13 Aug 2020 | News

Business Support Organisation (BSO): CyRIC, certified EU|BIC and Digital Innovation Hub
Country and regions: Republic of Cyprus
Sector: Health, Government, Economic and social development 
Target groups: Institutional, healthcare industry and service providers, entrepreneurial actors and citizens focusing on ’’Better Personal Health and Ambient Assisted Living ‘’
Project: CHERRIES | Constructing Healthcare Environments through Responsible Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship funded by EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement nº 872873. This document reflects only the author’s view and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Project timeline: 2020-2022

Regional development challenge

Science and technology are transformative forces that have granted humans the capacity to alter ecosystems, the Earth’s climate, and even the building blocks of matter and life itself. R&I have improved our world and our lives in many ways and will most likely continue to do so. However, parallel to the large positive impact on human welfare and wellbeing, science and technology sometimes create new risks and ethical dilemmas, fail in solving the problems they are meant to, and spur controversy (source:

Within the Health sector, there is a steadily growing number of new technologies being introduced in health systems (e.g. wearable devices, robotics, genomics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, mobile applications, etc.) that raise complex challenges for all stakeholders, including policymakers, regulatory authorities, payers, physicians and patients. The current ways in which new health technologies are being financed, developed and brought to market make health systems increasingly inequitable and unsustainable.

Cyprus, with a population of 1.17M population;  is the third largest Mediterranean island after Sicily and Sardinia, and a full EU member since 2004 and given the size of the island CyRIC EU|BIC maintains a national role in supporting and nurturing the ecosystem.

Alongside an ageing population, the calibre of health care is improving in leaps and bounds with new specialized medical services and research in Cyprus. It includes, among others, the long-anticipated implementation of a comprehensive national health care system, which is set to make the sector more streamlined, resource-efficient and cost-effective.

In 2013 Cyprus decided to establish a national health care system, introducing the General Healthcare System (GeSY) which is fully operational since June 2020. The Ministry of Health is responsible mainly for the organisation of the healthcare system and the provision of state-financed healthcare services. Besides its medical, public health, dental and mental health services, the ministry oversees Cyprus’ General Laboratory and Pharmaceutical Services.

As a small country with a highly centralised public administration system, public health services are provided through a network of hospitals, health centres, sub-centres and dispensaries. Most of the system’s organisational, administrative, and regulatory functions take place at the state level; the lower administration levels cooperate with the central administration primarily for the implementation of public health and health promotion initiatives. Yet, following recommendations, a reform of the Ministry of Health is underway. New departments are being established and the administration of public hospitals decentralised based on modern systems of management and medical audit.[1]

Simultaneously, the business, research and innovation ecosystem in Cyprus is described as “a young but fast-developing ecosystem”[2].  With the recent appointment of a Chief Scientist forming the Executive authority for managing all activities including Policies, Incentives and Funding to Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship seeks to enter a new era for research and innovation in Cyprus.


Innovative support solution

Over the last decades, many efforts have tried to reduce the distance between science and society, leading to a European-wide approach in Horizon 2020 called Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). RRI seeks to bring issues related to research and innovation into the open, to anticipate their consequences, and to involve society in discussing how science and technology can help create the kind of world and society we want for generations to come. The adoption of RRI aims for outcomes in:

  • Learning: engaged publics, responsible actors, responsible institutions
  • R&I: ethically acceptable, sustainability, social desirable
  • Solutions to societal challenges: R&I endeavours contribute to finding solutions for the seven major challenges formulated by the EC as one of the three pillars of the H2020 programme.

CHERRIES | Constructing Healthcare Environments through Responsible Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship is an EU H2020-funded project aimed at enabling RRI policy experiments in the healthcare sector in three European territories – in Murcia (ES), Örebro (SE) and the Republic of Cyprus (CY).

With its innovative design process, the project seeks to contribute to more open, transparent, and democratic R&I systems in the engaged territories and beyond. It creates societal, democratic, environmental, economic, and scientific impacts and tackles transformation processes of the organisations involved.

