Dr. Nicolas I. Sifakis received his Degree in Land Surveying and Rural Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens. During his studies the Technical Chamber of Greece awarded him twice, and in 1986 he defended his thesis on “The Contribution of Remote Sensing in Ecological Mapping” with Honours. He then obtained a DESS (M.Eng.) in Remote Sensing from the Pierre and Marie Curie University with a scholarship from the French Space Agency (CNES-Toulouse) and a DEA (M.Sc.). in Environmental Physics and Pollution Chemistry with a NATO fellowship. He received a D.Sc. from the University Paris-7 as a part of fellowships from the Onassis Foundation and from the French Aerospace Industry Corporation Agency (IAS); his doctoral dissertation investigated “The Potential of High-Resolution Satellite Imagery to Track Air Pollution in the Lower Troposphere”.


After a period of lecturing on Remote Sensing at the Aerospace Remote Sensing Development Group (GDTA-Toulouse) and at the University Paris-7, Dr. Sifakis was a Researcher at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris. He developed a series of image processing algorithms and software codes for assessing air pollution from space, and was the first to quantify and map urban pollution with high spatial resolution using satellite data. In 1991 he was invited by the European Commission to Brussels to coordinate the largest operational remote sensing project, the CORINE Land Cover inventory. He then contributed to the preparation of the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) work programme and assisted in drafting the 1st European environmental report (The Dobris report) into which he introduced satellite observations to ensure consistency in data required by EU legislation. As a Visiting Scientist at the Environment Institute of the Joint Research Centre (Ispra-Italy), he was in charge of data processing for the European Reference Laboratory for Atmospheric Pollution (ERLAP), CONCAWE and AUTO OIL emission scenarios. From 1996 to 1998, Dr. Sifakis worked as an independent consultant in the operational use of Earth observation on a wide range of environmental issues from regional management and urban planning to sustainable agriculture and natural hazard monitoring ensuring consistency with EU legislation.  He has been an Advisor to the EEA (Copenhagen), the Hellenic Space Research and Technology Committee, the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food, and the city of Athens. He has been providing evaluation expertise to the EC Directorates of Research and of the Environment since 1999.


Dr. Sifakis has been working as a Research Scientist at the Institute for Space Applications and Remote Sensing of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA) since 1998, currently holding the rank of Research Director. He manages NOA’s teams for national and European projects, and lectures in Remote Sensing courses. He has been elected twice President of the Assembly of Researchers of NOA. In 2001, he received a Fulbright Scholarship to participate in NASA's interdisciplinary initiative on "Health and the Environment" at GSFC (Maryland). He has coordinated and participated in the publication of the CORINE Land Cover Technical Guide which has become the prime reference manual for computer assisted photo-interpretation. He is editor of the “Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere” and of the “International Journal of Navigation and Observation”. He is the author of more than 100 publications in journals and conference proceedings, he has contributed to chapters of books and edited technical reports, academic courses and public outreach articles in the following areas:

Dr. Sifakis is fluent in English, French and Greek, and speaks some Italian. He is married to Christine Haffner, Environmental Anthropologist, and they have two sons.  He can be contacted at: sifakis@noa.gr