Cyprus: an emerging “Innovation nation”

Dr. Nikolas Matroyiannopoulos, Chief Scientist of RoC (left) and Mr. Theodoros Loukaides, Director General of RIF (right) (photo credit: RIF)
Dr. Nikolas Matroyiannopoulos, Chief Scientist of RoC (left) and Mr. Theodoros Loukaides, Director General of RIF (right)
(photo credit: RIF)
 
Research and Innovation in Cyprus has witnessed a rapid evolution over the last few years. The country is home to world-class academic and research centres, high-quality human capital and a dynamic community of innovative businesses. “Cyprus is only 3 points away from the category of Strong Innovators in the European Innovation Scoreboard” said Dr. Nikolas Mastroyiannopoulos, Chief Scientist, for Research and Innovation of the Republic of Cyprus.
“The country ranks first in the absorption of funds per capita in the Horizon 2020 programme. The Cypriot academic, research and business community has managed to secure more than €290 million through 663 funded projects. About one-third of the total funding went to Cypriot Small-Medium Enterprises. A testament to the high level of our ecosystem” he added.
Supporting innovative entrepreneurship is a strategic priority for the country. In fact, in the last year alone the Research and Innovation Foundation (RIF) invested €20.7 million in 85 companies: 25 of them are existing enterprises that have the potential to innovate and 60 are start-ups that received pre-seed and seed funding. Theodoros Loukaidis, the RIF Director General notes: “We have a vibrant start-up ecosystem and we will continue to support its growth”.
This year marks the 25th anniversary since Israel first participated in the EUs research and innovation framework programmes and the 23rd anniversary since Cyprus’ first participation. The two countries are collaborating closely according to Dr. Mastroyiannopoulos: “Israel and Cyprus have established a close collaboration in many fields including R&I and in particular the promotion of research and innovative entrepreneurship. It is through such partnerships that we are seeking to unlock potential that will be beneficial to our countries”.
Being an emerging ecosystem, the Chief Scientist acknowledges the importance of learning from more advanced ecosystems and to this end the RIF have organized a series of online workshops in cooperation with MASHAV, Golda Meir MASHAV – Carmel International Training Center and the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Economic Affairs Division to offer attendees the opportunity to gain valuable insights into how a modern R&I ecosystem functions, presenting best practices for attracting high-risk investments and also ways of developing and applying pioneering methods to promote innovation. The Chief Scientist said: “We are in ongoing discussions to identify ways to do more on facilitating and strengthening bilateral collaboration through specific R&I funding programmes”.
Theodoros Loukaidis added: “The RIF offers valuable services to support participation of the local ecosystem in Horizon Europe, the EU’s €95.5Bn new R&I Funding Framework Programme. Working closely with the Israel Innovation Authority we aim to bring our ecosystems closer and help them explore opportunities for collaboration within Horizon Europe”.

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