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Change of Leadership: Handover Ceremony for Newly Appointed CyI President and Chair of Board of Trustees


Prof. Malas delivering his speech. Seated, from left to right Dr Andreas Pittas, Prof. Costas Papanicolas, Prof. Didier Roux, Prof. Edouard Brezin, Dr Michalis Yiangou, and via video Prof. Dan-Olof Riska

The Cyprus Institute held a handover ceremony to mark the occasion of the leadership changes that recently took place at the Institute: on February 1st 2023, Prof. Stavros Malas officially assumed his duties as new President of CyI, taking over from Founding President of the Institute and CEO of The Cyprus Research and Educational Foundation (CREF), Prof. Costas Papanicolas; on the same day, Prof. Didier Roux assumed duties as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees, taking over from Prof. Dan-Olof Riska.

The ceremony was held on Friday, 17th of February 2023 at CyI’s premises. The event was addressed by the Chair of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, Dr Andreas Pittas and former Chair of the Board of Trustees, Prof. Edouard Brezin. 

In his welcome speech, Dr Pittas thanked Prof. Dan-Olof Riska, whose personality and wisdom guided CyI for five years and was instrumental in guiding the Institute and addressing all the issues that arose. He then welcomed Prof. Roux to his new position and wished him success in his new role. Dr Pittas emphasized Prof. Papanicolas’ immense contributions and absolute dedication to CyI, and expressed his support to Prof. Malas, saying that the Executive Committee will always be on his side to assist him in his new duties.
In his talk, Prof. Brezin credited Prof. Papanicolas for the extraordinary achievement of establishing and gaining international recognition for The Cyprus Institute in such a short period of time. “Prof. Malas inheres this precious gift. CyI is not a new-born now, however it needs considerable attention and support from the community to take CyI further and higher on its remarkable journey”, he said.
During the handover ceremony Professors Riska, Papanicolas, Roux and Malas briefly talked to the staff about the Institute’s goals and future plans.
Prof. Riska noted “It is my privilege to hand over the Chair to Prof. Roux. There is nothing I can tell to Prof. Roux that he does not already know for CREF and CyI from his long service, as a CREF Trustee and as a Member of the Executive Committee. Prof. Roux has all the experience for overseeing the efforts at CyI to create innovation to be translated in commercial products”.
Prof. Roux stated “We have now in front of us a big challenge. We went through difficult times as well as exciting times. I feel that CyI is now at its best, but there is always room to expand and improve”.
Prof. Papanicolas highlighted that the handover ceremony is at the crossroads between fundamental science and expertise. “I certainly feel gratified that our institution was recently evaluated by a truly world-class, demanding Committee. This Committee was very pleased to have the opportunity to interact with the next President and to listen to his carefully crafted presentation. His knowledge ensures that he will be immediately in a capacity to act and lead the transformation that CyI needs”, he added.
Prof. Malas stated that he is truly honoured to assume his new position, especially since has been a long-standing friend of The Cyprus Institute from the very beginning. “We wouldn’t be able to have achieved what we have today, unless there was vision, stamina, plan and above all Prof. Papanicolas, who steered this idea into success. Now we have to navigate to even more challenging times together”, he added.
The occasion was an opportunity for CyI staff and researchers to meet in person the newly appointed CyI President and Chair of Board of Trustees, and to express their gratitude and appreciation for the departing President and Chair for their instrumental contributions in elevating the profile of The Cyprus Institute, both nationally and internationally.
A ceremony unveiling portraits of Past Chairs of the Board, also took place at the end of the ceremony, and Professors Papanicolas, Riska and Brezin (former Chair of the Board of Trustees) were presented with a gift of a silver pomegranate tree symbolizing good luck for their future endeavours. Special tribute was also made for the late Prof. Hubert Curien, first Chair of the Board of Trustees.
You can watch the handover ceremony here.

Prof. Stavros Malas, New President of The Cyprus Institute
Prof. Stavros Malas holds a BSc and PhD in Genetics from University College London. Subsequent to his postgraduate studies, he worked for the Medical Research Council-Clinical Sciences Centre at Imperial College. In 2001, he moved to Cyprus and joined the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics (CING).

Over the last twenty years he has undertaken many EC advisory roles in policy development: Special Advisor to Commissioner for Health, elected first President of the Innovative Medicines Initiative-States Representatives Group, member of the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) and member of the Program Committee for Health. In 2012, he led a European project which developed a strategy for Innovative Health care provision about “Building an Open Innovation ecosystem in Europe for healthcare”. Prof. Malas served as Minister of Health of the Republic of Cyprus and, during the Cyprus Presidency of the European Union, as Chair of both the European Council of Ministers of Health and the Competitiveness Council for Research.

Prof. Stavros Malas previously held the position of Professor of Genetics and Development at the University of Nicosia and led the effort for establishing the first Veterinary Medicine Program in Cyprus as Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Prof. Didier Roux, New Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Cyprus Institute
Prof. Didier Roux currently serves as the Delegate for Scientific Information and Communication at the Académie des Sciences. Prof. Roux also served as the Vice President of Research & Development and Innovation and Director of Innovation of the Saint-Gobain Group in France and he is a member of the French Academy of Sciences. A chemist by training, he has explored various facets of science and its interfaces (chemistry, physics, biology, industry, etc.) and has been awarded many prizes and distinctions including the Grand Prix IBM materials, the Grand Prix of the French Academy of Sciences Mergier Bourdeix and the Silver Medal of CNRS.
Prof. Costas N. Papanicolas, Departing Founding President of The Cyprus Institute
Prof. Costas N. Papanicolas, CyI Institute Professor and CEO of The Cyprus Research and Educational Foundation (CREF), is a nuclear physicist with over 35 years of experience as a researcher, an educator and a scientific administrator at the University of Illinois and the University of Athens. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, member of the European Academy of Sciences (Academia Europaea) and Founding member of the Cyprus Academy of Sciences Letters and Arts. He is also the Advisor to the President of the Republic of Cyprus and Special Envoy on Climate Change.
Prof. Dan-Olof Riska, Departing Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Cyprus Institute

Prof. Dan-Olof Riska is an Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Helsinki. He has served as Treasurer and as President of the Finnish Society of Science and Letters. He also served as Vice President of the CERN Council, as well as Director of the Helsinki Institute of Physics. His research experience covers a wide field of theoretical and applied physics, including geophysics. He is a fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, the Finnish Society of Science and Letters, the Finnish Academy of Technical Sciences, the Finnish Academy of Science, as well as of the American Physical Society. He has served as vice president of the European Academies Science Advisory Council and on scientific advisory committees in several countries and the editorial boards of several scientific journals.



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