The Cyprus Institute was founded in 2005 with a mission to help transform Cyprus into a knowledge economy and to act as a gateway for science and innovation between the EU and the EMME region, taking advantage of its geopolitical setting. It is a science and technology, research and postgraduate education, non-governmental, non-profit organization governed by an international Board of Trustees and funded principally by the Cyprus Government.

CyI considers research, innovation and education on Solar Energy as top priority, in particular within the interdisciplinary climate-energy-water nexus, of particular relevance to Cyprus and the EMME region. The first research centre of CyI, founded in 2007 in partnership with MIT, is the Energy, Environment and Water Research Centre (EEWRC). Within it, an Energy Division has been operating since 2010 and is one of the two largest groups in EEWRC and the Institute. It has developed and pursued an innovative concept for the co-generation of electricity and desalinated seawater via concentrated solar power.

Dr. Aristides Bonanos, is an Assistant Professor at The Cyprus Institute in the field of energy systems. He studied Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (2002) at the University of Virginia, USA, and went on to receive a PhD in Aerospace Engineering (2005) from Virginia Tech, USA, where he specialized in fluid dynamics and heat transfer. He has over 15 years of experience in multidisciplinary research and development projects. His current research activities focus on solar thermal energy systems and specifically in energy harvesting using heliostats, thermal energy storage, and thermal desalination processes, with the objective of furthering the understanding of transport and heat transfer phenomena in the aforementioned systems in order to increase device efficiency. Further, activities include development of instrumentation for the aforementioned system for precision measurements and understanding of processes.

Prof. Bonanos has participated in several internal- and EU-funded research projects. He has developed from the beginning the Solar Energy and Desalination Laboratory at the Cyprus Institute and significantly contributed to the development of the PROTEAS facility. He is author of over 20 peer-reviewed publications and has served as reviewer for various scientific journals such as Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Desalination and Water Treatment and International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, as well as on the scientific committee of international conferences such as SolarPACES and Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency.