Greek Scientist in California Explains Factors Fueling Brain Drain in Greece



A new opinion piece, entitled “Free Greek science from political hampering,” was published in EuroScientist, the official publication of the EuroScience non-profit association of researchers in Europe, by SciencePOD on Monday, October 5, 2015, urging the Greek political class to support research in Greece in a meaningful way.

The article was conducted by professor of medicine, health research and policy, and statistics at Stanford University in California, USA, and former professor at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece John P.A. Ioannidis in his effort to give a frank account of the real hindrances standing in the way of further developing Greek research.

John P.A. Ioannidis
Prof. John P.A. Ioannidis

Professor Ioannidis, using scientific excellence as a judging criterion, considers Greece to be one of the richest European countries. “Greece is one of the richest European countries. My personal yardstick for counting wealth for a nation is scientific excellence,” his piece reads. “According to Scopus, there are approximately 200,000 distinct authors of scientific papers with Greek surnames. Per Google Scholar, there are at least 30 Greek scientists who have published highly influential papers or books as first or last authors.”

However, according to the Greek scientist’s article in Euroscientist, the main factors contributing to the exacerbation of the so-called “brain drain” in Greece are closely linked to the lack of funding for science, stiff hierarchical systems, nepotism, general corruption, political interference into university affairs, as well as the harsh austerity tantalizing the country during the current economic crisis.

Due to the aforementioned, “Half of the Greek-surname authors publishing in 2012 had a working address outside of Greece, and only 1 of the 30 top-cited Greek scientists work primarily in Greece,” says Professor Ioannidis. The professor does not hesitate to use the current Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, and his government as a vivid example that reinforces his claims about the lack of meritocracy in the country.