Οpening remarks at the 4th Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum, 19/4/2019

Dear Rector, distinguished guests, colleagues, dear students

We are truly excited to have you here and we sincerely thank you for joining us in this morning session.

On behalf of the Organizing Committee, I wish to extend to all of you who came to campus specially for this event, a warm welcome to the University of Cyprus!

Today is the last day of classes for the academic year 2018–2019 and our students expect with anticipation their graduation ceremony in June. Our young graduates are getting ready to embark on a challenging and exciting journey, pursuing advanced studies or seeking fulfilling careers in an environment that is increasingly uncertain, both globally and locally.

There is some discussion in the media and politics these days, regarding the employability of young University graduates in Cyprus. “Can they find jobs that are ‘relevant’ to their education,” they ask?

One could add more perspective into this question, and ask as well: “to want extent jobs deemed relevant to today’s education, will still exist tomorrow?”

The answer is uncertain at best, if not negative, due to the impact of automation, of the rapid pace of scientific and technological progress, of globalization, and climate change.

The graduating class of 2019 will still be in the ‘job market’ in 2050. So, how do we prepare, them and the classes that come after them, for jobs not yet invented?

One approach, when you cannot predict the future, is to be prepared to face it and to shape it. To identify opportunities as they emerge and be ready to seize them. This is not easy!

One thing is sure though: without solid knowledge, ingenuity, comfort in bold experimentation and risk-taking, an ability to establish collaboration and understand who to trust, without a deep understanding of human needs, you are doomed to fail.

Dear guests:

The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum aspires to provide members of our community — particularly young researchers and students — with a venue for presenting, competing, and discussing ideas and inventions that come out of their studies and their work, and that could possibly shape a future, in Cyprus and beyond. We wish to showcase activities, celebrate achievements, give critical feedback, share ideas, nurture connections.

Doing this in the confines of our community would not be enough. We need to establish and maintain bridges with economic and social stakeholders: the market and the society — they can help us better understand their needs, and we can help them translate our knowledge and ideas into impact with a tangible benefit for the local economy and society.

Therefore, we are delighted and indebted to receive the support in this effort from key stakeholders coming from the private sector and the government.

Many thanks to PwC Cyprus, who is our partner and sponsor in organizing this Forum for the fourth year, and a continuous supporter of various training and other activities of the Centre for Entrepreneurship. Thanks to the Enterprise Europe Network for sponsoring the Innovation Track; to the European Office of Cyprus, the Hellenic Bank, the IDEA Accelerator of the Bank of Cyprus for helping with the organization effort and the evaluation of teams. Thanks to Digital Tree and Aegean Airlines for providing student awards.

And, thanks to all the colleagues — academic, administrative and student volunteers, who made this event possible through their hard work and unwavering commitment.

Last, but not least, thanks to our Distinguished Speaker, Dr Harry Anthony Patrinos, who came all the way from Washington DC to deliver the PwC Distinguished Lecture today, on a topic that is important and timely for us all.

Professor of Computer Science, Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship; University of Cyprus. Ph.D. Princeton, 1994. http://www.cs.ucy.ac.cy/mdd/

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