The expertise of URENIO’s staff covers urban and regional development and planning, innovation management, civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, architecture, sociology and economics, applied mathematics and statistics.

Nicos Komninos

Nicos Komninos is a researcher and author among the founders of the intelligent (smart) city paradigm. He has published the trilogy “Intelligent Cities: Innovation, knowledge systems and digital spaces” (Routledge 2002), “Intelligent Cities and Globalisation of Innovation Networks” (Routledge 2008), and “The Age of Intelligent Cities: Smart Environments and Innovation-for-all Strategies” (Routledge 2014). He guest-edited five special issues on smart cities: “Intelligent Clusters, Communities and Cities: Enhancing innovation with virtual environments and embedded systems”,International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development (1.4, 2009); “Smart Applications for Smart Cities” Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research (3, 2012); “Smart Cities and the Future Internet in Europe” Journal of the Knowledge Economy (4.2, 2013); “Intelligent Environments and Planning for Urban Renewal” Sustainability (8, 2016); and “Smart Cities and Cloud Computing” Journal of Smart Cities (2.1, 2016). Two recent books are Smart Cities and Connected Intelligence (Routledge, Jan 2020) and Smart Cities in the Post-algorithmic Era (Edward Elgar, Dec 2019).

He holds a master’s degree in Architecture-Engineering from the Aristotle University, post-graduate studies in Semantics with A.J.Greimas, and a PhD from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales (EHESS Paris) under the supervision of P.H.Chombart de Lauwe. He is professor emeritus at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and taught courses “Intelligent Cities: Architectures and Strategies”, “Design and Development of Software Applications for Smart Cities”, “Strategic Planning for Urban Development”, and “Learning Regions: Innovation and Regional Development in Europe”.

He is the founder of URENIO Research and Intelspace Technologies, a company doing research on technologies, systems and platforms for smart cities, and coordinated more than one hundred research projects under the European research and territorial development programmes. His research focuses on two areas:  (1) intelligent / smart cities: genesis and evolution, structure and ontology, architectures of intelligence, planning, strategy, and governance, smart ecosystems, connected intelligence, platforms and applications design & development; and (2) innovation systems: territories propelling technology and innovation, innovating cities and regions, innovation strategies, smart specialisation strategies (RIS3), digital-institutional-physical systems of innovation, platforms for innovation, user and data-driven innovation, innovation sandboxes, measuring innovation performance. 

Alongside to research, he worked as an expert for the European Commission in the design of science and technology parks (1994-1998), regional innovation strategies (1995-2012), research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation (2012-2021), and the assessment of Regiostars Awards (2019). He also participated in the group of experts that drafted the OECD innovation strategy and in UNIDO’s innovation activities for developing countries. He has evaluated research projects from EU counties, the Nordic countries, Asia, and New Zealand.

He has authored more than 200 publications, including thirteen books, on intelligent and smart cities, urban planning, innovation systems and strategies. He has been honoured with the Excellence and Innovation Award of Aristotle University for achievements in competitive research; he is an associate editor or editorial board member in fifteen journals, and editor of Elsevier’s Smart Cities Book Series. More at
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Elias G. Carayannis

Elias CarayannisElias G. Carayannis is Senior Visiting Professor affiliated with URENIO. He is full Professor of Science, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, as well as co-Founder and co-Director of the Global and Entrepreneurial Finance Research Institute (GEFRI) and Director of Research on Science, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, European Union Research Center, (EURC) at the Department of Information Systems & Technology Management, George Washington University in Washington, DC. His teaching and research activities focus on the areas of strategic Government-University-Industry R&D partnerships, technology road-mapping, technology transfer and commercialization, international science and technology policy, technological entrepreneurship and regional economic development.

