Cyprus wants to become a regional node in the field of satellite communications and to develop innovative space technology services, the transport and communications minister Marios Demetriades said on Wednesday.
Demetriades was addressing a workshop, organised in Nicosia by the electronic communications department of the ministry and the European Space Agency (ESA), to brief Cyprus’ industrial, academic and research community on the framework and the processes on the submission of proposals for the funding of projects by the agency.
The ministry and the ESA in July signed a five-year agreement, which allows Cyprus to actively participate in the ESA activities and programmes, paving the way for the development of the Cypriot industry, academic and research community, as well as the development of innovative applications with the use of space technologies.
Demetriades said Wednesday’s event was a first step towards the successful implementation of the agreement, adding that the overall objective was to associate Cyprus with ESA programmes and activities and to prepare the country in the most efficient manner for possible future accession to the ESA Convention.
The next step will be the first call for the submission of outline proposals, addressed to Cypriot entities, in Cyprus for research and development activities, space applications, products and services. The projects will be worth €1.2 million in total. This will take place annually for each of the five years of the agreement.
Demetriades said the deal is expected to result in promoting innovation and research, educating young engineers and scientists, and creating new jobs and opportunities. “We also believe that the agreement will enable our universities and industry to be more competitive and to secure additional funds in space applications,” he said.
Cyprus needs to move away from the traditional sectors of the economy and open up and explore new areas, such as space technology applications, the minister said.
“We expect that the geographical location of Cyprus… will result in it becoming a regional node in the field of satellite communications,” he added. The space sector together with the ICT sector could become drivers of growth and regional cooperation.
He also said Cyprus also has one of the best climate conditions for earth observation.