Speech of the Chief Scientist for Research and Innovation of the Cyprus Republic, Dr. Nikolas Mastroyiannopoulos at the Reflect Festival Old Port, Limassol | 14th October 2021

Dear Participants, Speakers and Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome everyone at Reflect Festival; A celebration of the future, which highlights technological advancements and brings together curious minds from Europe and the Middle East.

As the Chief Scientist for Research and Innovation of the Republic of Cyprus and the Chairman of the Research and Innovation Foundation, it is an honor to proudly support Reflect as a Gold Sponsor as well as to attend this event, which gives us the opportunity to interact with leading entrepreneurs, students, and thinkers from all over the world.

I would like to sincerely congratulate the organizers for their efforts to boost innovative entrepreneurship and technological development in our country, but most importantly for creating the forum to bring together tech companies, startups, corporates, policy, and decision makers. For uniting doers to pave, together, the way towards a brighter future.

Dear Guests,

Research and Innovation in Cyprus is rapidly evolving. Cyprus is home to world-class academic and research centers, a dynamic community of innovative businesses and a well-educated and highly skilled multilingual and tech-savvy talent.

In fact, Cyprus saw the second-best improvement in the European Union. It is among the top five countries that improved their innovation performance by over 25%, in the European Innovation Scoreboard of 2021 and has risen to the 28th position in the Global Innovation Index in 2020.

We are on the right track. However, we still need to fully embrace result-driven creativity, fuel cutting-edge innovation across all levels of education, society, and industry, diversify the economy and develop the proper conditions that will infuse an entrepreneurial mindset and create new prospects, turning challenges into realized, scalable business opportunities.

The Cyprus Government has implemented a series of breakthrough reforms and investments that reflect its strong commitment to establish Research and Innovation as a fundamental pillar of the country’s new growth model, capable of expanding the productive base of the economy, fostering innovative entrepreneurship, accelerating the green and digital transition.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We stand committed to implement the Government’s strategy on the ground. Our efforts are geared to the creation of strong synergies, and a culture of creativity, academic excellence and research and innovation across the country towards a robust and dynamic ecosystem.

An ecosystem of doers that is fit-for-the-future, adding value horizontally across all sectors of the economy, building opportunities for socioeconomic prosperity, by creating new jobs, attracting investments, and facilitating access to high-risk capital, strengthening Cyprus’ competitiveness in the international arena.

Building on the Research and Innovation Foundation investments so far,

  • the RIF flagship Innovation Programs with over €20 million to startups and innovative companies for the creation and development of innovative products and services with international potential – A Program with significant impact with 85 companies funded, leading to the creation of 188 new jobs.
  • And the Bridge Funding programs launched in April, with a budget of €15 million, aiming to provide incentives for private and public academic and research organizations to collaborate, and strengthen the R&D activity and hence competitiveness of the entire local ecosystem.

We are entering the new program period of 2021-2027 funded through the Resilience and Recovery and EU’s Structural Funds with the aim to introduce future proof reforms, investments, and incentives, currently we are in the process of launching these new funding programs.

Our aim is clear: to transform Cyprus into an innovation-making machine and establish our country as a regional innovation and tech hub, reinforcing its position in the global market.

To paraphrase the American entrepreneur, Scott Belsky: “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen”. A phrase more relevant than ever before. With the brains and talent of our young generation, the solid partnerships we have formed, the drive and the government’s clear vision and political will, I strongly believe that now is the time to bring it all together and ignite Cyprus into a new era.

The time to leverage our strengths and empower innovation. Now is the time to invest in research and innovation, to be creative, collaborate and shape our future, together. After all, we are all part of the same startup and now is the time to scaleup.

Dear Friends,

Once again, I would like to congratulate the organizers. We are proud to have contributed to making this initiative happen and I am sincerely confident that the discussions will prove to be valuable and beneficial for everyone.

I am looking forward to seeing you all later during my keynote “Corporates and Startups, A complicated relationship, A great marriage”. This is of great strategic importance to the country and myself, which is also reflected from the title I gave and an amazing panel discussion that will follow.

Thanks for reflecting the future that starts today, not tomorrow.