In the context of the Lisbon strategy, the European Union aims for expenditure in research and development (R&D) to reach 3% of GDP by 2010. This goal has been renewed for 2020 with the Europe2020 strategy. Consequently, Cyprus encourages businesses to invest in research and innovation to boost growth and employment.
Alongside R&D, innovation is essential for businesses to develop and stay competitive.
Intellectual property must be protected to encourage research.
The Research Promotion Foundation (RPF), established in 1996, is the key mechanism for promoting research, technological development and innovation in Cyprus. Through the Framework-Programme, which usually lasts for three years and is mainly directed towards businesses, research and voluntary organisations, the RFP aims to make a positive contribution towards the social and economic progress of Cyprus through a long-term approach of promoting a culture of research and innovation in Cyprus.
The programme bundle of the Research Promotion Foundation for research, technological development and innovation (Bundle 2009-2010) is a medium-term development mechanism in the broader context of national development strategy. It operates in parallel to a number of other complementary policies and programmes and specialises in promoting research, technological development and innovation. The 2009-2010 Bundle has five priorities:
- Priority I: development of multidisciplinary research
- Priority II: development of human resources in research
- Priority III: development of research and innovation in the industry
- Priority IV: development of research infrastructure
- Priority V: development of international networking and collaboration
Enterprises may participate, under certain conditions, in all priorities of the RPF 2009-2010 Bundle. In addition, priority ΙΙΙ aims specifically at the development of research and innovation in enterprises, with the following main goals: a) strengthening the inherent potential of companies to develop innovative activities, b) bridging the gap between the business and research communities and strengthening the support systems of innovation development, c) improving human resources potential, d) creating mechanisms of financing innovative activities and e) the cultivation of an innovative culture and public awareness on research, technological development and innovation.
Priority III consists of three programmes:
- "Innovation" Programme
"Business Research" programme
The programme aims to help develop and disseminate research activities for companies by providing incentives to develop research activities, familiarise companies with the process, function and overall benefits of the research activity as an integral part of the overall design and operation of a healthy business. The programme includes the following two actions:
"EUREKA Cyprus" programme
The EUREKA organisation was founded in 1985 with the aim of becoming a pan-European network for the promotion of industrial research and development. Through the activities of the business organisation, member states' research centres and universities have the opportunity to develop and use technologies needed to boost competitiveness and improve quality of life.
The philosophy of EUREKA projects is based on the principles of the bottom-up approach. What this means is that the participants themselves formulate a specific project, its objectives, partners, the contribution of each and every one of them as well as the way in which they exploit research results.
Since 2002 the Research Promotion Foundation acts as the EUREKA national office and is responsible for managing the participation of Cyprus in the activities of the organisation. The RPF has therefore established the "EUREKA" Cyprus programme as a selection mechanism for Cypriot entities wishing to participate in EUREKA projects.
The "EUREKA Cyprus" programme includes the following three actions:
- "EUREKA - New projects" Action
- "EUREKA - "Current projects" Action
- "Eurostars Cyprus" Action
The "Innovation" programme aims to support enterprises in strengthening endogenous capacity to develop innovative activities and addressing the lack of knowledge and innovation management practices. In addition, as far as the wider social and business environment is concerned, it aims to bridge the gap between the business and academic/research communities by developing support mechanisms and cultivating an innovative culture.
The 2009-2010 Bundle includes the following four supporting actions:
- "Innovation Vouchers" Action
- "Patents" Action
- "Innovation Networks" Action
- "Research and Innovation Mediation Centres" Action
- "Innovation" Programme
The COST European Programme (European Co-operation in the Field of Scientific and Technical Research) was established to create a framework of cooperation between European countries through the promotion and strengthening of synergies in Europe on scientific and technological research. Cyprus is a member of this programme, which has evolved into one of the largest frameworks for research cooperation in Europe.
In addition to the EU Member States, most Central and Eastern European countries participate to the programme. In addition and without any geographical restrictions, there are research institutions/organisations from countries that are not members of COST.
The participation procedure for Cypriot researchers in COST actions is as follows:
- in the event that any researchers would like to submit a proposal for a new action, it first requires the establishment of a group of five researchers/research institutions from five different member states of the programme and the proposal to be submitted to the Committee of Senior Officials for approval in accordance with the guidelines of the organisation.
- To participate in an already approved research activity, the relevant application is submitted to the Research Promotion Foundation (RPF) using the appropriate form. To participate in an already approved COST research activity, the relevant application is accompanied by the curriculum vitae of the researcher. Upon the application being positively assessed by the RPF, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) must be signed, as requested by the Cypriot Government, and the researcher is appointed as a member of the action's management committee. The researcher would be invited to attend the next meeting of the network.
The Ε UROSTARS programme provides funding and support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved in research and development. These companies meet the criteria established by the EU for SMEs, 10% of their full-time staff is engaged in research and development, and 10% of their annual turnover is invested in research and development activities.
The main objectives are:
- developing a sustainable support mechanism for SMEs in research and development
- facilitating SMEs' access to funding for research activities,
- simplified evaluation and funding procedures (3 months between the submission of a proposal and the funding decision) and,
- coordination of national research funding programmes.
The EU framework programme comes seventh in a series of framework programmes for research and technological development (FP7) and aims to improve the competitiveness of the European Union through the development of the frontiers of knowledge, the creation of the European Research Area and the achievement of the goals set by the Lisbon Council in 2002.
Any legal entity (private, commercial or industrial enterprises, government organisations, universities, research organisations, etc.) in a country participating in the programme can participate and obtain financing from the EU. To facilitate the participation of Cypriot entities to the FP7 programme national contact points have been established for all programme activities.
The Research Promotion Foundation is also responsible for informing all interested parties about the first framework-programme under the European Union's Competitiveness and Innovation Framework-Programme (CIP).