The driving force behind this proposal is to provide a key instrument to assist in and facilitate the scientific and economic growth of Cyprus. This instrument will come in the form of a Centre that combines research and innovation competence. On the one hand, the Centre will strive for high quality research, in line with international standards of excellence, while on the other hand, it will direct its research focus towards areas that can serve the technological needs as identified by the Smart Specialisation Strategy of the country, and encourage the development and use of new high-tech products by businesses.

The overall aims of the Centre are:

1. To produce excellent and internationally competitive research to improve the country's scientific research profile.

2. To bring scientists, entrepreneurs, and the local authorities close together and cultivate a culture of innovation and creativity.

3. To collaborate with local innovative businesses to solve real-life problems, aligned with the Smart Specialisation Strategy of the country.

4. To support the innovation and technology businesses with knowledge transfer, training, and state-of-the-art solutions to spur economic growth.

To achieve these aims, RISE will work towards the following concrete objectives:

1. Apply an interdisciplinary approach to the study and the development of interactive media that augments technological solutions with design, social, and human-centred approaches that can work “in the wild”. The success of this objective will be evaluated based on the quality and quantity of scientific output (e.g., journal and conference publications, invited presentations,  irculated ideas) and technological outcomes (e.g., commercial products, patented solutions, etc.) stemming from the Centre's activities. Based on the expertise of the Advanced Partners, we will set realistic goals in terms of targeted outcomes for each year of the Centre’s operation.

2. Create a critical mass of academics and researchers in the area of interactive media that will help to establish, in the long-run, Cyprus as a regional leader in this area. In addition to the existing, founding, research groups that will be linked through the Centre, the aim is to grow, within five years of operation, into a substantially-sized institute (of the order of 15 full-time personnel, 15 associate / part-time personnel, and 40 contracted researchers). Researchers from the Centre will be able to apply for, and secure, research funding from local and international competitions, which will contribute to the sustainability of the Centre.

3. Develop internationally attractive training and education programmes that will draw both local and overseas postgraduate students of high calibre. These students will have the potential of becoming future researchers of the Centre or entrepreneurs in the area. A steady flow of students and researchers will be hosted at the Centre annually, either as part of postgraduate degrees or as part of training exchanges.

4. Provide expertise and solutions to the areas identified by the Smart Specialisation Strategy report of Cyprus as well as other research areas in which the use of interactive media can be beneficial. The success of this objective will be assessed following the first year of operation of the Centre, when we will evaluate both the number of collaborations formed and their potential for producing actionable results.

5. Create a culture where business and academia can collaborate in the area of interactive media. This will lead to the emergence of profitable business opportunities in the area of interactive media in Cyprus. In recent years, a small but rapidly increasing number of promising technology-oriented start-ups are basing their operations in Nicosia. RISE will make available its scientific and technical expertise to these start-ups, as well as to other established companies and authorities.

6. Build a shared infrastructure that can be used by academic and business people alike. RISE aims to establish a large network of researchers / practitioners / innovators with access to infrastructure within the Centre in order to: (1) test or showcase their research and development products (e.g., architects showcasing their building designs in Virtual Reality set-ups); and (2) collect data for research projects (e.g., clinicians carrying out experiments with human participants in Virtual Reality environments).

7. Create a lively ecosystem of academics, researchers, creative and onward-looking people, innovators, entrepreneurs and practitioners that can form the hotbed from which new ideas, products and services will emerge. Through a set of outreach activities, RISE will instigate a culture change among the younger local population, by demonstrating the possibilities available within their reach, and by encouraging them to become actively involved with state-of-the-art technologies. We expect thousands of people every year to interact with the research and technological outcomes of the Centre.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

This project has received funding from the Government of the Republic of Cyprus through the Directorate General for the European Programmes, Coordination and Development.