YERUN partners enhancing research and innovation in Cyprus

From June 10 to June 14, a select group of early career researchers from the University of Cyprus (UCY) will be in Maastricht for a training session at UNU-MERIT. This is the second of four sessions scheduled between 2023 and 2025, part of the TWIN4MERIT project aimed at boosting research and innovation excellence at UCY.

The TWIN4MERIT project, which focuses on the Management and Economics of Research and Innovation, is funded by the EU's Horizon Europe programme under the WIDERA/Twinning call for proposals. 

The project aims to enhance UCY's capabilities through research and training activities, leveraging the expertise of UNU-MERIT at Maastricht University and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. All universities are part of the Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN), which facilitates cooperation in research, education and service to society.

TWIN4MERIT participants at UNU-MERIT in Maastricht
TWIN4MERIT participants at UNU-MERIT in Maastricht

June session

During the June 2024 session, Dr René Wintjes, a senior research fellow at UNU-MERIT specialising in regional innovation policy, will kick off the training. Other notable contributions will come from FHML assistant professor Gowri Gopalakrishna, senior researcher Hugo Hollanders, and UNU-MERIT assistant professor Nordine Es-Sadki. These sessions will cover topics such as innovation data for policy and conducting surveys, providing ample opportunities for early career researchers from UCY to discuss their ideas with UNU-MERIT staff.

Es-Sadki also coordinates the project. He says this collaboration is important because "it aligns well with UNU-MERIT objectives of promoting societal policy and innovation research, offering education and disseminating knowledge to fully harness the potential of innovation for inclusive and sustainable development".

The initiative began in 2022 when the University of Cyprus approached YERUN partner Maastricht University / UNU-MERIT to explore potential partnerships for a research project on the economics of research and innovation. Nordine Es-Sadki quickly collaborated with UCY researchers to develop a proposal, resulting in the awarding of two Horizon Twinning projects to UNU-MERIT, both now led by Es-Sadki.


Nordine Es-Sadki teaching at UNU-MERIT
Nordine Es-Sadki teaching at UNU-MERIT

Sustainable development research

Starting in October 2024, the second three-year project, TWIN2SUSTAIN, will focus on the socioeconomic aspects of climate change and sustainable development research in Cyprus.

Cyprus is significantly impacted by the climate crisis, making climate change research in the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa (EMMENA) region crucial. While the University of Cyprus (UCY) has been active in Sustainable Development (SD) research, particularly in water, renewable energy, and oceanography, it has not adequately addressed the socioeconomic dimensions of SD. These include issues such as gender equality, innovation law, science diplomacy, economic development, poverty reduction and income inequality.

Towards research excellence

The TWIN2SUSTAIN project aims to address this gap by partnering with advanced institutions UNU-MERIT and UANTWERP. The University of Antwerp is also part of the YERUN network. This collaboration seeks to consolidate UCY's sustainable development research with a strong focus on these socioeconomic aspects. 

Supported by a Horizon Europe/Twinning grant and involving various UCY departments, the project aims to enhance UCY's research excellence, international visibility, networking capabilities and innovation in the field of sustainable development.

Coordinator Es-Sadki hopes these research projects will significantly enhance research and innovation at the University of Cyprus, and create opportunities for UNU-MERIT and Maastricht University researchers to collaborate with YERUN partners on innovation research for inclusive and sustainable development.

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