Development of the National Strategic Framework Programme for RTDI (ESPEK): 2014 – 2018

Development of the National Strategic Framework Programme for RTDI (ESPEK): 2014 – 2018

To contribute please visit:

New Greek Law for Research and Innovation Draft 6-10-11

Young Europeans Discuss Sustainable Development

I have been absent from this blog because I have been organising the Young Europeans Discuss Sustainable Development from the point of view of science and technology event:
Young Europeans Discuss Sustainable Development
9-14 of May 2011

Advances in Science and Technology directly affectyour life, and you should have an opinion!
28 Young Europeans (18-24 years old) from 13 EU countries, will be discussing with Greek scientists about6 different aspects of Sustainable development.
Meet the 23 scientists that will talk at the event! They work at almost all of the big Greek universities and research centres!
Learn about the issues that will be discussed:
Climate Change, Energy, Innovation, Water and Food, Biodiversity, Public Health
Chat with other people!
Check out what will be happening during that week!
Find out about the participants!
Watch online, ask questions for the scientists to answer, vote!
The event language is English.
Please forward this to your members and whoever you think might be interested.
For more information do not hesitate to contact us at
Dr Ino Agrafioti

Institutional Framework for Research and Technology (N. 3653/2008)

[This is another essay I wrote for my MA course in Public Policy and Management. I was advised to write it in Greek, so it is in Greek. The subject of this essay is the Institutional Framework for Research and Technology (Law 3653/2008), a law that was never implemented and is currently postponed once again until 31/12/2011]
TSOUKALAS, Ioannis A. [UPDATE: This essay was published in this blog at a time when Research and Technology has been in the news due to the resignation of the Greek General Secretary of Research and Technology, Professor Achilleas Mitsos, on the 31st of December 2010. As a response, Professor I. Tsoukalas, currently an MEP, who was the General Secretary of Research and Technology between 2004 and2008 and responsible for the Law 3653/2008, produced the following press release (taken from
Δήλωση του Ευρωβουλευτή της ΝΔ, Καθ. κ. Ιωάννη Α. Τσουκαλά, σχετικά την παραίτηση του Γενικού Γραμματέα Έρευνας και Τεχνολογίας, Καθ. κ. Αχιλλέα Μητσού
“Με αφορμή την παραίτηση του Γενικού Γραμματέα Έρευνας και Τεχνολογίας του Υπουργείου Παιδείας, Δια Βίου Μάθησης και Θρησκευμάτων, Καθηγητή κ. Αχιλλέα Μητσού, ο Ευρωβουλευτής της ΝΔ, μέλος της Επιτροπής Βιομηχανίας, Έρευνας και Ενέργειας του ΕΚ, Καθηγητής κ. Ιωάννης Α. Τσουκαλάς, δήλωσε τα εξής:
«Με θλίψη αλλά χωρίς έκπληξη πληροφορήθηκα τον εξαναγκασμό σε παραίτηση του Γενικού Γραμματέα Έρευνας και Τεχνολογίας, Καθ. κ. Αχιλλέα Μητσού.
Είχα στηρίξει πολλές ελπίδες στη μακρά εμπειρία του ως Γενικού Διευθυντή της Γενικής Διεύθυνσης Έρευνας και Τεχνολογίας της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης και ήλπιζα ότι η κυβέρνηση θα τον στήριζε ώστε η μακρά αυτή εμπειρία του να αποδώσει το έργο που η ερευνητική κοινότητα της χώρας έχει μεγάλη ανάγκη. Παραβλέπω την απογοήτευσή μου για την πλήρη παραθεώρηση του έργου της ΝΔ (νόμος 3653/2008, τον οποίο το ΠΑΣΟΚ αρνήθηκε να εφαρμόσει), παρόλο που ο κ. Μητσός σε επανειλημμένες δημόσιες δηλώσεις του υποστήριζε τις ίδιες αρχές διαφάνειας, αξιοκρατίας και αριστείας, όπως και η ΝΔ με τον παραπάνω νόμο.
Δυστυχώς ατομικές πολιτικές προσώπων της κυβέρνησης, που υπερβαίνουν κατά πολύ και τη νομιμότητα και τον θεσμικό ρόλο τους (και όπως προκύπτει και από την παραίτηση του κ. Μητσού, ρίχνουν σκιές σχετικά με την αποτελεσματικότητα και τη διαφάνεια του τρόπου διαχείρισης των κοινοτικών κονδυλίων), αποδίδουν στη χώρα έναν τύπο διοίκησης της «αυλής Λουδοβίκου του 14ου».
Με καλή πίστη και χωρίς πρόθεση πολιτικής αντιπαράθεσης, κάνω έκκληση στον Πρωθυπουργό, όπως και στην Υπουργό Παιδείας, να επαναφέρει σε τάξη στελέχη της κυβέρνησής του που εκθέτουν ανεπανόρθωτα τη δημοκρατική συγκρότηση της χώρας».


