Dr. Ioannis Kourakis
Dr. Ioannis Kourakis Associate Professor Mathematics

Contact Information


Dr. Ioannis Kourakis is a theoretical physicist by training and an applied mathematician by vocation. Prior to his appointment at Khalifa University, he has held academic posts at Queen's University Belfast (UK) and at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (UAE), in addition to research posts at Ruhr University Bochum (Germany) and at Ghent University (Belgium). He was awarded a Special Visiting Researcher status (PVE, 3-year term) at Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Porto Alegre, Brazil) and a joint Newton (UK)-FAPESP (Brazil) Fellowship at UNESP (State University of Sao Paulo), Brazil. He sustains research links with the Hellenic Space Center (Greece), the Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece), the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (Mumbai) and the South-African Space Agency (SANSA), among other active collaborations. He has been a regular research visitor to Ruhr University Bochum (Germany), University of Kwazulu Natal (Durban), University of Sydney (Australia), among others.  

Dr. Kourakis has extensive experience in research funding and project management, both in the UAE and earlier. Among other roles, he earlier served as principal coordinator of an EU-funded network linking 5 universities in EU and Brazil. He has also served as evaluation board member at the Canadian National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), as Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports (Springer Nature), as Associate Editor for Plasma journal (MDPI, Switzerland) and as postdoctoral examination panel member for >25 PGR/PhD exams in 12 institutions from various countries. He sustains active links with research groups in Europe (UK, Greece, Germany, Belgium), in S. Africa (Durban, Cape Town), in the USA, in Pakistan, in India, and elsewhere.

  • Doctorat de Sciences, ULB (Free University of Brussels), Brussels, Belgium, 2002
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching (PGCHET), Queen's University Belfast UK, 2013
  • DEA (MPhil BEL) Statistical Physics, ULB, Brussels, Belgium, 2001
  • DEA (MSc F) Molecular Spectroscopy and Materials Sciences, University of Burgundy, Dijon, France, 1991
  • Ptychio (BSc GR) in Physics, University of Crete, Greece, 1989

  • Differential Equations (MATH206)
  • Numerical Analysis II (MATH319)

Affiliated Research Institutes/Centers
  • Space and Planetary Science Center

Research Interests
  • Nonlinear waves, soliton theory
  • Nonlinear plasma physics: collisionless shocks, solitons, electrostatic/electromagnetic instabilities
  • Electrostatic Solitary Waves in planetary magnetospheres
  • Integrable and non-integrable nonlinear PDEs (e.g. Korteweg-de Vries, Nonlinear Schrodinger models)
  • Freak waves (rogue waves)

Research Projects

Funded project CIRA-2021-064 (8474000412) (internal KU funding)

Rogue Waves and Extreme Events in Plasmas and in Space Science, period 01/ 07/2022-30/11/2025

Funded project FSU-2021-012 (8474000352) (internal KU funding)

Modeling of Nonlinear Waves and Shocks in Space and Laboratory Plasmas, period 01/07/2021-31/06/2023

Electrostatic solitary waves in planetary magnetospheres: generation, existence conditions, propagation characteristics, stability profile.

Interpretation of observational (“experimental”) data from planetary missions. (Magnetospheric modeling theme leader at KU Space and Planetary Science Center.)

Theoretical models for nonlinear waves in plasmas, in materials and in other dispersive media: pseudopotential theory (phase space dynamics), Korteweg de Vries theory, nonlinear Schrodinger theory, 2D extensions e.g. Dromey-Stewartson models.  

Non-Maxwellian particle distributions (kappa distributions) in Space (solar wind, magnetospheres) and their impact on plasma properties.

Non-integrable PDEs 

Research Staff and Graduate Students:

Dr. Nikolaos Lazaridis Senior Research Scientist
Dr. Hans Huybrighs Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Kuldeep Singh Postdoctoral Fellow
Steffy Sara Varghese Postdoctoral Fellow
Additional Info


Dr. Kourakis's academic trajectory combines 29 years’ expertise in teaching (incl. >15 yrs post PhD) with long experience in student supervision (both undergraduate and postgraduate). He has supervised four (4) PhD students (through graduation) and >45 students (MSc, MSci) projects. He has always received high teaching evaluation scores and positive feedback from his students. Dr. Kourakis has been involved in course and curriculum development since his early academic years when he contributed to the launch of an innovative web-based MSc program (MSc in Plasma Physics, offered at Queen's University Belfast, UK since 2007). 


Dr. Kourakis's research focuses on nonlinear waves, a vast topic with broad applications in materials science, plasma physics, and optics for telecommunications (optical pulses), among other fields. His core area of expertise is Plasma Science, where he is internationally recognized as a leading expert in plasma theory (modeling). His most recent activity focuses on Space plasmas, and in particular, on the dynamics of plasmas in planetary magnetospheres and on the characteristics of waves and Electrostatic Solitary Waves sustained therein. He currently serves as Theme Leader for Magnetospheric Modeling at Khalifa University’s Space and Planetary Science Center. He has published >250 original research articles, including >170 articles in international refereed journals, in addition to a number of papers in Conference Proceedings and book chapters. His work has attracted >6,400 citations (H?index = 45; data from Google Scholar). 


Dr. Kourakis has served on various committees, both at Khalifa University and internationally. He is a member of the UAE ADEK external reviewer panel for institutional evaluations, since 10/2018. He has undertaken extensive review activity for funding bodies and academic institutions (including NSERC Canada, The Royal Society, EPSRC UK, FWO Belgium, and NRF S. Africa). He sustains a multifaceted editorial activity (including editorial board memberships in the prestigious Scientific Reports Q1 journal of the Nature Springer family). He has carried out numerous assignments as a peer reviewer for a number of refereed journals, an activity for which he was awarded the status of Distinguished IoP Reviewer in 2021 by the Institute of Physics, UK.