Transport, Communications and Works Minister, Marios Demetriades, expressed on Wednesday Cyprus` aspiration to become a regional node in the field of satellite communications and to develop innovative space technology services.
He was addressing a workshop, organised in Nicosia by the Electronic Communications Department of the Ministry and the European Space Agency (ESA), to brief Cyprus’ industrial, academic and research community on the framework and the processes on the submission of proposals for the funding of projects by the Agency.
ESA and Transport, Communications and Works Ministry signed on July 6, 2016, a five-year European Cooperating State Agreement (ECS/PECS), which allows Cyprus to actively participate in the ESA activities and programmes, paving the way for the development of the Cypriot industry, academic and research community, as well as the development of innovative applications with the use of space technologies.
Demetriades said that this event can be considered as the first step towards the successful implementation of the agreement, adding that the overall objective of the agreement with duration of five years, is to associate Cyprus with Agency programmes and activities and to prepare the country in the most efficient manner for possible future accession to the ESA Convention.
The fist Call will shortly follow the workshop, for the submission of outline proposals. It is addressed only to Cypriot entities, which operate in Cyprus in accordance to the laws of the Republic of Cyprus, and its subject is exclusively for research and development activities, space applications, products and services making use of ESA/European space infrastructure, preparatory activities to support national competitiveness related to ESA programmes, awareness and education activities.
The total intended envelope of the first Call is 1,2 million euro. Such a call will be announced every year for the whole duration of the agreement.
Demetriades noted that the signing of the ECS Agreement is expected to result in promoting innovation and research, educating at the same time our young engineers and scientists, creating new jobs and opportunities. “We also believe that the ECS Agreement will enable our universities and industry to be more competitive and secure additional funds in space applications,” he added.
Furthermore, he noted that Cyprus needs to move away from the traditional sectors of the economy and open up and explore new areas, such as space technology applications.
“We expect that the geographical location of Cyprus, in the middle of three continents (Europe, Asia and Africa), in connection with the strengthening of cooperation with the ESA, will result in Cyprus to become a regional node in the field of satellite communications,” he added.
The Minister said that Cyprus also has one of the best climate conditions for earth observation. In addition to the strategic location, the national infrastructure and expertise, Cyprus can develop innovative space technology services, he noted.
]He added that the space sector together with the ICT sector can become drivers of growth and regional cooperation. They can promote collaboration in civil use related disciplines between neighbouring countries.
“The Government of the Republic of Cyprus reaffirms its political will and commitment to the development of the space technology sector in Cyprus. It is now your turn to demonstrate the real strength of the Cypriot space stakeholders by further developing the domestic space industry and infrastructure, so as to ensure the successful implementation of the ECS Agreement,” Demetriades told the participants.
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY