National R&I Strategy
The adoption of a national R&I strategy aims at the technological, social and economic development of Cyprus, based on research and innovative entrepreneurship. This addresses the need to shift the existing model of national economic growth to a sustainable, innovation-driven model and requires significant increase of the national expenditure for research and development (R&D), an indicator relevant to the maturity and effectiveness of national R&I ecosystems.
Adopting an ambitious national target for R&D expenditure to reach 1,5% of GDP by 2023, translating into approximately 280 additional Mil. Euro channelled annually into the national R&I ecosystem, with a balanced (50%-50%) contribution between the public and private sector, will intensify R&D activity and will enable Cyprus to move up on the EU R&D investment intensity scale.
Increasing the funds alone is not enough for achieving the desired outcomes, as this is a more complex and challenging endeavour that needs proper orchestration of the R&I ecosystem, supporting policies and measures and -the most challenging- a cultural and mind shifting journey across the ecosystem; and this is what exactly the national strategy plan is aiming for – a holistic transformation approach with a clear road map and a set of supportive actions, governance & steering mechanism. The impact of the implemented R&I strategy and policy will be monitored and the strategy document and implementation roadmap will be revisited and re-tuned to allow for improvements and adjustments.
As a small country with a relatively young R&I system and limited resources, Cyprus needs to balance the need for establishing of a fully-developed, functional R&I ecosystem with the need for focusing resources on priority niche areas, selected based on identified strengths and opportunities for the national innovation system, including sector-driven R&I investments.
Smart specialisation has been addressed for the first time during the period 2015-2020 through the Smart Specialisation Strategy for Cyprus (S3CY) adopted by the Council of Ministers in 2015. S3CY prioritised domains, areas and economic activities where the country was identified to have a competitive advantage or the potential to generate knowledge-driven growth through investments in Research and Innovation (including investments co-financed by European Structural and Investment Funds – ESIF), thus upgrading its competitiveness.
Being an integral part of the national R&I system and taking into account the new ESIF programming period 2017-2027, the Smart Specialisation Strategy is under a process of updating, identifying areas with capacity for innovation and enhancing the impact of national R&I investment.
The mechanism for funding and implementing Smart Specialisation priorities and R&I strategy objectives is the RESTART 2016-2020 Programmes for Research, Technological Development and Innovation, of the Research and Innovation Foundation.