Cyprus Mail

Cabinet underlines importance of research and development

Former Health Minister Philippos Patsalis

The appointment of a national research and innovation council was approved by the cabinet on Tuesday to promote research and entrepreneurship, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said.

He said a series of decisions were taken aimed at strengthening research and innovation for the “development of appropriate conditions which will encourage innovative entrepreneurship.

“The phase the Cypriot economy is in today, having faced the most pressing consequences of the crisis, what matters is the expansion of the productive base and today’s decisions serve this purpose,” Georgiades said.

Toward that end, a new system for governance for research and innovation has been adopted, which includes the establishment of a National Research and Innovation Council as the advisory body for defining a strategy. The council will be chaired by former health minister Professor Philippos Patsalis. The other members will be announced within the coming weeks, he said.

“An equally important institution” the cabinet has decided on, based on practices of other countries such as Israel and the UK, is the institution of a Lead Scientist, the minister said, who will play a coordinating and decisive role in promoting research at national level. Cabinet appointed Kyriakos Kokkinos to the post. Kokkinos has a long professional service in the field of information technology and serves today as Vice President of the Research Promotion Foundation. Complementing this institution, he said, will be the appointment of a coordinator for research and innovation issues in each ministry.

The Council of Ministers has also decided to finance all Cypriot research proposals selected by the EU within the framework of the Horizon 2020 projects, he said.

He added that two Cypriot proposals, the University of Cyprus’ KIOS Research and Innovation Centre of Excellence and the Research centre on Interactive media, Smart systems and Emerging Technologies (RISE) have already been approved in the first round of the programme with €15m from European funds and with equal funding from national resources.

“Another 10 Cypriot proposals are included in the 50 candidate European proposals as a whole, and we are optimistic that others will be selected,” Georgiades said.

These proposals, he said, include suggestions covering a broad framework of research initiatives.

“We consider the participation of Cypriot proposals as one of the most important forms of promoting research and innovation in our country.”

He added that following the approval by parliament last July of a legislative framework on the interconnection of university research with the market, cabinet has approved a differentiated framework of principles “that takes into account precisely the legislative regulations adopted by parliament, so that public universities are able to give even more impetus to their research activity, interconnecting through the establishment of companies, research and scientific expertise to the market.”

He said the government will continue to be in touch with the country’s research community to provide further support with new initiatives.

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