Skrekas: In April the new “Innovation Research” with EUR 300 million for actions in four areas

The government’s research and development support plan aimed at total annual expenditure reaching 3% of GDP was developed by the Minister of Development, speaking at the 18th Multi-Conference “Innovation & Development”, organized by “Innovation is the locomotive that will take our country forward,” said Kostas Skrekas, pointing out the need to connect research and development with businesses. “In 2023 to 2025 we have aimed to channel 1.2 billion euros into innovation actions from the General Secretariat for Research and Innovation. At this time we are preparing the National Innovation Strategy and in the autumn we want to have it completed so that we can put it in public consultation,” he said, noting that the final plan will be put to the vote in Parliament. “Our goal is to transform Greece into an innovation hub, doubling the total expenditure on research and innovation from 1.5% of GDP, which is now 3% of GDP over the next 5 to 7 years,” he explained. In April the new ‘Research-Innovation’ With regard to the funds to be allocated in the coming period Mr Skrekas said: “We will channel 403 million euros from the Recovery Fund into focused innovation actions over the next three years, 207 million for the upgrading of research infrastructures – and the EKETA gets an important piece from there -, 139 million euros in basic and applied research, 3 million euros for the upgrading of the “Elevate Greece” platform, 25 million euros in 36 research projects that have been evaluated with a high rating in “Research-Innovation” and had not joined due to budgetary constraints over the previous period.” On the new cycle of the Research-Innovation programme, it announced that EUR 300 million will be allocated, assessing that it will open in April to receive applications for actions in four areas. Further, the Minister referred to actions to strengthen chambers and upgrade technology transfer centres. “We want every Chamber of Commerce in the country to create an incubator, a centre for promoting entrepreneurship and innovation with money from the NSRF and the Public Investment Programme, so that the Chambers can play the role we want in innovation. We upgrade and strengthen the Technology Transfer Centers, the OBI, the Industrial Property Organization named and Innovation, OVIK. We want and create a national capacity centre, a national Innovation Agency, so that through there all innovation centres created and coordinated, when an investor from the market, an entrepreneur wants to see in the product that produces what research is done.” The country’s progress in investment in research Mr Skrekas, presenting the relevant indicators, noted that investments in research in our country exceeded 3 billion in 2022. “Annual state expenditure on research and development in Greece amounted to 1.6 billion in 2022, increased 51% compared to 2018 and 116% compared to 2012, where less than half a billion had been allocated. In 2022, research and development costs – not public expenditure, not public investment – of EUR 1.5 billion were incurred in companies alone, an increase of 22% compared to 2021. That is, only companies in 2022 invested in innovation as much as all operators overall in 2015, which means that companies realise that only through innovation and the production of added value products can move forward,” he said, adding that Greece “for research and development from 2012 to 2022 and in absolute numbers is seventh in terms of expenditure, with 1.5% of GDP in 2022 out of 0.92% of GDP in 2015”. With regard to new entrepreneurship, Mr Skrekas noted that “we have made several records in attracting investment over the last five years”. “The value of Greek start-ups from 1.1 billion euros in 2017 has been eight times more than 8.2 billion euros already in 2022. 17%, i.e. 141 start-ups, are in the regions of Macedonia. The 120 are in Thessaloniki […] In 2023 there were 11 acquisitions of new businesses, some of which exceeded 100 million euros, one in Thessaloniki recently. In 2023 13 active Greek venture capitals with a total of EUR 545 million invested in 62 startups companies and covered 85% of the total volume of the agreements.” Thessintec of Europe’s largest technological parks Referring to Thessintec Mr. Skrekas stressed that “it will become the first Greek fourth generation innovation centre, will be among Europe’s largest technological parks and it may be the first time that so many members of the Greek ecosystem – and not only – will actively participate in our country’s development strategy based on innovation.” “Thessaloniki is already an innovation hub and has excellent dynamics and this is evidenced by the advent of Pfizer, Deloitte, Cisco, Chubb, Accenture, Deutsche Telekom who will soon surpass the 5,000 highly qualified, highly paid personnel employed here in Thessaloniki”, concluded the minister.