The Consortium RISE (Research Centre on Interactive Media, Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies) aspires to convert the historic center of Nicosia, the part of the city within the walls, into an ecosystem of innovation and creativity, despite the existence of the buffer zone that divides the capital of the island.
The very ambitious project was presented on Monday at a press conference in Nicosia by the representatives of the Consortium, namely the Municipality of Nicosia, the Cyprus University, the CUT, the Open University of Cyprus, the Max Planck Institute in Germany and University College London in the UK. The Municipality of Nicosia is the co-ordinatior of the project.
Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis said the proposal has secured a very high rating and ranked seventh among the 169 proposals which have applied for financial support from the initial phase of TEAMING Action.
He explained that the funding amounts to € 0,5 m but at the same time there is a prospect for additional grants of € 15 – € 20 million during the second stage evaluation that will take place next year.
RISE aims to become a dynamic center of excellence in research and innovation and will host various workshops, display sites, start-ups etc.
The Mayor said that the venue chosen to set up RISE is adjacent to the Green Line and this creates advantages and benefits.
Yiorkadjis added that the area will further develop into a businesses hub and start-up companies. He referred to the benefits for long-term bicommunal cooperation between the island’s two communities to revitalize the historic center under the Nicosia Master Plan.
Nicosia Mayor also said that there is considerable potential to use abandoned infrastructure that already exists in place, something which will revitalise the area.
Rector of University of Cyprus Constantinos Christofides said the center primarily aims at setting up a high-level international research hub which will improve the research profile of the country.
CUT Rector Elpida Keravnou said that RISE will provide tremendous opportunity for Cyprus, adding that the business plan for the development of the proposed research center of excellence will be presented next June.
The President of the Executive Committee of Open University Costas Christou said the University will be joining the RISE Center with a Foundation of Intellect, created to understand mental processes normally associated with individual or collective intelligence such as learning, reasoning, sense, communication and cooperation.
The capital Nicosia has been divided since 1963 when intercommunal strife broke out between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots. In 1974, Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island’s northern areas. Since then, Cyprus has been divided and repeated rounds of UN-led talks have not yielded any results to reunite the country.