Brussels, 04 July 2002
'Greece does not have the most successful situation concerning technology parks in the world,' admits Yiannis Bakouros of the Centre for research and technology in Hellas (CERTH), located at Thessaloniki science park - the fifth of its kind in Greece. But he believes that a lot of progress has been made in recent years, and that this progress would not have been possible without the support of the EU.
'The EU sign outside our building means 'thank you European Commission for your contribution' to the park, and it means that we think Europe is the future. By definition we are pro-European,' said Professor Bakouros. Greece is currently developing its sixth science and technology park.
Housed at the technology park is the Centre for research and technology - Hellas (CERTH). CERTH is a non-profit entity, founded in 2000, and organised under the Greek Ministry of development. Its mission is to carry out basic and applied research with special emphasis in exploiting research results and develop new products and services with industrial, economic and social impact. 'We try to play the role of liaison office between research and industry,' said Costas Tramantzas from the park's technology transfer unit.
Of CERTH's 11.7 million euro turnover, 70 per cent is provided by the European Commission, and 30 per cent by the Greek government. The centre is involved in a number of national programmes as well as EU programmes, and sees EU funding as the future of the centre.
'To run the institution we need to find money. We will do so by participating in EU projects. We will compete for the money,' said Professor Bakouros. The centre and technology park as a whole are however also seeking to involve the private sector and to benefit from private sector funding. A contract with British Petroleum (BP) has already been secured.
'We aim to be come a 'real' technology park in European terms of size,' said Mr Tramantzas.
The technology park is also home to the management and development corporation, responsible for promoting and enhancing the activities of the Thessaloniki technology park in close cooperation with the Association of industries in northern Greece. The corporation is a partner of the Hellenic Innovation relay centre (IRC), belonging to the IRC network funded by the Commission's Innovation SMEs programme.