He has published thirteen books to date on science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship with CRC Press, Praeger/Greenwood, Palgrave/MacMillan and Edward Elgar. He has also published working papers with the World Bank and given invited lectures on a number of occasions at the World Bank, the IADB, the European Union, and several universities. Dr. Carayannis is Editor-in-Chief of the Springer Journal of the Knowledge Economy; the Springer Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship: A Systems View Across Time and Space; the IGI International Journal of Social Ecology and Sustainable Development; the Edward Elgar Book Series on Science, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship; and the Springer Book Series on Innovation, Technology, and Knowledge Management. He can be reached at:

Christina Kakderi

Christina KakderiChristina KAKDERI (MSc, PhD) is a regional economist and a researcher focusing on systems of innovation and smart innovation environments (national and regional innovation systems, technology policy, social networks, intelligent cities/districts). Since 2005 she has been involved with URENIO in numerous EU and national funded projects related to spatial development and innovation ecosystems. She is assistant professor at the School of Spatial Planning and Development, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

She holds a degree in Economics from the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, an MSc from the School of City and Regional Planning, Cardiff University, UK and a PhD on innovation systems analysis from the Faculty of Engineering of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. During her studies, she has received a three-year fellowship from the State Scholarship Foundation and a fellowship from the Research Committee of AUTH. She has also attended a number of extended training courses, such as those of the DIMETIC network (in Strasbourg, Maastricht and Pecs) on innovation networks, policies and methodologies, and of the Spatial Econometrics Advanced Institute (in Rome) on spatial econometrics.
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Yannis Chinis

Yannis CHINIS (MSc) is a spatial planning and development engineer, and a researcher focusing on innovative urban design, planning and development. He is a PhD candidate at the School of Spatial Planning and Development (AUTh) exploring new participatory and inclusive design approaches and practices in the context of intelligent and resilient development of the city. He holds a master’s degree in Spatial Planning and Development Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and a postgraduate degree in “Advanced Design: Innovation and Transdisciplinarity in Design” accredited by the School of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
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Athanasios Anastasiou

Athanasios Anastasiou is Assistant Professor at the Department of Management Science and Technology at the University of Peloponnese. He holds a BSc in Mathematics, MSc in Statistics and Management, and PhD in Economics. He has 20 years teaching experience in higher education, both in Greece and in Cyprus. His research interests are in the area of macroeconomics, public administration and economics, economic growth, international economics and European integration, applied statistics and econometry. He has been an editorial board member at the International Journal of Behavioural and Healthcare Research, has published several scientific papers, and participated in numerous conferences related to macroeconomics, international economics, and public economics. His previous research is also related to applied econometrics and Bayesian estimation methods, the European Union policies and the Central Bank independence. He has been working in the area of Data Envelopment Analysis and has published several papers that use this approach to measure industrial sector efficiency for the banking and education sectors.
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Giorgos Martinidis

Giorgos MARTINIDIS (MSc, MA) studied psychology in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Middlesex University, economics and politics in the University of Macedonia, and holds a PhD in the contribution of human factors to regional innovation systems, also from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Since 2007 he has worked on the administration and implementation of various research projects and the drafting of research proposals for Aristotle University’s URENIO research, INTELSPACE, the University of Sheffield’s South Eastern Europe Research Centre, and Creativity Platform.
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Nancy (Anastasia) Martzopoulou

Nancy (Anastasia) MARTZOPOULOU is a Mechanical and Agricultural Engineer and currently belongs to the academic staff of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning – School of Architecture – Faculty of Engineering – AUTH, where she completed her PhD thesis entitled “Energy and environmental management in industrial concentrations”. She has been actively involved in the research activity of the URENIO Research Unit – AUTH, participating in the implementation and the management of research projects such as: Cross-Inno-Cut, Innopolis, INTERVALUE, The future of industry in Thessaloniki, Innovation in the Ionian Islands, Digital research center in Central Macedonia, Istos: Innovative Actions in the South Aegean. Scientific fields she is interested in: Urban/Regional Planning and Innovation, Smart Specialisation, Smart Energy Cities, Environmental Planning, Industrial Symbiosis and Ecology, Eco – Industrial Parks, Emergy Analysis, Agricultural Engineering. She teaches at the Schools of Architecture and Agriculture.
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Dimitris Milossis

DIMITRIS MILOSSISDimitris MILOSSIS is electrical engineer with studies in the School of Technology, University of Patra, Greece. He has a Diploma in Electronics for Telecommunications from the University of Southampton, England and a Masters cource in Business Adninistration (MBA) in University of Macedonia (Thessaloniki, Greece). He is a PhD candidate at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki on the topic of “Regional Innovation Systems”.

