Research Landscape in Cyprus: An Overview
Until the early nineties, research activities in Cyprus were quite limited, not only by international standards, but also in relation to the comparatively high level of development of the Cyprus economy. However, during the last two decades significant steps have been taken towards the upgrading of research activities in Cyprus.
The most significant of these steps have been:
- the establishment of three state Universities (University of Cyprus in 1992, Open University in 2001 and Cyprus University of Technology in 2004) and four private Universities (University of Nicosia, European University Cyprus, Frederick University Neapolis University),
- the expansion of the research activities of the Institute of Neurology and Genetics, the Agriculture Research Institute and the State General Laboratory and the establishment of The Cyprus Institute in 2005,
- the establishment, in 1996, by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus, of the Research Promotion Foundation (RPF) - an institution responsible for the co-ordination, support and funding of research activities in Cyprus, and
- the participation of Cyprus in major European Research Programmes, such as the Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development as well as the COST and EUREKA Programmes.
These developments led to a significant increase in both the number of people conducting research and the expenditure devoted to research.
Research Promotion Foundation (RPF)
The Research Promotion Foundation was established by the Republic of Cyprus in 1996, to serve as the national organisation for the promotion of scientific and technological research in Cyprus. The Foundation is a non-governmental institution, governed by a Board of Directors, chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Planning Bureau. The Foundation’s resources are derived mostly from the Government but also from the Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development of the EU for specific activities.
RPF has developed over the years a number of activities which fall into two broad categories:
(a) design, launching, funding and monitoring of National Research & Innovation Programmes, and
(b) promotion of the participation of Cypriot researchers in European Research Programmes and International Organisations (EU Framework Programmes, COST, ESF, EUREKA) and the implementation of Bilateral Agreements on R&D signed by the Government.
RPF’s Activities at the European and International Level
RPF has the overall responsibility for the coordination of activities relating to the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development of the European Commission (FP7) (link to http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/home_en.html ) and the HORIZON 2020 Programme (link to http://ec.europa.eu/research/horizon2020/index_en.cfm).
Drawing on years of experience in the dissemination of information regarding matters of science and technology, and participation in European networks for research and innovation, RPF actively supports Cypriot organisations in their efforts to successfully participate in research projects funded by the EU. RPF hosts the National Contact Points of Cyprus with a mandate to provide direct information and consultancy services (eg partner search, pre-screening of proposals, resolving questions on legal and financial aspects and procedures, communication with the European Commission etc.), in an effort to effectively support Cypriot organisations.
Moreover, RPF undertakes activities for the promotion of the participation of Cypriot researchers in the COST (link to www.cost.eu) and EUREKA (link towww.eurekanetwork.org/) Programmes, in activities of the European Science Foundation (ESF) (link to www.esf.org) as well as in the Joint Programming Initiatives of the E.U.
RPF also participates in European Networks like the EURAXESS – Researchers in Motion Network (link to http://crpf.metacanvas.com/EN/int_cooperation/euraxess/index.html) and the Enterprise Europe Network (link to http://www.bsccyprus.org.cy/).
RPF on behalf of Cyprus in cooperation with an organisation / agency from another country, take the responsibility of implementing the provisions laid in the bilateral Agreements or Protocols for Research and Technological Development. RPF has included the "Bilateral Cooperation" Programme in DESMI 2009-2010 as the mechanism for announcing Joint Cooperation Programmes.
The Cypriot Government has so far signed Protocols of Cooperation with Greece, France, Slovenia, Italy, Egypt and Romania and Joint Cooperation Programmes with these countries were launced in the past.
Cooperation Agreements have also been signed with the U.S., Cuba and Israel, while the United Kingdom and Austria have signed Memoranda of Understanding, without provision to include in any specific programs of cooperation (except Israel).
National Funding Schemes for Research & Innovation
RPF has over the years developed a number of funding Programmes for research and innovation. The Programmes cover a wide range of topics under the following Thematic Areas (TA): “Health and Biological Sciences”, “Technology”, “Sustainable Development”, “Information and Communication Technologies” and “Social, Economic Sciences and the Humanities”. Horizontal initiatives have also been developed aiming at enhancing the limited research infrastructure on the island and the industry’s capability of performing and exploiting research, as well as toincrease the human potential involved in research. Such initiatives include Programmes addressed to young researchers and scientists from abroad, promoting, in this way the cooperation between researchers based abroad and Cypriot research organizations and enterprises. RPF’s Programmes are also open for participation to Organizations from abroad.
RPF has funded more than 1200 research projects until now. More specifically, 582 projects were funded through the Calls that were launched in the period 2008 – 2011 (DESMI 2008 and DESMI 2009-2009) and total funding for those projects was approximately 83 million Euros.
Since July 2008 RPF has undertaken the activities relating to the development of high-technology and innovative companies.
More details on RPF’s funding Programmes is available on PRF’s official website www.research.org.cy.
Expatriate Researchers Database
RPF is in the process of creating a database with the contact details of Cypriot expatriate researchers. This database will be used for informing interested expatriate researchers about research and innovation activities in Cyprus, funding opportunities through European and national programs as well as opportunities for collaboration with organisations based in Cyprus.
In order to be included in the abovementioned database, expatriate Cypriot researchers are encouraged to submit the “Expatriate Researchers’ Personal Information Form”, which is available on the official Website of the Foundation (http://www.research.org.cy).
For more information on RPF’s activities addressed to the Cypriot Expatriate researchers, you may contact RPF at the following telephone number +357 22 205000 or through email at the address: firstname.lastname@example.org.