The research, technology development and innovation (RTDI) system in Cyprus is relatively new and is evolving with the aim to increase efficiency and modernise the Government, research and productive sector cooperation.
The total R&D expenditure (2012) was estimated at €83.3 million, which corresponds to 0.47 % of GDP. Despite the rise in expenditure noted throughout the last decade, this figure is extremely low compared to the EU average (2%). The R&D intensity target has been set at 0.5% of GDP by 2020.
Distribution: R&D expenditure has been distributed as follows: natural sciences €27,5 million, engineering €19,6 million, social sciences €15,9 million, agricultural sciences €8,4 million, humanities €8,2 million, and medical sciences €3,6 million.
Enterprises contribute with only 14,4% of the total RTD expenditure, as the business innovative environment is in the early stages of development.
Human Resources: researchers made up 0,46% of the total workforce (EU27: 1.07%). Among them, 38 % had a doctoral degree.
Scientific Publications: Cyprus has shown a rapid rise in the number of publications during the period 1980-2009. In fact, it marked an increase rate which was 3,5 times faster than the corresponding global index.
With regards to innovation activities, according to EUROSTAT, the percentage of innovative enterprises in Cyprus is lower than the EU average.
According to the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2013, Cyprus is ranked 14th in relation to the other E27 and is still classified in the category of ‘Innovation Followers’. However, the overall performance of Cyprus in terms of growth for the period 2008-2013 is negative.
The Global Innovation Index (2012) ranks Cyprus at the 28th place internationally in innovation activities. According to the European Patent Office, in 2012, twelve patents were granted to inventors based in Cyprus (48 applications).
The participation of Cyprus in the FP7 was very successful, taking into account the major restrictive factors present. Specifically, during the period 2007-2013 a total of 332 Contracts for Projects were signed with the EU, with the total amount of funding received by Cypriot entities reaching €79,4 million.
Τhe greatest participation and also the most EU funding received was in the area of ICT. SMEs secured €28,35 million (36%). From a total of 1894 eligible proposals with Cypriot participation, 60% were submitted for the specific programme for ‘Cooperation’, 21% in the ‘Capacities’ Programme, 14% in the ‘People’ Programme and 5% in the ‘Ideas’ Programme.
Cyprus also participates in α number of Joint Programming Initiatives (WATER, CULTURAL HERITAGE, FACCE and URBAN EUROPE), two initiatives under Article 185 of the EU Treaty (AAL and ΕUROSTARS) and several ERANET(+) networks.
Other Relative Initiatives
The Business Support Centre (services related to mediation, technology transfer, exploitation of results etc), the «EURAXESS - Researchers in Motion» (support in relation to the mobility of researchers to and from Cyprus) and the Liaison Offices (intermediaries aiming to strengthen industry-academia collaborations) offer supporting services.
Finally, a series of different activities (eg competitions involving pupils, students, researchers and SMEs, awards, the RTDI weeek and the Researcher’s Night, etc) are organised annually with the aim of nurturing an RTDI culture within the wider public.
SMART SPECIALISATION STRATEGY FOR CYPRUS
The Council of Ministers approved the Smart Specialisation Strategy for Cyprus on 26.03.2015. The preparation and adoption of Smart Specialisation Strategy is an ex-ante conditionality set by the European Commission to the Member States, during the programming period 2014-2020, for the exploitation of resources from the European Structural and Investment Funds for enhancing Research and Innovation (R & I) in areas where each country has a competitive advantage.
The priority areas identified through Smart Specialization Strategy are the following:
- Structured Environment/Construction Industry
- Agriculture/Food Industry
Furthermore, a number of horizontal priorities have also been identified (such as Information Technology, Environment and Human Resources).
The Organisations involved in R & D policy development in Cyprus are the following:
The Government of Cyprus acknowledging the importance of research, development, and innovation, is strongly committed in enhancing the scientific basis in Cyprus. At the operational level of the Directorate General of European Programmes, Coordination and Development (DGEPCD), an independent government agency, is entrusted with the formulation of the research and innovation strategy (R&I), the identification of objectives and the introduction of policy measures aimed at the promotion of research activities in Cyprus.
At the implementation level, most of the R&I activities are integrated under the Research Promotion Foundation (RPF), an autonomous agency governed by a 13-member board, chaired by the current Permanent Secretary of DGEPCD under the supervision of the DGEPCD.
The Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus has launched the new Framework Programme RESTART for the period 2016 - 2020, that was based on the Smart Specialisation Strategy for Cyprus completed in 2014.
The total budget of the RESTART 2016-2020 Programmes is 99.140.000 Euro, out of which a total amount of 45.000.000 Euro is foreseen to be covered by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs) and in particular by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
More information is available at the IRIS Portal.