CHERRIES engage territorial stakeholder ecosystems in participatory agenda-setting, need articulation and institutional reflection processes. These will serve as starting point for collective approaches with shared responsibilities in specific activities focussing on: Mapping, Capacity Building, Piloting, designing a responsible and demand-oriented territorial policy mix, Monitoring, Mutual Learning and Sustainability by replicating the CHERRIES model in three Mirror Regions leveraging their territorial resources.

CHERRIES is powered by 11 partners from 7 European countries – Austria, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, the Republic of Cyprus, Spain and Sweden. The team is highly inter- and transdisciplinary, building on long-lasting experiences in RRI, territorial innovation and smart specialisation strategies and healthcare policy and research.


EU|BIC contribution    

The consortium counts two participating EU|BICs, CyRIC (Cyprus) and CEEIM (Murcia region, Spain) and involves a broad role for EBN in project management and knowledge dissemination.

In Cyprus, the main territorial support actors of the business and innovation ecosystem are the privately-owned R&D centre CyRIC and its incubator Gravity Ventures. Cyprus Research and Innovation Center is a pioneering company with the strategic aim to become an important regional Innovation Center developing novel products for the world markets. Using continuously upgraded infrastructure and the scientific know-how of highly educated researchers and professional engineers, CyRIC also designs and executes Applied Research Projects for the development of Innovative Solutions.

CyRIC leads the CHERRIES work package which aims to establish the territorial experimentation process, prepare the stakeholder system for the RRI based demand articulation, experimentation and to the co-creation process. The objectives are:

  • Create an RRI toolbox covering organisational and institutional aspects of implementing RRI in the healthcare context
  • Establish the knowledge base for the territorial experiments
  • Train multipliers and key stakeholders in facilitating bottom up RRI and need articulation processes
  • Finalise the experiment design based on territorial preconditions and stakeholder landscape and publish a call for needs

The CHERRIES experiments guided by CyRIC address opportunities and challenges associated with the role of demand at the crossroads of challenge-oriented, economy-enhancing, and sector-specific policy making within the healthcare sector, thereby addressing the SGC of health, demographic change and wellbeing. It ensures bottom-up involvement of all kind of citizens, irrespective of their age, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background. With CyRICs deeply rooted connection in the regional society, bringing together research, innovation, business and industry organisations utilising state of the art infrastructure, it is a role that well fits the Cypriot EU|BIC.

Notably, CyRIC’s function as coordinator of the Cyprus Digital Innovation Hub (CyDi-Hub) puts them as consortium partner in the ideal position for offering cutting-edge digital technology innovations and services to the manufacturing and health industry – bringing the fourth digital revolution in Cyprus.

The local industry partner collaborating with CyRIC in the healthcare ecosystem for CHERRIES is Aretaeio Hospital (AIK). AIK is a leading Private Hospital in Cyprus and a Medical Center of Excellence in the wider region. As the local Cypriot actor, it hosts the territorial experimentation, stakeholder’s engagement, and contributes to the co-creation of the solutions in Cyprus. Moreover, it engages in CHERRIES mapping exercise, provide evidence-base and stakeholder support for future regional development strategies (new S3).

Project contribution at a glance

What is next?

  1. Capacity building – CyRIC will train multipliers and key stakeholders for the RRI based demand articulation, experimentation and to the co-creation process. The training events will be organised in cooperation with the publication of the call for needs and stakeholders will be trained in answering the call.
  2. All activities and open calls for Cyprus will be online on soon.
  3. Subscribe to the CHERRIES newsletter to follow the activities throughout the project.


Now that you are here

EBN has launched its ‘2020 Impact and Activity Report – Supporting Excellence’. It demonstrates the strong impact of entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem on employment and the development of European regions. Some key highlights of the study include: EU|BICs helped close to 21,000 companies get a head start in the race to get and expand their innovation on the market. Companies supported by EU|BICs outperform other European startups in first-year survival rates: 94% vs 83% EU average. Each EU|BIC client company created on average 4.6 jobs. From 2017-2019, the EU|BIC community supported the creation of more than 56,000 high-quality jobs in Europe.