European Researchers’ Night took place on the last Friday of September for the eleventh year. The annual event celebrating science and research across Europe had a total of 1,500,000 visitors in 300 European cities. In Greece, universities and research centers opened their doors to the public to showcase their work in an effort to drum up more funds needed to continue their research.
With free events in six cities in Greece, the objective was to cast the spotlight on the importance of research in daily life. Greek scientists took the opportunity to request more financial support and sponsorship of their work despite the economic crisis in Greece that has led to a huge brain drain and the exodus of some of Greece’s finest minds.
Difficulties aside, the event was one of celebration at the National Technical University of Athens on Friday and Saturday where young students and adults interested in science watched presentations by researchers, participated in experiments with them as well as artistic events. Children joined in an educational “treasure hunt” and attended workshops.
Greece only invests 0.8 percent of its GDP to research while the EU average is 2.1 percent. The goal is to increase the percentage to at least 1.2 percent of Greek GDP by 2020. It is hoped that in this way, young scientists will be supported so that the so-called brain drain that has led to more than 427,000 Greeks leaving the country since 2008 can be reduced.