Speech of the Chief Scientist for Research and Innovation of the Republic of Cyprus, Dr. Nikolas Mastroyiannopoulos at the NetMAR Kick-Off Meeting | 11 February 2021

Esteemed Minister of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth of the Republic of Cyprus,

Esteemed Deputy Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Cyprus,

Dear Rector of the University of Cyprus

Dear Professors and Members of NetMAR,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure and honour that I address you today at the digital kick-off meeting of the Network for Medieval Arts and Rituals.

A multidimensional EU-funded project, which aims to contribute towards a better understanding of the ritual origins and functions of Byzantine and Western arts, while promoting Cyprus’ rich medieval heritage utilizing a new, combined approach studying the interactions between medieval arts and rituals.

Cyprus’ success in securing funding from “Horizon 2020”, is tangible proof of the high level of research work carried out in our country. We are very proud that our country ranks first among the EU member states in relation to the per capita net economic benefit from Horizon.

Therefore, allow me to congratulate the inspirers of this project and express my gratitude for their dedication and relentless efforts to boost research as well as innovation in our country.

Arts and humanities cover a broad spectrum of disciplines, including literature, history, music, sculpture, poetry and philosophy, contributing in the continuous expansion of knowledge, inspiring creativity and innovation. Innovation provides a link between society and arts and humanities research as some of the most creative innovations of the digital age came from those who were able to connect the arts and humanities field with science. Steve Jobs once said that as a kid he always thought of himself as a humanities person, but he liked electronics. Then he read that one of his heroes, Edwin Land, the co-founder of Polaroid, pointing out the importance of people who could stand at the crossroads between humanities and sciences, and decided that this is what he wanted to do. At his product launches, Jobs concluded his presentations with a slide, projected onto the screen behind him, of street signs showing the intersection of Liberal Arts and Technology. During his last such appearance, for the iPad 2 in 2011, he stood in front of that image and declared: “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough–that it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.” That’s what made him the most creative technology innovator of our era, and that’s what he infused into the genetic code of Apple, which is still evident today. Those who essentially stood at this humanities-technology intersection, have empowered creativity-led innovation in the digital age.

Distinguished Guests,

Research and Innovation is multidimensional adding value across all sectors of the economy, and providing solutions to social problems. At the same time, Research and Innovation requires cooperation, synergies and networks to flourish.

NetMAR is a bright example of this as it aims to improve the field of medieval studies and bring visual arts, literature and performance arts together, to produce a plethora of scientific activities which will eventually result in a wide range of benefits for the culture and tourism sectors. At the same time, it provides the project partners with numerous benefits, as well as accelerates the development of their research capabilities.

I am confident that the collaboration created between the NetMAR partners- University of Cyprus, University of Southern Denmark and University of Bamberg – will be fruitful, not only for their members but also for their countries.

Establishing such partnerships is essential in order to effectively address increasing challenges and enhance our impact and advantages, seizing the opportunity to utilize scientific knowledge, know-how and data-sharing to turn challenges into results.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In a rapidly evolving world, it is now even more vital than ever to recognize the importance of research, technological development and innovation towards economic growth and social prosperity, to embrace result-driven creativity and fuel cutting edge innovation across all levels of education, society and industry.

The development of a competitive Research and Innovation environment, one that will strengthen the local ecosystem and yield value and internationally competitive services and innovative products, is fundamental. To this end, the creation of strong synergies and culture of creativity, academic excellence and research and innovation, across the country, is our top priority.

This will result in the establishment of a robust and dynamic ecosystem, that is fit-for-the-future. Adding value horizontally across all sectors of the economy and building opportunities for socioeconomic prosperity by creating new jobs, attracting investments, and at the same time strengthening Cyprus’ competitiveness in the international arena. An ecosystem that places particular emphasis on supporting young scientists and innovators and our country’s younger generation, the future of Cyprus.

Dear partners and members of NetMAR,

I am confident that we share the same vision and we all acknowledge what research, technology and innovation is capable of offering. Our mission is to contribute – to the greatest extent possible – to the creation of a dynamic and competitive economy driven by research, scientific excellence, innovation, entrepreneurship and technological development, establishing Cyprus as a regional hub.

Now is the time to leverage our strengths, learn from our shortcomings and seize the opportunities to step into the future, materializing our common mission. A mission that I as the Chief Scientist, consider as a personal challenge.

I would like to once again congratulate all the participants and wish you every success. Your hard work is paving the path towards a bright future. A path that I am sure we will walk together, driven by a restless spirit of curiosity and passion about new and exciting opportunities.


Thank you.