RESEARCH: Cyprus appoints first Chief Scientist, incentives for startups

Kyriakos Kokkinos, a former executive at IBM Cyprus and EMEA with nearly three decades of experience in the IT sector, has been appointed as the island’s first Chief Scientist, starting a new era for research and innovation, with the government announcing a set of measures to boost startups.

During the swearing-in ceremony in Nicosia of the Chief Scientist for Research and Innovation, President Nicos Anastasiades stressed the importance of the introduction of the institution and how research and innovation can bolster the economy.

The Chief Scientist is mandated to promote growth in research and innovation at the national level. The government had established in October last year, a National Council for Research and Innovation as the leading advisory body for the drafting of a national strategy.

Stressing that creating an ecosystem for the promotion of research and innovation is one of the most important reforms put forward by his administration, Anastasiades numbered a series of actions to be undertaken with the Chief Scientist’s contribution.

Amongst the list is a tax relaxation scheme for startups and innovative businesses which will see businesses receiving 50% tax discount on their investment.

The government is to support the development of new innovation production formats, such as clusters, and promote alternative financing methods such as venture capital and crowd-funding.

It also plans to promote legislation to facilitate foreign university spinoffs.

During the ceremony, President Anastasiades announced that the government will spend a total of EUR 400 mln on infrastructure related to research and innovation.

Talking about actions already undertaken by the government, Anastasiades said that a working group in cooperation with the House has been set up to develop a national strategy for the development of blockchain technology, and design the country’s future development in the digital age.

He added that all these actions converge towards the creation of a Deputy Ministry for Research and Innovation.

Kyriakos Kokkinos has a long experience in the private sector with companies involved in research, technology and innovation and has recently served as vice president of the Research Promotion Foundation.

Kokkinos is a former Executive Director at IBM with about 27 years of experience in the information technology sector. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and has an Executive MBA (Strategic Management) from the Henley Management College in the UK.

Source: Financial Mirror