Eurobank and SEV Hellenic Federation of Enterprises jointly hosted the awards ceremony for the second "Greece Innovates!" competition today at the Cultural Centre of the Foundation of the Hellenic World. The event and competition celebrate Greek companies that have developed innovative technologies and services.
The "Greece Innovates!" competition for Applied Research and Innovation takes place every two years and was organized by Eurobank and SEV for the first time in May of 2010. The competition highlights the wide spectrum of research in Greece, helps mobilize the country’s creative forces, and attracts private capital for investment—serving as the bridge between entrepreneurship, finance, and innovative scientific research.
The competition has been a major success in supporting Greek innovation, based not only on the high-quality and large number of applications (542 in total for both competitions), but also on the participation of many organizations and educational institutions from all over the country.
Under the coordination and supervision of the competition’s scientific council, which is comprised of distinguished members of the academic community, twenty proposals qualified for the final stage of the 2013 “Greece Innovates!” competition. Four winners were selected, two in each of the applied research and innovation categories:
First Prize: Dr Constantine Balas
Spectral machine hyper-vision for early and non-invasive diagnosis
Electronics Laboratory, Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, Technical University of Crete.
Second Prize: Dr Evangelos Gogolides
Smart nanostructured surfaces and bioanalytic labs-on-chip: Nanotexturing matter
Demokritos National Center for Scientific Research.
First Prize: Ignatios Fotiou
SEATRAC – Autonomous access to the sea for people with kinetic disabilities
TOBEA MECHANICAL APPLICATIONS Ltd (spin-off company of The University of Patras).
Second Prize: Panagiota Dragani
Greek Propolis with highly antioxidant and photoprotective properties
The Minister of Competitiveness and Development, Kostis Hatzidakis, addressed the attendees while Eurobank CEO Christos Megalou, Eurobank Deputy CEO Michael Colakides, SEV Chairman Dimitris Daskalopoulos and SEV Vice President Haris Kyriazis presented the awards.
Minister Hatzidakis stressed that utilising the resources of the new 2014-2020 NSRF programme will be crucial for enhancing innovation, as the new program emphasises "smart specialisation", entrepreneurship and innovation. "The solution to the problem of competitiveness is obviously not to become a third-world country, but to emphasise specialisation in areas of advanced knowledge and technology. Innovation is the main means to gain additional comparative advantages in today's competitive environment," he said.
The Minister of Development also pointed out that the government’s reform efforts are yielding results and the goal of achieving a primary surplus is now close, helped by record tourism inflows this year.
The Minister added that if Greece continues with the same determination next year, the country will move decisively into a new, positive economic trajectory.
In his address, Eurobank CEO Christos Megalou stated, "This competition aims to improve our competitiveness on an international scale. The only way for future generations to not be vulnerable to a relapse of the crisis is by nurturing a strong and innovative economy. We know how to achieve this: it can only result from the integration? of cutting-edge scientific research with private enterprise—and by fully utilising all available sources of funding to support these ventures."
SEV Chairman Dimitris Daskalopoulos said, "Our future as a society and our economy depend on our ability to build a new, internationally competitive production base. It is a huge undertaking, the dimensions and requirements of which are not well understood by either the political world or by the majority of society. The SEV/ Eurobank competition is a testament to the opportunities we have as a country and the will to overcome obstacles to outward growth."
The ceremony was embellished with the speeches of two distinguished innovative scientists:
* Professor Joseph Sifakis: Turing Award 2007, Director at CRI (Center of Integrative Research) Grenoble, Founder of VERIMAG, Professor at EPFL ( Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne), Member of the French Academy of Science.
* Professor Nikos Stergiopoulos: Director & Professor of the Laboratory of Hemodynamics and Cardiovascular Mechanics, at EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne).
In its short history, the "Greece Innovates!" competition has already established an impressive track record of aiding the process of innovation and project implementation. Out of the 21 proposals that were short-listed in the first competition, seven teams have already launched their products in domestic and/or international markets, eight teams have signed business deals and are at the final stage of product development, and six [[[group]]]s are being evaluated by potential business partners for the commercial implementation of their innovations.
For more information on the competition, the final stage candidates, the selection and award process, and the winners please visit http://www.kainotomeis.gr/EnglishPage.aspx?page_id=1070.