Speech of the Chief Scientist for Research and Innovation of the Republic of Cyprus, Dr. Nikolas Mastroyiannopoulos at the 8th CSHG Virtual Conference | 4 December 2020

Dear President of the Cyprus Society of Human Genetics, Dr. Tanteles,

Dear Professors,

Dear Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that I stand before you here today, at the 8th International Conference of the Cyprus Society of Human Genetics.

I myself had the honour to serve twice on the board of the CSHG and is with pride that I congratulate everyone for this impeccable event and their continuous commitment in the field. Holding such events is very important, as they bring together distinguished professors and scientists from across the globe, eager to discuss the latest developments in the field of human genetics and biomedical sciences.

As a researcher for over 20 years, I can only confirm the importance of bringing together the required mechanisms to enable better diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human genetic diseases. Collaboration is key and by offering a common platform to national and international biomedical professionals, the Cyprus Society of Human Genetics can serve as a catalyst in this process.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The pandemic we are currently facing, is a public health crisis that makes further development in the health sector more crucial than ever. I must, however, acknowledge that the outbreak of the pandemic and the new circumstances that we have been called to deal with, have not only highlighted the vital role of Research and Innovation, but have also pushed us to seek innovative solutions in the sector.

Matters related to healthcare modernisation, the creation of sustainable healthcare systems, the significance of disruptive innovation in healthcare, the conduct of transnational research and access to new innovative technologies, have dynamically emerged as the key to turn precarious challenges into opportunities.

Cyprus is home to many distinguished scientists, who have devoted their lives in conducting extensive research and demonstrating internationally recognized research results. And today, I am honestly very proud that I have the opportunity to be among some of our country’s greatest scientists, who continuously honour Cyprus through their high-quality research and its impact.

In a rapidly evolving world, it is now more vital than ever before to embrace Research & Innovation in addressing key societal challenges across all levels and improving social well-being. Such benefits include, among others, the access to high-quality healthcare services and healthy ageing settings.

The Government, recognizing the importance of Research and Innovation, has implemented a series of breakthrough reforms, including the recent establishment of the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy and the Office of the Chief Scientist. These reflect the strong commitment of the Government to establish Research and Innovation as a fundamental base of a new sustainable, innovation-driven growth model, contributing to expanding the productive base of the Cyprus economy.

In order to meet our objectives, the national R&I strategy aims at the technological, social and economic development of Cyprus, based on the strategic pillars of research excellence, innovative entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer and commercial exploitation. The strategy is enabled by culture change, internationalization and digital and green transition.

All of the above, undoubtedly reflect the State’s strong commitment to establish Research and Innovation as a fundamental base of a new growth model, capable of expanding the productive base of the Cyprus economy.

Dear friends,

The development of a productive Research and Innovation environment, one which will strengthen the local ecosystem and produce high–quality research results as well as value-added and internationally competitive services and innovative products, is fundamental. To this end, our number one priority is to create strong synergies and cultivate a culture of creativity, academic excellence, research and innovation across the country. This will result in the establishment of a dynamic, efficient and vibrant local ecosystem, fit-for-the-future, adding value horizontally across all sectors of the economy, while building new opportunities.

Having this in mind, academia and business must increase cooperation networks, bringing the best talent of our research community together, so as to allow knowledge to be transferred and thus lead to the commercialization of research results.

To this end, the Research and Innovation Foundation is setting up a national Knowledge Transfer Office aiming to convey results stemming from scientific and technological research to the market and thus to the wider society. This in fact is one of our top priorities, it’s our obligation! We need to establish this channel which will allow our investment in research and development to transform into a real benefit for the economy and society, through innovative technologies, products and services.

At the same time, we work hard to achieve strategic partnerships and collaborations with countries that have advanced innovation ecosystems providing our local ecosystem with access to the latest scientific and technological breakthroughs, forming strong bonds to the benefit of our scientists and entrepreneurs, establishing channels for the internationalization and transfer of knowledge, as well as promoting Cyprus as a regional hub for R&I.

In closing, I would like to once again congratulate you for this remarkable initiative and wish you every success. Shaping a new knowledge-based society will serve as a starting point, whereas national and international synergies will yield results faster. The local ecosystem has already laid the foundations for a promising future ahead. The path is mapped out and the aim is clear. It is my firm belief that by joining our forces, a new era will emerge, leading to exciting opportunities for our country.

Thank you.