• Greece’s six prominent research centers to benefit from landmark project in various fields, from technology and innovation, to biomedical sciences
  • The European Investment Bank (EIB) will support the investment program in the form of €119 million loan over 25 years
  • EIB support expected to create more than 700 full-time jobs, including 525 highly skilled research professionals

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide a €119 million 25-year loan for a new investment for the upgrade and expansion of strategic research and development (R&D) infrastructure in Greece.

The new financing will be used to support six of the most prominent Greek research centres in the form of the construction of multiple new research buildings, the renovation of existing ones, as well as the purchase of scientific equipment. As well as improving facilities and infrastructure, the new investment is also expected to create more than 700 full-time jobs, of which the large majority (525) are for highly-skilled research professionals.

The new financing between EIB and Greece’s Ministry of Development and Investments and the Ministry of Finance, was announced at the Armed Forces Officers Club in Athens on November 24, during a signing ceremony of the loan agreement by Christian Kettel Thomsen, EIB Vice-President, Greece’s Minister of Finance Christos Staikouras, and Christos Dimas, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Development and Investments. European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas, and representatives of the Research Centers also attended the signature.

“The 119 million financing support by the European Investment Bank, through a 25-year loan for key-investments in research and innovation, reconfirms its constant support to Greece and to our economy’s course to strong and sustainable growth. I am very satisfied for signing the relative loan agreements with the EU bank today, since the construction, renovation and expansion of 6 major Greek research centres will reinforce the country’s research infrastructure and will create new working positions – mainly for highly-skilled research professionals –, thus contributing to brain-gain – the return to Greece of specialized scientists who left the country during the financial crisis of the past decade”, said Christos Staikouras, Greece’s Minister of Finance and EIB governor.

“Investing in research and innovation is a strategic priority for the government. The agreement with the EIB for the upgrade and expansion of strategic research and development infrastructure of six research centres signifies the commitment the government has in supporting the scientific community. We believe that this financing agreement in combination with the funds allocated for research and innovation from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) will act as an accelerator for research and innovation in Greece in the following years,” said Christos Dimas, Deputy Minister of Greece’s Ministry of Development and Investments.

“The European Investment Bank is pleased to provide 119 million of financing to a new investment in the country that backs the efforts of the Greek government to promote investments in strategic research infrastructure. This project is crucial for Greece, which once complete, is expected to create more than 700 full-time jobs, the majority of which will be for highly skilled research professionals; therefore indirectly benefitting the national research community. I look forward to seeing at first-hand in the future how the new investment has made a real difference in Greek innovation, ensuring a positive future for young and talented researchers,” said EIB Vice-President Christian Kettel Thomsen.

The EIB loan will be used to back the construction of multiple new research buildings, the renovation of existing ones, as well as the purchase of scientific equipment for the following research centres:

  • Centre for Research & Technology - Hellas (CERTH),
  • Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH),
  • Biomedical Sciences Research Centre “Alexander Fleming”,
  • National Hellenic Research Foundation,
  • “Athena” Research and Innovation Centre, and
  • Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens

Supporting Greece’s brain drain policy challenge

The new support announced will also help to generate employment opportunities for PhD and Post-doc researchers, positively affecting the supply of young researchers in the Greek labour market. Crucially, this means that the investment is also expected to have a social impact by helping to tackle some of the brain drain experienced in the previous years that has deprived Greece of highly trained scientists, as young, talented, enthusiastic, and visionary researchers were forced to look for opportunities abroad, being unable to contribute for growth in their own country.

EIB education and innovation track record in Greece

Today’s agreement also builds on the EIB’s strong track record on the education, research and innovation sector in Greece in recent years, notably the support to three other major research centres - Demokritos, the National Observatory of Athens and the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research - and previously the Bank’s support for the establishment of the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation, as well as the financing for campus development at six universities across Greece.