Endeavour, creativity and success were celebrated at the festive awards ceremony of the “Greece innovates!” competition held in Athens sending a message of optimism about the country. The competition is a joint initiative of SEV Hellenic Federation of Enterprises and Eurobank EFG.
The Scientific Council, which comprised of prominent members from the academic community, and was the reviewing body of the competition, granted awards to four out of the 21 competition entries who had qualified for the final selection phase. Two awards were granted in the field of Applied Research and two in the field of Innovation. The wining entries are:
1st Prize: awarded to the research team of Raycap SA, a company based in Marousi, Attica, for the ''STRIKESORB 30-DRM The Ultimate Surge-Protection Technology Reliable, Maintenance-Free, Easy & Practical''. The team is comprised of Dr Zafiris Politis (representative), Dr Fotis Xepapas, Dr Grigoris Kostakis, Mr Spiros Pappas, Mrs Eleni Dimou, Mr Dimitris Ioannidis and Mrs Eva Giannelaki. According to Mr Politis, “Raycap has evolved into an innovative company in research and product development. Our exports to the U.S.A., Canada, Germany, the Scandinavian countries, and other, exceed 90% of sales. This award is a great honour and an important impetus to continue our efforts”.
2nd Prize: awarded to the research team at Athens-based Danaos Management Consultants SA, for the ''Emulation in Intelligent Management Systems: The Global Optimum Approach''. The team is comprised of Mr Panayiotis Varelas (representative), Mrs Sofia Archontaki, Mr Ioannis Dimotikalis and Mrs Dimitra Moutsikopoulou. “The award is an extreme honour for us because of its significant value”, according to the team representative, Mr Panayiotis Varelas. “The award is the culmination of an exemplary, transparent and merit-based competition. I would accordingly like to thank the organisers at SEV and Εurobank, as well as the other institutions that promote our nation’s manpower, intellect and inventiveness, as a National Asset, through positive thinking and optimism”.
1st Prize: awarded to the research team at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki for ''AquAsZero: An efficient granular solid adsorbent for the removal of both trivalent (As3) and pentavalent arsenic (As5) from potable water''. The team is comprised of Mr Manassis Mitrakas (representative), Mrs Sofia Tresintsi, Mr Konstantinos Symeonidis, Mr Joseph Georgiou, Mr Georgios Stavropoulos, Mr Anastasios Zoumboulis, Mr Ioannis Tsiaousis and Mrs Maria Katsikini. According to the team representative, Mr Mitrakas, “concentrations of Arsenic that are above the drinking threshold are found in the drinking water of many areas; in both Greece and throughout the entire world”. “The development of tetravalent manganese theroxyte offers a solution for the equivalent removal of both types of arsenic from the water, while also reducing both the fixed costs for the facilities as well as the cost for water treatment.”
2nd Prize: the research team at the National Centre for Research and Technological Development (ΕΚΕΤΑ), which is based in Thessaloniki, for the ''Second-Generation Biodiesel Fuel Production through the Catalytic Conversion of Waste Cooking Oil''. The team is comprised of Mrs Stella Bezergianni (representative), Mrs Angelique Kalogianni and Mr Athanasios Dimitriadis. “I would like to thank the organizers at Eurobank and SEV for promoting this competition and highlighting new technologies, including ours”, said the team representative, Mrs Bezergianni. “The 2nd generation biodiesel production technology through the catalytic hydrogen processing of cooking oils can exploit huge quantities of used cooking oils to produce an economically viable bio fuel with stable specifications that does not require an engine conversion. It is estimated that the exploitation of the available quantities of used cooking oils in Greece can meet 10 % of the diesel needs, which is a target for 2020, in accordance with the corresponding EU directives.”
The prizes were awarded by: Mr Thanos Moraitis, the Deputy Minister for Development, Competition and Shipping, as the representative of the Prime Minister; Mr Dimitris Daskalopoulos, the Chairman of the SEV; Mr Nicholas Nanopoulos, Chief Executive Officer of the Eurobank EFG Group and Mr Nikolaos Karamouzis, the Group’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer.
During his speech, SEV Chairman Mr Dimitris Daskalopoulos, linked innovation with the overall need to promote a spirit of change in the country. “The challenge of the times is to dare to change now, and then change again and again. This is the message that has been actively embraced by the creative forces in our country”, was noted by Mr Daskalopoulos, who added: “The future cannot be foreseen; it must be shaped. And the future is shaped by those that expand and exploit knowledge. The future is mapped out by those who pose the right questions and not by those who think they have the answers. The future is forged by those who dare to act, even when uncertainty is the only certainty that exists.”
Mr Nicholas Nanopoulos, CEO of the Eurobank EFG Group, stressed the need “to move rapidly on the basis of a growth strategy that is built on expanding our production base and developing our comparative advantages, on openness and on an export-oriented economy with value added products and high quality services, with an emphasis on innovation, research and knowledge”. Mr Nanopoulos stressed that “Only then can we boost our competitiveness, restore the shaken confidence and shape a business-friendly environment, which will mobilize venture capital, attract investments and create business opportunities and employment. In such a development plan, the emphasis on knowledge and innovation must be a pillar of strategic importance. There is the Greece of knowledge, ideas, research, and efforts, the Greece that believes in its abilities and builds its future, by refuting those who treat it unfairly or undermine it.”
During the awards ceremony Mr Nikolaos Karamouzis, the Deputy CEO of the Eurobank EFG Group, announced that given the success of the competition, the warm reception from both the scientific community and the business world, as well as broader public opinion, the co-organisers have decided to institutionalize “Greece innovates!” and proclaim the competition every two years.
Οn the part of the Scientific Council, National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) Professor, Mr Giannis Kalogirou, stressed that the credibility and the transparency of the judging process was a key factor to the competition’s success. According to Mr Kalogirou “These types of initiatives assist the research community in bypassing the so-called ‘Valley of Death’ obstacle that separates the conception of an idea and its scientific investigation from its implementation and the beginning of mass production,” This competition “puts innovation into public discourse and highlights its critical role for economic growth”.
The awards ceremony for the “Greece innovates!” competition was held on Tuesday 5th July at the “Hellenic World” Cultural Centre. For further information on the competition, the candidates in the final phase, the selection and award procedures and the winners, visit the www.kainotomeis.gr website.
Meet here the 21 Finalist!