Cyprus is an innovation follower based on the results of the European Innovation Scoreboard Report for 2011 and its average annual growth in innovation performance reached 4,7%, which is one of the highest in Europe for 2011.

The Joint Research Center of the European Commission, the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation and the Planning Bureau of Cyprus organised on Thursday a Conference titled “Scientific support to innovation in the services sector”.

Innovation in the services sector, a sector that accounts for about the two thirds of GDP in Europe, is particularly important for stimulating economic growth and for creating new jobs, said Interior Minister Eleni Mavrou who addressed the Conference. The size and the wide spectrum of the services sector affirms the enormous potential existing for bringing in innovations that could improve significantly the way we are doing businesses, enhancing Europe’s competitiveness, and contributing to the creation of jobs and the employment of young people, who suffer the most during this economic crisis, she added.

Mavrou noted that the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU has reached a partial general approach in 4 legislative proposals of Horizon 2020 Referring to the Horizon 2020, the new EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation for the period 2014-2020: the Rules for Participation and Dissemination in Horizon 2020, the Specific Programme implementing Horizon 2020, the amended Regulation of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and the Strategic Innovation Agenda of EIT. “It is indeed a great achievement” she underlined.

 

The Minister added that important steps forward were also made during the Cyprus Presidency term on two more priorities it set: concerning the European Research Area and the development of EU international cooperation in research and innovation, with a particular emphasis on the Euro- Mediterranean Cooperation.

 

For the European Research Area, the Council has adopted Conclusions which include specific measures towards the completion of the European Research Area by 2014, she said, adding that regarding the development of EU international cooperation in research and innovation, EU research ministers expressed in the Council their strong support to the new strategy for strengthening international cooperation in research and innovation, as proposed in the recent Communication of the European Commission.

 

In addition to this, Mavrou said that the Ministers have confirmed their commitment, expressed at the Informal meeting of the Council on 20 July 2012, to promote Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in research and innovation, as well as the readiness of their countries to participate in the preparation of a joint research programme on Euro-Mediterranean region, based on Article 185 of the EU Treaty.

 

The Permanent Secretary of the Planning Bureau and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Research Promotion Foundation George Georghiou noted in his speech that today in Cyprus a considerable number of public and private research centres, institutions and universities alongside with several enterprises are performing and investing in research and innovation in order to create new knowledge, improve their products and services and compete at international level.

Georghiou said that the innovation performance in Cyprus is currently at a medium level compared to the EU average, however, he added that according to the European Innovation Scoreboard Report for 2011, Cyprus ranked 13th and characterized as innovation follower, while its average annual growth in innovation performance reach the 4,7% one of the highest in Europe for 2011.

“Although we believe that during the past years we have done considerably well towards a better innovation performance, we still need substantial and urgent action. A whole range of activities aiming to enhance the capabilities of Cyprus for innovation are implemented under the Cyprus National Research and Innovation System” he said.

In the frame of the forthcoming Government Strategic Development Plan for the period 2014-2020 and in the context of next programming period of the Structural Funds of the EU 2014-2020 for the deployment of the Union Cohesion Policy, Cyprus is in a process of formulating its new priorities and setting up its smart specialisation targets in order to further develop its capacities and fully utilise its advantages at international level, he added.

In this strategic plan, Georghiou noted, innovation is going to play a central role as the driving force for economic and social development.

“In a world that changes continuously a new dynamic service market can vitalise the economy and advert the effects of the current economic crisis” he said.

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