The Cyprus marine and maritime institute (CMMI) will open by the end of 2024, bringing significant benefits to Larnaca, Mayor Andreas Vyras announced on Friday.
The final plan for the creation of the centre was presented in July under the MaRITeC-X programme, he said.
“The Institute will be fully operational as an autonomous and self-funded organisation by the end of 2024,” he added.
According to the mayor, the municipality expects to benefit greatly from the project, which has secured €30 million in funding. The grant from European funds is up to €15 million while the state will be required to grant an equal amount.
The permanent facilities of the institute will be set up in the Mackenzie area, on a piece of land granted by the Turkish Cypriot properties administration. The initial area will be around 35,000 square metres, while plans for support services have also been drawn up.
“There is a large area for expanding the space so there will be no problem with this particular issue,” Vyras noted.
The piece of land is near the sea, so the area is considered ideal geographically, as it provides easy access to the airport, while also being close to the city’s port.
The main pillars of the institute will be entrepreneurship, product innovation and technological laboratories. The institute has been registered as a non-profit company.
It will have a 25-member board of directors comprised of three public sector representatives, eight academics, five representatives of social organisations, eight industry representatives and one executive director.
According to the plan, the specifications for the building will be finalised in October, Vyras said.
“By the end of the year, the recruitment of the required staff will be completed and two years later, by the end of 2021 the building will be completed.”
The municipal council, in cooperation with the Maritime Institute of the Eastern Mediterranean, has adopted the initiative Larnaca-Blue City, the mayor explained in July when the project was first announced.
Their vision, he said, is to turn Larnaca into a regional centre for blue economy, education, training and research and promote the EU’s integrated maritime policy in the region.
“Our ambition is for CMMI to promote scientific and business excellence in the areas of the blue economy,” Vyras said.
In line with the EU’s Blue Growth priorities and smart specialisation strategy, he said, the CMMI will encourage and host partnerships and synergies between various stakeholders, such as academic and research institutions, businesses and professional organisations.