by Katerina-Despoina Zacharis
This model was submitted to the Greek Economic Forum on March 12th and was selected for one of the five scholarships to be presented in the annual Greek Economic Forum event at Harvard University’s Campus. Due to her IB exams Katerina was unable to participate.
Please click here for a pdf version
While humanity moves ferociously from the Post-Industrial era beyond the Information Age, we are in the middle of a global crisis with many key players involved in geopolitical games, currency wars and other actions with unforeseeable consequences. In this situation we find Greece to have difficulties to cope with crisis and unable to find its way within EU and the International Community.
Moreover, we live in an era where Science & Technology is the central focus for the development of the modern knowledge-based society, especially in combination with the fast evolution of the Natural Sciences and more particularly, of Biology*; 8 out of 10 scientific breakthroughs in 2013 and 6 in 10 in 2014 were in Biology discipline.
Therefore, my vision for a new model for the development of Greece, under the spectrum of Volunteerism, is to specialize and invest in Research, along with Education, in the field of Natural Sciences. We have some state-of-art Research Centres like Biomedical Research Foundation, Academy of Athens-BRFAA, but unless we have Universities like Harvard, MIT and Cambridge that cluster with numerous Research Institutes and Innovation Centres in their areas, collaborating with the Industry (e.g., pharmaceuticals) and creating numerous of spin-offs and start-ups, this won’t be successful.
This investment needs not enormously financial capital but an Intellectual one; the project can be self-financed and/or sponsored. Furthermore, it needs vision, planning, infrastructure, legislation and excellent networking. Where to find this Intellectual capital? In Greece we have many PhD holders, a lot of Research Scientists (RS) and a lot more working abroad that can constitute the core of this Organization.
I am personally committed to Science and to how Research can reach the maximum impact in our society; for this reason I have decided a year ago, to develop the “Bring the Researcher in the Center –BRC” program for my Creativity-Action-Service/CAS project (please click here for a presentation and here for my speech at Hellenic American College – event for volunteerism “The Student as a Volunteer: Actions and Vision”).
The mission is to create an online Community where RS and Students who wish to become RS meet each other and find answers in their concerns, like articles per Research Field, Internships, Scholarships, Institutes in Greece and abroad, Forum, etc.
- Adopt – a – Student for established RS who wish to support future Scientists (Mentoring)
- Adopt – a – School for Research Institutes that can offer old equipment or Sponsors to buy new
- Fundraising events including a Reading Marathon to offer new equipment to High-Schools like Kastelorizo High School.
The homonymous LinkedIn group has about 750 members.
BRC project can evolve to a more thorough venture (a depiction of the model below) to a non-profit Organization, incorporating some existing endeavours (so to better explain in this summary plan), like:
- An online Community, a platform e.g. Ellines.com
- Material for use by the various audiences like Students (this one is funded by UK Heritage Lottery Fund), Teachers, Industry and Academics as per Society of Biology
- Research and Innovation Centres, e.g. Langer Lab, Wellcome Trust Sanger, etc.
- Spin-offs, start-ups e.g. DeepMind Technologies
A project leader, e.g. Prof. Peppas – who collaborates with Prof. Langer, could be appointed to:
- invite RS who will offer their services to students wishing to become RS and have the ability to network and collaborate with other RS (small % of their revenue returns to the Organization)
- and communicate the model to various stakeholders – Government (legislation, Ministry of Education), Universities, Institutes, Industry, etc.,
so to develop the Network and establish an online Academy of Natural Sciences (E).
(*) project should expand in other disciplines like Chemistry, Pharmacology, etc.