Since 1999, his is working as a researcher at the URENIO research unit in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and participates in various European projects. His scientific interests are in business performance assessment (benchmarking), web development, and networking in Innovation Management Tools and New Product Development.
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Eleni Oikonomaki

Eleni OIKONOMAKI is an architect, urban designer, and analyst, currently pursuing a Ph.D. specializing in smart cities, innovation ecosystems, big data analytics, and artificial intelligence within urban environments. She graduated with distinction from UC Berkeley, California, holding a master’s degree in Urban Design, and from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, with a master’s in Architectural Engineering. As a visiting Ph.D. Student at Northeastern University in Boston, Eleni conducted research on innovation ecosystems, machine learning and data mining using urban informatics.

She worked at the IT Center of AUTH for more than a year, contributing to the development of “myauth mobile”. Her professional background includes serving as a Teaching Assistant in the Design and Innovation for Sustainable Cities (DISC) 2019 program. Throughout her academic journey, she garnered recognition through awards and scholarships in both Greece and the United States, notably being named a World Changing Ideas Finalist by Fast Company magazine, and receiving grants from UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design and Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation. Additionally, the projects she participated have earned acclaim from esteemed platforms and organizations such as the World Architecture Festival, Dezeen Awards, Shenzhen and Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, ISOCARP World Planning Congress and World Architects Congress UIA. More at:
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Anastasias Panori

Anastasia PANORI is a senior researcher and assistant professor  at the School of Spatial Planning and Development, Aristotle University. Her main research interests focus on urban and socio-economic development, data science, smart cities, and Smart Specialisation Strategies at a regional level. Since 2012, she has been working as a researcher and has participated in various projects funded by the European Union and the Greek Government. By education, she is an Electrical and Computer Engineer (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Engineering), holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, and a PhD in Economic and Regional Development from Panteion University of Athens.
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Twitter: @natasa_panori

Ilektra Papadaki

Ilektra PAPADAKI studied Architectural Engineering in the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). She is currently a PhD candidate at the School of Spatial Planning and Development (AUTh) doing research on climate-neutral smart cities.

Ilektra worked for over 6 years in the European Commission as policy officer and team lead, for the digitalisation and sustainability of construction, the built and urban environment. Her experience includes collection of evidence for policy making, set up and operation of monitoring tools, design and implementation of policies and initiatives, stakeholder engagement, partnership and project management. She is fluent in Greek, English, French and Portuguese.
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Maria Paraskeva

Maria PARASKEVA received a Master of Arts in Black Sea Cultural Studies from the International Hellenic University. She is a graduate of the Department of Theology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Before her current position, she was a project manager at the Vocational Training Centre (VTC) for seven years. She was also the head of the department that was responsible for combating people’s exclusion from occupation, and for the department that aimed at promoting graduates to labor.

During her career, she has worked at the “Organization of Cultural Capital of Europe Thessaloniki “97”, and at Macedonian Press Agency. She has taught “Greek as a foreign language” and “vocational guidance” at the Vocational Training Centre, where she has also written handbooks on both subjects. She also taught English (as a foreign language) at various coaching schools.
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Artemis Psaltoglou

Artemis PSALTOGLOU is an Architect Engineer and researcher focusing on urban planning and spatial development. She is a PhD candidate at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (AUTH) exploring the role and contribution of social innovation in cities. Her research interests include the concept of urban intelligence, the use of digital technologies in tackling urban challenges, as well as the social dimensions of smart cities.

In terms of education, she is a graduate of the Department of Architecture of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) and she holds a master degree on Smart Cities from the University of Girona (Spain). During her studies, she received a scholarship for her master studies from the spanish bank Santander and two scholarships from Stavros Niarchos Foundation for her participation in international workshops related to digital technologies and architecture (AA Visiting Thessaloniki and AA DLAB 2016). Since may 2016, she is working as a PhD researcher at URENIO participating in the implementation of research projects and the preparation of projects proposals.
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Maria S. Schoina

Maria S. SchinaMaria S. Schoina is a graduate of the Department of Civil Engineering of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. After graduation she was involved in several structural design studies as self-employed or in cooperation with a design and construction firm. She has also been working as a scientific researcher at the Universities of Thessaly and Western Macedonia, in a series of projects and studies in the fields of Regional Development, Innovation, Management of Technology and Tourism Management.

