Innovate Cyprus is the National Strategy Framework for Research and Innovation for the period 2019-2023. The Strategy was prepared by the National Board for Research and Innovation, after an extensive consultation with private and public sector stakeholders (research and academic institutes, universities, Ministries, other organizations, etc.) and was presented to the President of the Republic of Cyprus in May 2019.
The R&I Strategic Framework, aspiring to bring vision into realization, revolves around three principal strategic pillars and six horizontal pillars that act as enablers:
- National Strategy for Research and Innovation
- Research Excellence
- Knowledge Transfer and Commercial Exploitation
- Innovative Entrepreneurship
- Cultural Change
- International Dimension
- Communication and Digital Transformation
The strategic pillars are implemented through a series of policy measures and actions following the Implementation Roadmap, and are expected to contribute substantially to the achievement of the Country’s vision.
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 with a balanced 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.
To achieve the desired outcomes proper orchestration of the R&I ecosystem is called for, supporting policies and measures and a cultural and mind shifting journey across the ecosystem. The national strategy aims towards a holistic transformation approach with a clear road map and a set of supportive actions, governance and steering mechanism. The impact of the implemented R&I strategy and policy is monitored and the strategy document and implementation roadmap will be revisited and re-tuned to allow for improvements and adjustments.
Scientific excellence is one of the strong assets of Cyprus and lies at the heart of the national R&I strategy. Promoting, recognizing and rewarding research excellence, while developing a critical mass of high-quality human base in science and technology, enables the development of cutting-edge technologies and leading research performance at institutional and national levels.
The core objective of this strategic pillar is the enhancement of knowledge transfer among the science community, the public sector, the business sector and the society. Facilitating commercial exploitation of new knowledge and technology, leads at the development of competitive and added-value products, services and processes and support social innovation.
Developing a favorable environment for technological development and innovative entrepreneurship refers, essentially, to facilitating institutional and regulatory framework conditions and supporting tools to set up and expand R&I activity, as well as to the availability and access to sufficient funding sources, including high-risk capital for innovative enterprises, startups, scaleups and established enterprises willing to address the international market with innovative products and services.
Creating a vibrant community of startups forms a priority and is being achieved by programs and incentives specially designed to respond to the needs of early-stage entrepreneurship, including the development and implementation of well-designed and sustainable support tools, such as business incubators, accelerators, innovation hubs and co-working spaces, development of an evidence-based and strategic policy suggestion on the most successful and effective way to approach the development of a Science Technology Park at the same time exploring other alternatives such as innovation hubs, virtual STPs, etc., adopted in other geographies.
Cultural change is recognized as a key strategic enabler through which a culture of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship can be cultivated and nurtured through the promotion and leverage of activities and initiatives across the education system, the industry, the state and our society, in a multi-pillar approach.
The needs of each pillar are fundamentally different, therefore a wide range of activities will be gradually introduced across the spectrum: Introducing creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship classes in the education system; Providing targeted support and training to businesses for innovation capacity building, through professional consulting, coaching and mentoring programs and introducing pathways and links to the academic and research community; Supporting innovation in the public sector by digital transformation and the removal of current obstacles of bureaucracy and provision of incentives to employees to participate in collaborative research and innovation activities.
Public awareness and innovation culture is a long and gradual process that can be accelerated by an effective and operational national R&I ecosystem as well as through the first success stories emerging at national level. To this end, early success stories will be intensively promoted to further enhance a culture of entrepreneurship, while an invitation should be extended to successful Cypriot entrepreneurs living and working abroad, to come to Cyprus and provide inspiration and encouragement to the local community and ecosystem.
The enhancement of extroversion of the national R&I system and the development of targeted strategic collaborations with selected countries and international organizations in fields including science, technology and innovation is an important objective of the national R&I strategic framework as well as the promotion of Cyprus as a R&I hub, aiming to attract foreign investment in high-tech companies based in Cyprus.
The effective communication of the reform of the R&I governance system, R&I strategy, as well as defined policies, actions, measures and results will succeed in increasing stakeholder awareness at national level of the benefits of R&I, its impact to the national economy and contribution in addressing local and international social challenges. The implementation of a comprehensive branding and communication strategy will aim to address stakeholders at all levels, ensuring their contribution and commitment to the implementation of the national R&I, as a collective effort. Addressing the international dimension of communication, the design of a targeted international campaign will support in promoting Cyprus as a regional hub of scientific excellence and innovation. At the same time, building on economic and science diplomacy, we can promote Cyprus’ interests in R&I overseas. Such effort could include mobilization of Cyprus’ Embassies abroad, as well as Cypriot scientists and innovators, to promote Cyprus science and entrepreneurship at the international scene.
Digital transformation marks a radical rethinking of how a company, an organization, the public sector and the society uses technology, people and processes to radically change performance. It is, essentially, not just moving all processes into a digital format, but fundamentally shifting thinking to accommodate the digital environment into all products and processes (online and offline). In this way, digital transformation is a fundamental enabler, facilitator and in some cases prerequisite for innovation (particularly in technology-enabled innovations), whereas in some cases can even coincide with innovation. The role of digital transformation is, moreover, instrumental in enhancing communication and knowledge sharing among stakeholders within ecosystems of research and innovation.
It is therefore necessary to have in place strategies, technologies, infrastructures, skills and competencies for digital transformation of the economy interlocked with the R&I ecosystem, as facilitating and enabling factors for knowledge sharing and innovation.