actors belonging to different sectors in order to create the optimal conditions for generating and validating innovative ideas in the field of personalised nutrition for the Silver Economy that have great potential to reach the market. The customer received a Scalability and an Internationalisation Voucher in order to develop a project called “MGIHealth” (“Mobile Games to Incentivize Healthy Habits”).
Client Example: Ecosystem development and expansion of technological solution
Client organization: SME developing solutions using Earth Observation (EO) and Satellite data.
Client needs: seeking the opportunity to establish deep relationship with aquaculture professionals and a better level understanding of their requirements about environmental monitoring.
Provided solution: The client had previous experience benefiting from the support offered by the FP7 SAFI project. There the customer has put in place a service to supply aquaculture professional with EO derived data. Corallia/ ATHENA RC helped the client to get access to coaching and mentoring services, as well as to receive voucher support for further developing its services, through the NEPTUNE Blue Growth Accelerator, a H2020 innovation action that supports the development of new cross-sectoral and cross-border industrial value-chains mixing Water, Aerospace, ICT and Agriculture technologies, through a direct support scheme to SMEs. In this new phase of development, the customer works towards overcoming limitations of previous work (EO can regularly provide vide synoptic and useful information on the environment (Harmful Algal Blooms or HABs, thermal fronts, water quality) thanks to the Sentinel Programme of Copernicus. However, its standalone use is limited as key parameters like local current speed and direction are not retrievable from space. In addition, the spatial coverage of the imagery might be impacted by clouds presence or its quality affected by sun specular reflection) and is supported to expand its previous offer to a new level of service, by combining EO data and coastal hydrodynamic modelling, so as to better address the needs of aquaculture businesses
Client Example: Technical support: Dynamic development and management of digital services in a large airport
Client organization: Large SME - Airport managing company
Client needs: advanced management of data and content from various sources and of various formats
Provided solution: ΑRC undertook the design of a dynamic platform for editing, sharing and promoting information content and services between the airport, the airport community members (employees, companies and agencies operating at the airport, etc.) and airport users, whether a simple visitor, a passenger or an airport employee. The platform enables the dynamic development and management of electronic services, their uniform provision across heterogeneous communication channels (e.g., internet, sms, Bluetooth, mobile, IPTVs, speech) and their personalization to consumers based on user profile information. Before its actual implementation, the airport managing company had the possibility to test the platform using ATHENA’s infrastructure for simulation and validation
Client Example: Technical support: Big IoT Data and Stream Analytics for a telecoms multinational
Client organization: Telecoms multinational
Client needs: management of data coming from IoT devices
Provided solution: ΑΤΗΕΝΑ RC has supported a multinational telecoms company in the adoption and implementation of a big data solution and methods for stream analytics on network data coming from IoT devices. The solution is based on well-established big data platforms, i.e. Cloudera Ecosystem and SPARK streaming, and enables the collection of vast amount of network measurement streams from connected devices, their scalable processing, analysis and storage and the visualization of several KPIs.