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Greece Gets its First Research Agency

cri-advancing-scientistGreece is to establish the first research agency, the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI), with a loan from the European Investment Bank.
Athens has received a loan of 180 million euros from EIB to boost scientific research in the country, as thousands of scientists have been forced to leave Greece because of the economic crisis. To that end, the Greek government has promised to make efforts to stop the brain drain. The HFRI establishment bill will be tabled in parliament before September.
Researchers will be submitting grant proposals and the HFRI will be awarding fellowships to young scientists.
Greece is to contribute 60 million euros to the project in the next two and a half years. The European Union member states have unanimously decided to give the loan to Greece, even though it is common practice to fund only 50 percent of development projects.
“Given the key issues around fundamental research in Greece, 75 percent was seen as justified. It is about competitiveness, forward-thinking and the future,” EIB spokesperson Richard Willis told Nature magazine.
So far, Greek scientists seek research funding from the European Research Council. “For the first time we’ll have some regularity in research funding in Greece. It will definitely help make Greece a more attractive place to do research,” Nektarios Tavernarakis, director of the Foundation for Research and Technology  Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in Heraklion, Crete, told Nature.

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