The third SUPEERA/PANTERA workshop on EU-widening was held in Nicosia, Cyprus, on 1st June in a hybrid mode, allowing for online and onsite participation. It gathered 42 participants in total. The overall objective was to enhance collaboration in R&I activities in Cyprus and as for the previous two workshops, to facilitate knowledge exchange and showcase best practices of how international networking and cooperation between national stakeholders and key international associations and organizations can be beneficial for establishing long-lasting interactions and fostering joint R&I activities.
The event covered a large variety of sectors, with representatives from the EC, the public and private sectors in Cyprus as well as speakers from the two projects’ organizations, i.e., SUPEERA and PANTERA.
|Have a look at the agenda|
The program was structured into three main blocks. The first one included an oral presentation by the EC on the current EU strategy and latest policy and legislative developments supporting the CET, followed by two presentations on the engagement and performances of Cyprus in H2020 and its activity in SET Plan, and a final overview showcasing R&I best practices in Cyprus. The representative of the EC Office in Cyprus underlined the important role sunny countries like Cyprus shall play in the CET in Europe, especially after the REPowerEU communication, and encouraged Cypriots to multiply their renewable energy activity (PV) to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. When someone asked for the lack of financing to accelerate the fast role out of renewables, the EC stated that the funds are available and referred specifically to IRF European Finance Investments.
The presentation on the role of Cyprus in the EU in terms of H2020 performance and SET Plan activity showed that among EU13 countries, this country is doing fairly well and is the most active one in the SET Plan IWGs. However, alignment between SET Plan targets and national energy and climate targets is still lacking.
The second block of the workshop was devoted to a very alive and fruitful discussion on the energy strategy of Cyprus and main barriers to achieve climate targets with the participation of the Ministry of Energy of Cyprus, the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA), the national Research and Innovation Foundation (RIF) and the Transmission System Operator in Cyprus (TSOC). The Ministry of Energy explained the most important ongoing activities on renewables both at small and large scale systems, mainly on PV and wind energy, and pinpointed the challenges on R&I related to the lack of involvement of the private sector due to the fact that Cyprus has a service-based economy with absence of heavy industry. However, the ministry representative valued the cross-ministerial collaboration established through the development of the national energy and climate plan for Cyprus. CERA indicated the numerous activities the agency is promoting to engage citizens in the CET, for instance, offering them a price comparison tool to check tariffs and identify best energy suppliers. Furthermore, RIF informed about a dedicated new program to fund projects on renewable energy technologies (so far RIF has not had specific thematic areas for funding) and underlined that one of the main barriers to achieve future climate targets is the lack of alignment between researchers. Finally, TSOC indicated that the national grid and the operators are ready to accommodate for the large capacities that will be needed in the energy transition, and for that clarity, trust and coordination are needed.
The third block initiated with two presentations by RIF and the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital policy (DMIRD). By RIF it is with mentioning the participation of Cyprus in two very important European Partnerships such as the CET Partnership and the Blue Economy Partnership. On the other hand, DMRID showed the commitment of the government on R&I, revealed by the steady increase in R&D expenditure since 2015, and stressed the fast-growing innovation ecosystem in the country, despite the fact that on EU level Cyprus is as of today categorized as moderate innovator. As for the national R&I strategy, the ministry mentioned that is under preparation and that one of the main objectives is to facilitate commercialization of research results.
This final block ended up with a presentation on the Norway/EEA Grants, a dedicated funding mechanism for EU13 countries, and a presentation of the PANTERA project and the EIRIE platform. Even though the EEA/Norway Grants were known to the audience, the presentation and follow-up discussion provided new insights onto the process for such mechanism and on how to influence the selection for research areas.
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|Watch the workshop's recording|