People attend an event at the National Technical University of Athens during European Researcher's Night in Athens, Greece, on Sept. 30, 2016. Greek universities and research institutes opened their doors to the public with scientists showcasing their work to children and adults, and stressing the need for more funding to continue their projects. It is part of the European Researchers' Night, the annual event celebrating science and research across Europe. (Xinhua/Lefteris Partsalis)
by Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- Greek universities and research institutes opened their doors to the public this week with scientists showcasing their work to children and adults, and stressing the need for more funding to continue their projects.
It is part of the European Researchers' Night, the annual event celebrating science and research across Europe.
The main objective of the initiative launched 11 years ago is to raise public awareness on what researchers do and the significance of their projects for daily life.
On the sidelines of celebrations, academics and young researchers in debt-laden Greece where austerity cuts in education and research have led to brain drain in recent years requested more financial support to their work.
The National Technical University of Athens opened its doors on Friday and Saturday inviting young students and grownups interested in science to watch presentations by researchers, participate in experiments with them as well as artistic events.
As children joined an educational "treasure hunt" game and adults attended workshops, professors and young researchers speaking to Xinhua also pointed to the challenges they face due to the debt crisis.
In 2015, Greece invested 0.8 percent of its GDP to research, while the average for European Union member states stood at 2.1 percent, according to the General Secretariat of Research and Technology of the Education Ministry.
The target is to increase the percentage to at least 1.2 percent of Greek GDP by 2020. European Structural and Investment Funds hold a critical role in the efforts.
Addressing another recent event, Deputy Minister of Economy, Development and Investments Alexis Haritsis said that one billion euros will be invested in coming years to bring closer academic research to entrepreneurism.
A Greek Foundation of Research and Innovation will be established under a draft bill tabled in parliament this September.
The aim is to support research, young scientists and reduce the dramatic brain drain after 2008. More than 427,000 Greeks have left the country from 2008 until this year, according to a central Bank of Greece survey published this summer. Half of them are aged 25-39. One out of three is a university graduate.