Η έρευνα και η τεχνολογία διαδραματίζουν σημαντικό ρόλο στην οικονομική, κοινωνική, περιβαλλοντολογική, ανταγωνιστική και αειφόρο ανάπτυξη της χώρας μας. Η ύπαρξη στρατηγικής για την έρευνα και την τεχνολογία και η καλή και αποτελεσματική οργάνωση τους θα έπρεπε άρα να αποτελεί βασική πολιτική προτεραιότητα. Παρολ’ αυτά οι βασικές μεταρρυθμιστικές προτεραιότητες της χώρας μας ήταν η εθνική άμυνα και η εθνική οικονομία, πράγμα που φαίνεται και από το ποσοστό του ΑΕΠ (για εθνική άμυνα 5-7% ενώ για την έρευνα 0,6%).
Δεν είναι παράξενο λοιπόν, το ότι το νομοθετικό πλαίσιο της έρευνας και της τεχνολογίας που ισχύει σήμερα στη χώρα μας σχεδιάστηκε το 1985 (Ν. 1514/1985). Αν και αυτό τροποποιήθηκε μερικώς πριν περίπου μια δεκαετία (Ν.2919/2001), σε σχέση με τις ραγδαίες αλλαγές που έχουν γίνει στην οργάνωση της έρευνας και της τεχνολογίας είτε σε άλλες χώρες, είτε σε Ευρωπαϊκό επίπεδο, η Ελλάδα έχει μένει όλο και πιο πίσω σε αυτό το χώρο. Σε μια εποχή στην οποία οι περισσότερες κυβερνήσεις, συμπεριλαμβανομένου της Ελληνικής, δίνουν ιδιαίτερη έμφαση στην επιστήμη και στην τεχνολογία, ως το μόνο όχημα που θα μπορέσει να μας οδηγήσει στην ανάπτυξη και έξω από τη κρίση, μια ριζική συστημική αλλαγή στο σύστημα της έρευνας και τεχνολογίας θα έπρεπε να αποτελεί προτεραιότητα. Continue reading

Pollution and Environmental Policy: nitrate pollution from agricultural sources in the case of Greece

[short note: as I’ve mentioned before I have started a new masters course in Public Policy and Management. I will be publishing my essays on this blog, and this is one of these essays.]


In an economy that has achieved Pareto optimality (social efficiency), any additional changes in the economy would benefit some people only by making others worse off. In the real world however, markets fail to achieve this social efficiency and one of the main reasons for this, is the existence of externalities.
An externality occurs when the welfare of individuals and corporate profits are affected not only by the actions of individuals themselves or their companies but also from acts of third parties. Whenever these individuals or their companies are affected beneficially, there are said to be positive externalities, whereas whenever these individuals or their companies are affected adversely, there are said to be negative externalities. A common example of a negative externality is environmental pollution. Pollution will be used for now on, instead of the more general term of “negative externality”. Continue reading

Science and Society: My analysis of the Eurobarometer (1)

So I finally finished gathering my data and did my plots. Before I get into specifics about what exactly did the Greek sample say, I want to mention four things that I found striking:

  1. there was significantly more emphasis in the Greek answers: Even though, in most questions their beliefs appear to be similar to those of other Europeans, their answers were more “emphatic” i.e. their answers were less divided compared to other EU countries. I noticed this by eye, and in an effort to “quantify” it, I ranked all European countries according to their responses using the graph charts presented in the Eurobarometer report. In these graphs, the countries were plotted in descending order, according to the value of the majority and minority percentages in those questions. The country on the far left was thus ranked “1” since it showed the greatest majority percentage. Similarly the country on the far right was ranked “28” (the average of all 27 EU countries was included in the ranking).

In the following graph I present the distribution of rankings of the EU27 average:

Continue reading

Homeopathy :-S

One could say that in this blog, I focus too much on UK science policy news, or generally UK science-related events, trends etc. I have to admit, I find them a tiny bit easier to understand, given that I did all my studying in the UK. But there is another reason why I focus on the UK. I am still a bit scared to look at what is happening in Greece.

Probably in 2002, as a naive 2nd year undergraduate, right in the middle of my tree-hugging phase, I looked online to find out what my government’s views were on GM. I was against GM back then, so I was happy to read that the Greek government was too. However, the reality was very different. Since the government did very little to control GM crops, there were many GM fields in Greece. If I remember correctly, they had to burn huge areas when they found out about them, in order to show they were truly against GM. I was very disappointed to say the least.

My problem with science policy issues – e.g. libel law, abortion, animal rights, MMR, homeopathy, etc – is that I have huge gaps in my knowledge, since I only recently started to be interested in them. I have no idea what are the facts, what are the arguments for and against, for many of these issues. Immersed in my world of theoretical genomics, I did not really pay attention when I was in the UK. This was a good thing in a way, because I managed to get my PhD very young, but on the other hand, I now feel completely overwhelmed. Don’t worry, you might say, there is plenty of time. You are right.

Homeopathy is one of the issues I know nothing about in terms of policy. I have met people of course that use it regularly, but i have no idea what is going on exactly with doctor certification, government expenditure, etc.

Continue reading

Science and Society: step 2 is to plot the data…

This is just a teaser of the data i am plotting.

QC6.8 (see below)  is maybe the question whose answers showed the biggest difference between Greece and the UK so far (I am half way through all the eurobarometer tables).

So a lot more Greek than British people feel that “because of their knowledge, scientists have a power that makes them dangerous”. When all EU27 countries are ranked according to their belief in this statement, Greece is on the one end of the spectrum (2nd most agreeing) and the UK is at the other end of the spectrum (6th least agreeing).

Could this maybe be part of the explanation of why the one country reacts and the other doesn’t?

Science and Society: step 1 is to set the question…

Why is there reaction to science-related issues in some countries, and in others not so much?

Having lived for almost a decade in a country where there were big reactions to science issues (MMR, GM, mad cow, etc), and having moved back to a country where the reactions are not so big – one could say non-existent – it makes me wonder why is this the case?

Of course it comes down to society, but why? What I mean is, of course there are big differences between the British and Greek societies, but which of these differences cause reaction in the former and not in the latter?

This question has been brewing in my mind for quite sometime now since it is different to communicate science to a society that is against it, than to a society that simply does not care. (A related question: why it does not care?)

Continue reading