Studying these cells could lead to new treatments for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal disease to diabetes.
Energy, environment and water are the focus of a new joint program between MIT and the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus. The initiative will promote a high level of scientific research and education at a new university on Cyprus, which for millennia has been a crossroad of commerce, civilizations and cultures.
The Cyprus Institute Program for Energy, Environment and Water Resources (CEEW) is a new research and education program established at MIT's Laboratory for Energy and the Environment (LFEE).
Its counterpart in Cyprus will be the Energy, Environment and Water Research Center (EEWRC) at the newly established Cyprus Institute (CyI), a university focused on undergraduate and graduate education and research in science, technology, arts and social sciences.
"The government of Cyprus is committed to turning the Cypriot economy into a knowledge-based economy and to rendering our island into a regional center of excellence for educational services," said Tassos Papadopoulos, president of the Republic of Cyprus, in a speech at the presidential palace Feb. 10. "The government's target is to make available government funds for research, reaching the EU level of 1 percent of GDP by 2010, of course with a corresponding contribution of the private sector."
Cyprus has been a member state of the European Union since 2004.
CyI is working on architectural plans for renovating a technical institute that is transitioning to a new location and building a new laboratory for EEWRC, the first of several centers to be housed at the new campus in Nicosia.
"Through shared postdoctoral researchers, joint research projects and a graduate fellows program at LFEE, the CEEW program will build collaborative research and educational opportunities for both institutes," said Ernest J. Moniz, co-director of LFEE and director of the MIT Energy Initiative.
Joint efforts will include an annual international conference in Cyprus and Cyprus Fellows, a newly established fellowship program at LFEE for graduate students pursuing doctoral studies on energy science and technology, water resources and environmental issues.
The CEEW program will undertake research and education on issues of energy, environment and water from multiple technical and policy perspectives, concentrating on issues of relevance to Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean. MIT's LFEE and the Alliance for Global Sustainability (AGS) are collaborating on the initial phase of the program.
The initiatives are the work of the recently created Cyprus Research and Educational Foundation (CREF) and the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation.
In 2005 and 2006, AGS partnered with CREF to host international workshops on the implications of climate change for the eastern Mediterranean and on urban pollution.