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On Friday 7th October 2022, at a special event held at the NCSR “Demokritos” auditorium, the GSRI Research and Innovation Policy Planning and Programming Directorate, jointly with the European Commission, presented the Final Report produced by the PSF international expert panel which had been tasked to review the 28 national research infrastructures (NRIs) covered by the multiannual budgeting plan under the 2014-2020 programming period.

The Action to support Research Infrastructures (RIs) was an important initiative launched by the Greek authorities aimed at enhancing the role of such Research Infrastructures as key actors within the innovation ecosystem, in order to address complex scientific problems and seek solutions to many of the challenges faced by modern societies. RIs constitute a vital component of the European Research Area and the international research community, providing services to users from different countries, attracting new scientists to the research field, creating interdisciplinary communities and promoting innovation and economic growth. The Action, financed by EPAnEK 2014-2020 with a budget of approximately 92 m EUR, succeeded in attaining its goals, according to the findings in the PSF Expert Panel Final Report.

Welcome speeches were delivered by Prof. Athanasios Kyriazis, Secretary General for Research and Innovation, Mr. Dimitrios Kletsas, Vice-president at NCSR “Demokritos”, Mr. Michalis Dritsas, Office Manager of the Deputy Minister of Development and Investments in charge of Research and Innovation, and Mrs. Aggeliki Fetsi, Head of the Managing Authority of the Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Operational Programme (EPAnEK).

The Secretary General for Research and Innovation extended thanks to the EU Directorate General of Research and Innovation, the Policy Support Mechanism and the panel of distinguished, internationally renowned experts tasked to review the 28 national research infrastructures, to the GSRI Research and Innovation Policy Planning and Programming Directorate, to the coordinators and collaborators from the 28 RIs, as well as to the users and all those who contributed in successfully concluding the review procedure and drawing up the Final Report.

He affirmed that the recommendations formulated by the Expert Panel, as presented in the Final Report, will serve as a guide in developing the strategy for the 2021-2027 Programming Period. He suggested that the number of national research infrastructures should not exceed 20 and invited the scientific community to explore synergies and interdisciplinary approaches.

Prof. Kyriazis stressed that officers at the R&I Policy Planning and Programming Directorate work assiduously to develop the new Strategy and update the relevant Roadmap. Specifically for the new Programming Period, he affirmed that the actions required to secure financing of the new Action to support Research Infrastructures through the “Competitiveness 2021-2027” Operational Programme approved in June 2022 had been initiated, and that additional funding was to be provided through the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the Regional Operational Programmes.

Finally, he reiterated that the GSRI will seek to continue cooperation with the EU Policy Support Facility.

Following on Prof. Kyriazis, speeches were delivered by Mrs. Anna Panagopoulou, a Director at the EU Directorate General of Research and Innovation and Mrs. Apostolia Karamali, Department Head at the same Directorate.

Next, Dr. John Womersley, President of the Expert Panel, explained, in a taped presentation, the operating modalities and the tasks carried out by the Panel during a period of about 10 months, and provided a summary of the strategic findings included in the report. The Expert Panel concluded that the Action to support RI 2014-2020 had achieved its objectives and contributed in upgrading the equipment and the facilities of research bodies, enhancing the international visibility and outward orientation of the Greek research and innovation ecosystem and attracting and retaining fresh talent in Greece, while being consistent with the goals of the Smart Specialization Strategy to achieve scientific excellence, promote innovation and address societal challenges.

Mr. Alasdair Reid, rapporteur for the Expert Panel, presented in detail the Panel recommendations following completion of the assigned tasks, as included in the final report, addressed to both the GSRI and the individual research infrastructures. His speech was followed by presentations by members of the Expert Group analyzing, for each competence area, the main findings and recommendations for upgrading national Research Infrastructures; further, a discussion was held and explanations and instructions were provided to RI coordinators and collaborators participating in the event either in person or online.

The event concluded with a presentation by Dr Agni Spilioti, Head of the GSRI Research and Innovation Policy Planning and Programming Directorate, on the project’s final findings, and on the next steps considered by the GSRI for the development of the new Strategy to support Research Infrastructures under the 2021-27 Programming Period, and for implementation of the relevant Action under the new “Competitiveness” Operational Programme, in collaboration with the EPAnEK Operational Programme Managing Authority.