On Tuesday, 20th of July 2021, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Constantinos Petrides, the Permanent Secretary of the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Dr Stelios Chimonas, the Chief Scientist of Research and Innovation of the Republic of Cyprus, Dr Nikolas Mastroyiannopoulos, along with the Director General of the Research and Innovation Foundation, Mr. Theodoros Loukaides, and the Press Officer of the Ministry of Finance and Minister’s Associate, Mrs. Andri Kounnou, visited CyI’s premises in Athalassa to discuss how to reinforce the existing collaboration, as well as possible new areas of cooperation.
The opportunity for the visit arose when Assoc. Prof. Theodoros Zachariades met with Minister Petrides during the presentation of the Cyprus Recovery and Resilience Plan 2021-2026, earlier in May this year. Prof. Zachariades along with Dr Elias Giannakis and other colleagues, have contributed to the development of the National Recovery and Resilient plan.
Hosting the meeting was CyI President, Prof. George K. Christophides, in the presence of Institute Professor and Advisor to the President of the Republic and Special Envoy on Climate Change, Prof. Costas N. Papanicolas, CyI Associate Provost, Prof. Sturt Manning, CyI Vice President for Operations, Dr Michalis Yiangou, CaSToRC Director, Prof. Constantia Alexandrou, CyI Assistant Vice-President for International Relations, Dr Nicolas Jarraud, CyI Assistant Vice-President of Strategy and Development, Dr Konstantinos Kleovoulou, CyI Associate Professor in Energy Policy, Dr Theodoros Zachariadis, CyI Associate Research Scientist in Water and Natural Resource Management Research and Economics, Dr Elias Giannakis, CyI Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Dr Fabio Montagnino, and CyI Director of Research and Technical Support, Dr Vassilios Tsakalos.
Following a brief presentation about CyI by Dr Nicolas Jarraud, a presentation of the Cyprus Government’s Initiative on Climate Change Initiative in the EMME region, by Prof. Costas N. Papanicolas, and a presentation about CyI’s Green Campus Plan by Dr. Konstantinos Kleovoulou, the delegation was given a guided tour of CyI laboratories and other research infrastructures, including USRL, HPCF, and STARC’s Virtual Environments/Augmented Reality Lab.
Addressing the Minister, Prof. Christophides said that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit hard our societies as well as our economies. Nonetheless, the scientific community always had a pivotal role to play in such times of crises, either through the discovery of new solutions or through focusing on new opportunities. However, our planning for addressing the pandemic and its negative financial effects should come in the framework of a sustainable growth strategy. Addressing Climate Change and at the same time achieving recovery from the COVID-19 crisis will be both a challenging task and an opportunity to build a better future for all. “The Cyprus Institute remains one of the government’s closest allies in combating climate change as it supports the scientific component of the Cyprus Initiative on Coordinating Climate Change Actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East region since 2019”, Prof. Christophides noted.
In his greeting, Mr. Constantinos Petrides, focused on the crucial role of science in the extraordinary times we live, and stated that conspiracies and pseudoscience will take humanity back to the dark ages of misinformation. “This makes our presence here, but also the cooperation between government institutions and the scientific community more important than ever, because if we are going to lose science from conspiracies, then I am afraid we are going back to the dark ages in Europe and the world”, he noted.
The Minister met with the scientific team of The Cyprus Institute which contributed to the analysis of the economic and environmental impact of the Cyprus Recovery and Resilience Plan, and said that the purpose of his visit is to learn more about the Institute and its prospects, which are correlated with the prospects of Cyprus and the effort to transform the country into a knowledge-based economy, governed by sustainable development. In addition, the Minister added that it is very important to stay together, as science comes with rationalism, critical thinking, elements that we must protect. “I believe that The Cyprus Institute has a catalytic role to play, not only in the scientific field, but also in many aspects of society in Cyprus”, he said.
Finally, the delegation from the Ministry of Finance, the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, and the Research and Innovation Foundation, expressed their thanks for the opportunity to visit, and congratulated the administration and the scientists of the Institute for the impressive, modern facilities and their research achievements.