International Achievement of Our Faculty Members

May 31, 2024-GTU Office of Press and Public Relations

Prof. Didem Gözüpek and Prof. Sibel Özkan, with their project “(C)ombinatorial (O)ptimisation for (V)ersatile Applications to (E)merging u(R)ban problems (COVER)”, have been awarded the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action MSCA-SE funding from the European Commission.


Gebze Technical University secured funding for the second time as the coordinating institution for a Horizon Europe project, making it one of only three Turkish universities to lead projects as coordinator institutions in this round.


The focus of this three-year project, which will be led by Prof. Didem Gözüpek from the Department of Computer Engineering and Prof. Sibel Özkan from the Department of Mathematics of Gebze Technical University (GTU), is to use combinatorial optimization and operations research methods to help preserve the principles of sustainable development and improve people's lives in the face of growing urban populations. While the challenges facing cities and their inhabitants vary by geographical location, the COVER consortium will address the concept of the “15-minute city”, an urban planning strategy that aims to ensure that the most basic services and daily needs, including work, shopping, education, health and leisure activities can be conveniently accessed from anywhere within the city in no more than 15 minutes; post-disaster management problems such as emergency response and rescue operations and optimal evacuation strategies for disaster-prone areas such as floods and earthquakes; the research problems that aim to determine the optimal placement of facilities such as factories / warehouses / schools / hospitals / shelters based on geographic demands, facility costs and transportation distances; and traffic management problems, which are vital for sustainable urban life.


While the growing urban population underscores the need for optimization in all areas of urban planning, scientific research, especially in the basic sciences, is often disconnected from immediate practical applications. This consortium aims to create a platform of experts from complementary branches of combinatorial optimization such as integer programming, structural graph theory, operations research and network optimization, complemented by local governments that solve the problems of local communities on a daily basis and IT companies that often use combinatorial optimization methods in their solutions. Thus, the scientific work in the COVER consortium will bridge the gap between theory and practice in terms of urbanization problems. It will also make a significant contribution to GTU becoming a leading institution in solving the problems of the city and the region with scientific methods.


The objective of the MSCA-SE action is to promote international, intersectoral, and interdisciplinary research through knowledge transfer enabled by staff mobility. In this context, the consortium coordinated by GTU includes 15 institutions and 48 researchers from 6 countries. The consortium includes the following universities, private companies and a local government: Gebze Technical University, Boğaziçi University, Optiyol Karar Destek Teknolojileri A.Ş. from Türkiye, University of Fribourg from Switzerland, University of A Coruna, University of Cadiz from Spain, Technical University of Gdansk, University of Gdansk, CityBike Poland, JIT Team Sp. z o.o., GDANSK-GDYNIA-SOPOT Metropolitan Municipality from Poland, University of Maribor, University of Primorska from Slovenia, University of Stellenbosch and University of Pretoria from South Africa.


The activities, workshops, trainings, and seminar series to be organized under the project are open to non-consortium participants and aim to bring together different sectors and disciplines. Collaboration with local authorities in the region is also planned throughout the project.