In Heraklion, Greece, on September 26th, 2023, the first Greek ERA chair meeting was held, bringing together all 7 Greek ERA chairs. The occasion marked a significant step forward in the field of Research and Innovation in Greece. The meeting was attended by the Director of FORTH, Prof. Nektarios Tavernarakis, the Director of the Institute of Computer Science at FORTH, Prof. Dimitris Plexousakis, and the Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at FORTH, Prof. John Vontas (also the coordinator of one of the ERA chair projects). The event also hosted important policy makers, including the Deputy Minister of Development, Mr. Maximos Senetakis, the General Secretary for Higher Education, Prof. Em. Odysseas Zoras, and the Deputy Regional Governor for the Primary Sector, Mrs. Eirini Giakoumaki.

The ERA Chair holder and Director of the Bio-Innovation Institute, Dr Georgios Skretas, shared insights on “Boosting bio-innovation by enhancing excellence in the biosciences and promoting bio-entrepreneurship” as part of the activities of the Boost4Bio project at the Biomedical Sciences Research Center “Alexander Fleming.

During the gathering, the seven Greek ERA Chairs jointly decided on several practical actions:

  • Greek ERA Chair Network: A platform to facilitate ongoing idea exchange, with a special focus on policy matters and reforms. A mailing list, inclusive of both current and future ERA Chair holders and coordinators, was established to encourage ongoing communication.
  • Annual Greek ERA Chair Meetings: A commitment to an annual tradition, with the 2024 meeting planned for the National Hellenic Research Foundation in Athens, hosted by Prof. P. Kastritis, and the 2025 gathering scheduled at the Biomedical Sciences Research Center “Alexander Fleming,” hosted by Prof. G. Skretas.
  • Welcoming New ERA Chairs: An open invitation for upcoming ERA Chairs from future calls to join the ERA Chair Network, contributing to the diversity and depth of expertise within the group.
  • Supporting Future Projects: A pledge to offer support and expertise to upcoming ERA Chair proposals, ensuring the continued growth of research and innovation in Greece.
  • Policy Reform Collaborations: Collaborative efforts to develop a prioritized list of research policy reforms, designed to shape the future of research in Greece.
  • Building Stronger Partnerships: A commitment to strengthen relationships with the General Secretariat for Research and Innovation, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Development, fostering greater collaboration between academia, government, and industry.

In summary, the ERA Chair Research Projects’ launch in Heraklion, Crete, on September 26, 2023, was a significant moment in the scientific community. With a focus on enhancing bioscience excellence and bio-entrepreneurship, this initiative promises to make a lasting impact, ensuring a more innovative future for Greece, Europe, and the world.