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22-11-2019 20:43

Address by the President of the Republic Mr. Nicos Anastasiades at the Public Inauguration Event of the EXCELSIOR Horizon 2020 Project

It is a great pleasure to join you this evening at the Public Inauguration Event of the EXCELSIOR Horizon 2020 Project.

I highly appreciate the opportunity to address such a distinguished audience with guests from the European Commission, the EXCELSIOR Consortium, the academic and business communities, acclaimed researchers and scientists from Cyprus and abroad, and all of you attending this unique event today.

I wish at the outset to congratulate the Cyprus University of Technology, the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works, and the three world-renowned partners of the EXCELSIOR Project and to convey my deep appreciation for your determination and efforts to submit such an exceptional proposal, ranked in one of the top positions.

Despite the extremely competitive process, the EXCELSIOR Project has successfully secured the EU Horizon 2020 funding. I take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the European Commission for this decision, in addition to the funding of five other Centres of Excellence in Cyprus.

This constitutes further evidence of the competitiveness Cyprus enjoys in the field of research and innovation, both at European and international level.

It is a situation that the Government aims to strongly support and further develop, through a coordinated effort, in the framework of our new national Strategy for Research and Innovation 2019-2023.

Within this context, the Republic of Cyprus will award 15 million euros to each of the six Centres of Excellence covering a period of 15 years, a funding which will enable our country upgrade its prospects for innovative research and entrepreneurship, while creating new employment opportunities for high-level scientists and researchers.

Our Government has set out bold and ambitious targets, aimed at enabling Cyprus to become a dynamic and competitive economy, guided by research, scientific excellence, innovation, technological development and entrepreneurship.

The decision to establish a National Board for Research and Innovation as the primary advisory body, as well as the assignment of the new role of the Chief Scientist to lead research and innovation forward, are some of the most significant steps taken by the Government towards this direction during the past year.

Furthermore, the establishment of a Deputy Ministry of Innovation and Digital Policy marks a new era for these fundamental areas in Cyprus and will further enhance efforts for an integrated governance model.  

I wish to assure you that all competent authorities, in close cooperation with the EXCELSIOR Consortium, will provide any assistance deemed necessary in order to develop the Eratosthenes Centre of Excellence into a world class Research and Innovation Hub for Earth Observation, a reference Centre in Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa.

I am also particularly pleased that the Project has been supported by almost 100 different organisations, governmental authorities, municipalities and local industries. When we work together, we are always stronger and more successful.

It has been a team effort from the beginning. We need to ensure that all stakeholders and partners involved will continue this fruitful cooperation.

As a Government, we consider the Eratosthenes Centre to be instrumental in transforming Cyprus into a regional hub for research and development.

Supporting such initiatives is part of our efforts to boost Cyprus’ innovation performance, capitalising on the results of innovative scientific research from Cypriot universities and academic institutions, as well as taking advantage of the expertise and knowledge of foreign centres and institutions like the partners of the EXCELSIOR Consortium, for the benefit of our economy, our society and our citizens. 

In concluding, ladies and gentlemen, I wish to express my sincere respect and appreciation to Professor Diofantos Hadjimitsis, the project coordinator, and his dedicated team for their hard work and for succeeding in this highly competitive procedure, as well as extending my best wishes for every success in your future endeavours.

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NN/RM/SCH