ERKC

Energy Research Knowledge Centre

Cyprus

Research themes and prioritisation

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Cyprus depends almost entirely on imported energy since it currently has no indigenous sources of fossil energy, though a natural gas deposit was recently discovered within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The energy mix of Cyprus is heavily oil-based.

The energy research landscape in Cyprus has changed dramatically since the country’s accession to the EU. Before accession, there were no public funding mechanisms to promote R&D except via the University of Cyprus. Today, R&D funding in Cyprus relies largely on public expenditure; business funding of R&D is amongst the lowest in the EU (0.1 % of GDP in 2010).

Energy research in Cyprus focuses on wind, solar, geothermal, marine and biomass, as well as on the development of new renewable energy technologies including energy generation, transfer and storage. Other priorities include the improvement of energy technologies and energy efficiency in industry, transport and buildings.

Organisation of research

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At the political level, the System for Research, Technological Development and Innovation (SRTDI), which is ruled by the Ministerial Council, is responsible for drafting and approving R&D policy. The Ministerial Council represents all the ministries of the Republic of Cyprus. The National Council for Research and Innovation drafts policy with advice from the Cyprus Scientific Council.

The Planning Bureau (PB) is an independent organisation which designs the research agenda in Cyprus. It is responsible for the co-financing of projects and programmes under the Structural Funds and Cohesion Funds. The objectives of the PB also include the creation of new mechanisms of research, technological growth and innovation.

Research is implemented through the Research Promotion Foundation (RPF), the main government body that promotes the development of scientific and technological research. RPF manages the individual R&D budgets of each ministry. The government is the main source of institutional funding.

The RPF’s National Framework Programme for 2009–2010 sets thematic research objectives. In this context, one of the actions under the programme aims to develop research initiatives that will have a positive effect on the national energy system and at the same time promote the use of renewable energy sources (RES).


Figure 1: Organisational structure of energy research in Cyprus

The Applied Energy Centre (AEC) of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism was founded in 1986 to co-ordinate Cypriot activities related to RES and energy efficiency. The AEC has carried out research (mainly applied) on materials, systems and methods related to renewable energy.

Another research initiative of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, known as Support Schemes for Energy Conservation and Promotion of RES 2009–2013, supports solar thermal systems, photovoltaic systems, wind and solar thermal plants, biomass applications and geothermal heat pumps. The initiative also promotes energy conservation in enterprises, insulation of residential buildings and energy-efficient transport.

Programmes and budgets

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The Cypriot budget for energy research corresponds to approximately €1.08 million for the period 2009–2011. Research is funded mainly by the Technology Programme, which includes the specific action ‘Energy’. Some projects carried out under the Information and Communication Technologies Programme and the Sustainable Development Programme are also energy-related, although energy issues are not included as core themes of the programmes.  

Table 1: The main energy research programmes in Cyprus.

Programmes and initiatives

Technology Programme

Πρόγραμμα «Τεχνολογία»

The Technology Programme, managed by the Research Promotion Foundation, supports research in a number of scientific fields that are considered fundamental to the improvement of the state-of-the-art technology. The programme supports projects within the thematic areas of Materials, Nanotechnology, Energy, Applied Sciences and Engineering.

Information and Communication Technologies Programme

Πρόγραμμα «Τεχνολογίες Πληροφορικής και Επικοινωνιών»

This programme aims to increase productivity and enhance the competitiveness of the business world in all sectors of the economy as well as to improve the services provided. Particular focus is given to the dissemination of knowledge for the efficient use of ICT.

Sustainable Development Programme

Πρόγραμμα «Αειφόρος Ανάπτυξη»

The Sustainable Development Programme managed by the Research Promotion Foundation consists of four Actions: Natural Environment; Urban and Built Environment; Agriculture and Animal Farming; Fisheries and Aquaculture. Energy is addressed as part of these: the Urban and Built Environment Action, for instance, includes research on energy efficiency in buildings.

National govermment departments

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Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism

Υπουργείο Εμπορίου, Βιομηχανίας και Τουρισμού

The Energy Service of the Ministry has overall responsibility for energy issues including the preparation of energy conservation programmes and the promotion of RES.

Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment

Υπουργείο Γεωργίας, Φυσικών Πόρων και Περιβάλλοντος

The Department of the Environment of this ministry is responsible for several energy-related areas such as environmental impact assessment, eco-labelling, climate change and pollution.

Ministry of Communication and Works

Υπουργείο Συγκοινωνιών και Έργων

The Department of Electrical and Mechanical Services of the Ministry of Communications and Works is involved in electrical and mechanical engineering issues of public interest and advises the government on policy planning in such matters.

National research programme management agencies

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Research Promotion Foundation (RPF)

Ίδρυμα Προώθησης Έρευνας

The RPF was established in 1996 to promote the development of scientific and technological research. The RPF develops and operates national research funding programmes and manages EU programmes and other international initiatives.

Cyprus Scientific Council (SCS)

Κυπριακό Επιστημονικό Συμβούλιο

The SCS is an advisory scientific body that brings together scientists who advise the government and the National Council for Research and Innovation on broad development strategy and policy in R&D.

Funding organisations at national level

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Planning Bureau

Γραφείου Προγραμματισμού

The Planning Bureau is the government agency responsible for formulating strategy, identifying objectives and introducing policy measures to promote research in Cyprus. The Planning Bureau, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, provides direct financing for research initiatives undertaken by the state research institutions and departments.