The second meeting of the seven ERA Chair holders will be organized by the National Hellenic Research Foundation (NHRF) and the Institute of Chemical Biology on June 28th 2024.

The establishment of the European Research Area (ERA) Chairs involves relocating distinguished professors and researchers from abroad to Greek institutions to organize new research teams in cutting-edge scientific fields and achieve research excellence.

The main goal is to attract and retain high-quality human resources under the supervision of the ERA Chair holders, who will also direct the implementation of structural changes within a sustainable framework.

Following the inaugural meeting at the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH) in Crete on September 26, 2023, the seven distinguished scientists who have already started their work in Greek organizations, will hold their second meeting to present their progress in their respective fields. They will also outline the actions they plan to undertake in collaboration with the Institutions’ Administrations and the political and regional leadership to develop research and innovation in Greece, and the challenges they face in implementing their projects.

So far, the ERA Chairs have been established in five research institutions in Greece:

FORTH (3 Chairs), the National Hellenic Research Foundation (1 Chair), the Biomedical Sciences Research Center “Alexander Fleming” (1 Chair), the University of Crete (1 Chair), and the University of Patras (1 Chair).

These projects, with a total budget of 17.5 million euros, aim to create Centers of Excellence in cutting-edge scientific areas. Specifically, the National Hellenic Research Foundation, utilizing investment from the Recovery Fund and the European Investment Bank, is creating a cryo-electron microscopy facility, unique in Southeast Europe. The Biomedical Sciences Research Center “Alexander Fleming”, through the ERA Chairs program, is staffing the new Institute of Bioinnovation with the immediate ambition of creating Biotechnopolis, the first integrated biotechnology hub in Greece.

“Overall, the ERA Chairs projects represent a significant opportunity for Greece for funding that promotes scientific and technological excellence, brain (re)gain, and the adoption of good practices in the local academic administration ecosystem. BSRC Fleming has set as a strategic priority for the coming years to leverage the proven excellent academic research conducted at the Center in Biomedical Sciences to translate it into real innovation that will lead to the development of new technologies, marketable products, and spin-off companies, yielding tangible results and immediate benefits for society and the economy. The ERA Chair ‘Boost4Bio’ acts as a catalyst in this effort, while also contributing to the further enhancement of the Center’s scientific excellence, the more effective training and professional development of young researchers, as well as the strengthening of the complementary skills of the members of the Greek research community,” comments Dr. Georgios Skretas, the ERA Chair holder in Biomolecular Engineering and Synthetic Biology at BSRC Fleming.

Similarly, the Institute of Computer Science of FORTH focuses on developing a computational biodiversity center and establishing a new research direction for computational astrophysics and data science. Additionally, the Departments of Pharmacy and Medicine at the University of Patras will focus on further developing activities in molecular and structural biology, while the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of FORTH will develop next-generation bioinsecticides utilizing the microbial biodiversity of Crete and the Mediterranean. Finally, the School of Philosophy of the University of Crete will create a model center for Digital Humanities, leveraging the field of artificial intelligence.

Representatives from the General Secretariat for Research and Innovation (GSRI) and from the PRAXI Network/FORTH will also participate in the meeting.

Please find the detailed program and the online streaming here.

This article is also available in the Greek press.