Strengthening UK – Cyprus cooperation on research and innovation

The British High Commission hosted a visit to London of Cyprus’ new Chief Scientist Kyriacos Kokkinos on 6-7 March in order to strengthen partnerships between the UK and Cyprus in research and innovation.

During the visit, the Chief Scientist Mr Kyriacos Kokkinos, accompanied by the Director General of the Research Promotion Foundation Dr Vassilis Tsakalos and other RPF officers, held meetings with Governmental Officials of the UK, including UK Government’s General Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance. The Cypriot officials also visited the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the UK Research and Innovation, and met representatives of the Foreign Office’s Science and Innovation Network including Professor Carole Mundell, Chief Scientific Adviser of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office; they visited the Imperial College, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, and the Cabinet Office of Digital Services, which leads on the UK’s digital transformation.

The two sides agreed to take specific initiatives to create mutually beneficial partnerships which will offer new development opportunities in the of the entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem.

The visit gave the Cypriot delegation the opportunity to understand the governance of the UK’s research and innovation system and experience best practice in Britain, which is a world leader in the field.

Commenting on the visit, Mr. Kokkinos said it had two goals. “On one hand, to explore possibilities of deepening cooperation between our two countries on research and innovation, building on our multilevel partnerships in academia and research and on the other hand, to create new partnerships which will focus on common modern challenges like ageing population and climate change”, he said. According to Mr Kokkinos, these challenges can become fields of developing innovative solutions based on modern technologies like artificial intelligence.

“Despite its small geographic size, Cyprus is not an ‘island’ but a bridge of cooperation between Europe and the Middle East in the fields of science, research and innovation“, he said.

High Commissioner Stephen Lillie said: “This visit is an important milestone in further strengthening research and innovation ties with Cyprus, where we are already strong partners, but also structuring them in a more decisive way. The two biggest research projects in Cyprus (KIOS and RISE) are partnerships with UK institutions, and there are currently over 500 collaborative links between our countries via the Horizon 2020 programme. We are natural partners in research and innovation given our strong education links and similar institutional frameworks and we are keen to build on this in the future.”