Since 2000 she has been working for the Urenio Research Unit of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, participating in the implementation and the management of research projects such as: InnoRegio: Dissemination of Innovation and Knowledge Management Techniques, InVent: Innovative Actions in Thessaly, Istos: Innovative Actions in the South Aegean, Regional Innovation Strategy (RIS) in Southwest Bulgaria, Medi-Cube: Mediterranean Technology Led Incubator Co-operation.
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Elena Sefertzi

Elena SEFERTZIElena SEFERTZI is associate professor of Spatial Systems and Innovation Strategies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She holds a Master’s Degree of Sociology from the University of Paris Rene Descartes – Sorbonne, a post-graduate degree (DEA), and a PhD from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales, Paris. Her teaching and research activities focus on regional innovation strategies, strategic planning, technology transfer and regional development. She has participated and coordinated more than fifty research projects funded by research organisations and the European Commission (Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP), Framework Programmes (FP), and Territorial Cooperation Programmes).

She is the author of numerous articles and editor of books, including “Flexibility and alternative corporate strategies” (Industrial Relations, vol. 51, no 1, 1996), “Neo-industrialisation and peripherality” (Geoforum, vol. 29, no 1, 1998), “Innovation in the every day life of libraries” (Technovation, no 20, 2000), “Changing regional systems of innovation in Greece” (European Planning Studies, 2003), “Innovation: System-areas, technology transfer, and innovative development in Greece” (Gutenberg,1998), “Innovation Development Technologies in Regions and Production Complexes” (Gutenberg, 2001),” Cost Cutting Innovative Technologies” (European Territorial Cooperation Programme, 2012).
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Paraskevi Tarani

PARASKEVI TARANIParaskevi TARANI studied architecture at the School of Engineering in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She is a PhD candidate at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, on the topic “The European Cities in the New Economy of Knowledge”.Her research interests include the area of urban and regional innovation, urban theory and planning.

As member of the URENIO research unit since 1994, she has been involved in several research projects dealing with city and regional development and innovation diffusion, such us: Regional Technological Project (RTP) of Central Macedonia, Regional Innovation Strategy (RIS+) Central Macedonia, Agropolis Technology Park of Thessaloniki, Innovation in Ionian Islands. Her experience in the field of urban planning includes several projects on urban renovation and planning, technology parks, and new areas development. A number of her projects and articles on the urban condition have been published in international magazines for architecture and urban planning (Techniques & Architecture, D” Architectures, Architecture in Greece, Threshold).
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Danai Toursoglou

Danai TOURSOGLOU PAPALEXANDRIDOU holds a master’s degree from the School of Architecture of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and she is a PhD candidate at the School of Spatial Planning and Development, exploring the social inclusion potential of Intelligent Cities. Her research interests are on the development of urban resilience through democratisation and participation. As part of her tuition she has studied at the Superior Technical University of Madrid (ETSAM). She has won a variety of competitions (First Prize at Unbuilt Vision Competition 2017, New York among others) and participated in multiple conferences and platforms (Future Architecture Platform, Fab Foundation and others). In 2017 she has founded and managed the ConstrACT Lab, a Makerspace for refugees in Greece, exploring the potential of inclusion through participatory processes and access to technology. She has also participated in the replication of the concept in Gaza, Ukraine, Romania, Colombia, Kenya and Burkina Faso.
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Panagiotis C. Tsarchopoulos

PANAGIOTIS TSARCHOPOULOSPanagiotis C. TSARCHOPOULOS received the Diploma degree in Electrical Engineering and the Ph.D. degree in Urban and Spatial Planning from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1992 and 2013, respectively.

He supports the URENIO Research Unit web presence. Since 1993, he has been working in R&D projects funded either by the E.C. or the Greek General Secretariat for Research and Technology dealing with digital innovation spaces. His current research emphasis is on smart/intelligent cities and regions, and especially on the digital space of intelligent cities. He also teaches, with Professor Komninos, the “Digital Cities” course at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
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