CORDIS - EU research results

Research Centre in Interactive Media, Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RISE (Research Centre in Interactive Media, Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-05-31

RISE aims to build the first research centre in Cyprus focusing on Interactive media, Smart systems and Emerging technologies with a view to becoming a centre of excellence empowering knowledge and technology transfer in the region. The effort is a joint venture between the three public universities of Cyprus (University of Cyprus, Cyprus University of Technology, Open University of Cyprus), the Municipality of Nicosia (coordinator), and two renowned international partners, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics (Germany) and University College London (UK). If RISE is funded through to the second round, it will act as an integrator of academic research and industrial innovation, towards the sustainable fuelling of the scientific, technological, and economic growth of Cyprus and Europe.

There is a great need in Cyprus to empower academia and industry to excel in their research and development activities as well as to interact through a centralized knowledge and expertise transfer hub that RISE as a research centre is designed to be. Key identified indicators of success in similar research centres are all met in Cyprus, such as a high rate of tertiary education attainment among adults (CY, 39.3%, a record for EU with a total average of 28.2%) openness indicated by a 14% population trend fuelled primarily by foreigners (20% of total population) and EU nationals (13% of the population) second only to Luxemburg , as well as the world renowned academic institutions collaborating through synergies with RISE.

RISE will operate by embracing the motto “Inspired by Humans. Designed for Humans.”, producing technologies to work “in the wild”, as its guiding philosophy. Such a focus, geared towards applications and going beyond the traditional academic confines, is expected to bring direct tangible benefits to the local society, but also to ensure the prospects of an economically viable operation of the Centre.

Our plan is to host RISE in the heart of Nicosia, as part of the strategy of the city to foster the development of an innovation and creativity ecosystem, with a core in its central area. We believe that RISE will be catalytic in this respect: by complementing other infrastructures and services in this area; by mobilizing significant knowledge networks and social capital; by providing a solid scientific base that will encourage the development and application of new technologies and innovative entrepreneurship; by offering support to the start-up community and established innovation companies. The establishment and operation of RISE in the historic core of Nicosia, at the heart of the designated Quarter of Creative Industries, allows specifically the materialization of these synergies while giving a breath of fresh air by turning the island’s (and Europe’s last) divided capital into an innovation hub.

The inclusion of labs equipped with key emerging technologies will be a first for the country enabling the incorporation of scientific methodologies and state of the art techniques into the research and product development pipeline of entities in Cyprus while minimizing their risk and costs.

The high calibre pool of science, engineering and business talent with multinational experience that exists in Cyprus coupled with a highly educated workforce and the synergies with leading European organizations, such as MPI and UCL, will ensure a constant supply of experts and innovators that will be empowered by RISE as a resource to succeed. The geographic location of Cyprus at the crossroads between Europe Asia and Africa, as well as Cyprus membership in the European Union and Eurozone since 2008 and direct access to a large pull of RTD funding, will add to the sense of opportunity for international entities to collaborate with Cyprus utilizing the RISE resources.
RISE’s business plan is aiming to empower research in Cyprus, foster innovation and expand opportunities that will act as a catalyst to the expansion of RTD activities, aiming at both high scientific impact as well as in bridging the gap between research and societal impact. RISE’s business plan ensures the long term sustainability and growth of the research centre by adopting established successful practices in Europe repurposed to the Cypriot reality.
The RISE project has completed its stage 1, first year of funding. In this year the RISE centre created by the project has being designed, disseminated, and its potential impact demonstrated through the showcases at international and national events. It was designed through direct interaction with relevant grassroots, governmental, academic and corporate organizations to ensure that it will meet the support of Cypriot citizens and stakeholders by introducing capacity to perform research with a direct positive impact on the research and entrepreneurial community and the Cypriot society.The outcome of this project was the creation of the RISE Business Plan (BP) and the final proposal, which is based on the BP, for Stage 2 of the TEAMING call.

More specifically towards drafting the Business Plan several activities with important outcomes have been completed based on the work-packages of the RISE project - Stage 1. Beyond the Project Management WP, that included the standard activities for a smooth and well structured coordination of the project, activities in the three others WPs were contributing to the draft of the BP and to activities shaping various aspects of a prosperous research centre.

Within the 'WP2: Dissemination, Exploitation and Communication' WP:
(i) the corporate identity of RISE research centre has been designed and the website of the project was developed and was continuously updated with information about the activities of the consortium related to the project
(ii) continuously dissemination to the general public for the activities of the RISE project through social media dedicated pages, informative videos and leaflets that led to public awareness
(iii) an open-event (in the beginning of the project) and a workshop in Nicosia (around the end of the project) have been organized and both greatly well attended with audience from academia, industry, startups, and representatives from various authorities and organizations that led to local community engagement
(iv) meetings with key persons in local organizations, authorities, ministries and entities and visits by consortium members to research centers abroad that all led to letter of supports and commitments for the RISE centre and proposal of Stage 2 and also contributing to the formation of RISE focus.
(v) workshop organization in UK for exposure of RISE abroad
(vi) participating to open to the public events (e.g. Mediterranean Science Festival, Europe Startup Week, CEMR-Council of European Municipalities and Regions Congress that took place in Nicosia)
Within the 'WP3: Scientific Feasibility Study':
(i) three showcases related to Smart Specialization strategy of the country selected and developed. The showcases were related to (i) Energy (ii) Health and (iii)Tourism. The showcases has been demonstrated to the public and to potential investors of the centre through activities of WP2.
(ii) the research focus of the centre has been formed through various discussion among consortium members and external experts in the field, and by studying other state of the art research centres relevant to the scientific areas of RISE interest.
(iii) transfer of expertise on research and exploitation by the advanced partners to local partners

Within the 'WP4: Financial Feasibility Study'
(i) the market's opportunities has been assessed and the competition has studies at a local and global level. Though these activities existing research and technology have been elaborated on future developments of Interactive Media and its applications at a broad scale.
(ii) the business strategy of the centre has been determined, which will allow the self-sustainability of the centre.
(iii) the existing resources have been evaluated and extra financial support, that amounts beyond the cofunding minimum restriction, has been secured.
(iv) the institutional identity of the centre has been defined as along with the structure of the centre. A complete version of a potential articles of association has been drafted and the legal entity of the centre has been registered.
(v) the final BP that will guarantee the self-sustainability of the centre and its growth over the years has been drafted including information and knowledge gathered from all other activities of the project.
Given the wide variety of stakeholders who hope to benefit from the RISE Centre, we create a wide range of engagement mechanisms and impact-generating activities, each targeted at different stakeholder groups. Here we use “engagement” as opposed to “dissemination” to emphasise the RISE Centre’s need to learn from, and be inspired by, its diverse communities and stakeholders via mutual deep engagement rather than the typical “outward dissemination of its expertise”. Stakeholders include:
1. the scientific community (research dissemination),
2. industry and potential entrepreneurs (commercial dissemination),
3. youth, students and the broader public (general dissemination).
Specific impact activities for each of the above groups are outlined below. Exploitation of the research output, skills and facilities developed within RISE is then explored.

The proposed RISE centre was designed with input from all stakeholders including Cypriot citizens and it's designed to help boost the RTDI activities of the nation. The developed Business plan was widely reviewed by international organizations, grassroots Cypriot organizations and succesfull Cypiot RTDI experts. It was found to meet the demands and fill in gaps in the Cypriot society especially those that exist between academia and both Cypriot as well as international industry.
RISE proposed building.Reception/Labs
RISE within the creative industry quarter in the centre of the old city of Nicosia.
Research and technology developments areas of RISE and the S3 areas of Cyprus