Greek Universities Generate Most Original Research, But Have Limited Impact on Country’s Economy

Greece’s universities and other tertiary education institutes generate the most original research in the country, according to a report by the National Documentation Centre (EKT) released on Wednesday.

Even though their share of total R&D activity exceeds 35%, making it one of the highest in the EU, their contribution to innovation and the national economy is still limited, however. There is also a high degree of dependence on state funding, though they are increasingly seeking funds from alternative sources and reviewing financing strategies.

The report also noted that national spending on R&D has increased in recent years, in spite of falling macroeconomic indices in many areas. This is mainly through the absorption of National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funds, even though Greece continues to rank low among EU member-states.

Based on the most recent statistics available (for 2015) the rate of R&D spending was 0.96% of GDP.

Of the domestic businesses that innovate with respect to products or procedures, 10.5% have entered into some form of cooperation with a Greek university or research foundation.

The number of Greeks with doctorates has also increased since the mid-2000’s, with Greece ranking among the top 10 countries for the number of PhD holders per 1,000 population.

The so-called ‘European Paradox’ — namely a discontinuity between the generation of high-level research results and the ability to exploit these commercially — appears to be even more evident in Greece, while the contribution of Greek businesses to total national R&D spending is markedly lower than in other countries (0.28% of GDP, compared to a European average of 1.3% of GDP). This indicates an ineffective use of research results by the real economy and production.

This is also reflected in the low number of patent applications submitted by Greek businesses to the EU, which account for only 0.1%.

Source: ANA-MPA