The National Hellenic Research Foundation was founded in 1958 originally under the name “Royal Research Foundation”. It is a non-profit Research Foundation supervised by the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT) of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs in Greece.
Today, NHRF consists of the following Institutes and Units:
- Institute of Historical Research (IHR) that emerged in 2012 following the consolidation of the Institute of Greek & Roman Antiquity, the Institute of Byzantine Research and the Institute of Neohellenic Research (L.4051/29/2/2012, article 5, par.2). The IHR conducts research on the political, economic, social and cultural history of the Greek areas and the regions where Hellenism has been active, from prehistoric antiquity to the modern era.
- Institute of Biology, Medicinal Chemistry and Biotechnology (IBMCB) established in 2012 as a result of the consolidation of the Institute of Biological Research and Biotechnology and the Institute of Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry of NHRF (L.4051/29/2/2012, article 5, par.2). IBMCB acts as a focal point, unique within Greece, for innovation at the interface of Chemistry and Biology through a modern interdisciplinary approach to the solution of state-of-the-art issues in the areas of health, drug research and biotechnology.
- Institute of Theoretical and Physical Chemistry (TPCI) established in 1979 from the merging of the Institutes of Physical Chemistry (est.1968) and Theoretical Chemistry (est.1976). TPCI advances research in selected fields of experimental and computational/theoretical chemistry and physics, with emphasis on nanomaterials with advanced functionality for energy conversion and storage, photonics, and electrochemical applications.
- National Documentation Centre (EKT) founded in 1980 as a documentation unit within NHRF initially, developed to a National infrastructure in 1986. EKT is the National institution for the collection, aggregation, documentation and dissemination of the scientific information produced in Greece. EKT provides advanced services to the country’s research, education and business communities and the wider public. Through its e-infrastructure and services on top of the content it aggregates, EKT aims to cover the scientific information needs of the country and promote the Greek research outputs abroad.
- NHRF’s Central Administration Unit, which is the fundamental core of NHRF, having the overall responsibility for handling and managing the administrative, financial and technical issues within NHRF. The Central Administration Unit consists of the following:
- Administrative Section
- Accounting and Procurements’ Section
- Project Management Office
- Technical Services and Administrative Support Section
- Publicity and Promotion Office
NHRF has around 450 employees (both permanent staff members and personnel in externally funded research projects), of which, 85% of them are University graduates with the majority of them to be PhD holders. In addition, NHRF acts as an Educational Centre for undergraduate students, postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers. In particular, NHRF hosts, supports and trains young scientists (approximately 100 per year) who carry out dissertations, doctoral research (in collaboration with Greek universities) as well as post-doctoral papers in the framework of externally funded projects. Finally, a large number of researchers is involved in teaching in the framework of undergraduate and postgraduate programs of Greek and foreign Universities.
NHRF is carrying out around 180 research programmes funded by the European Commission, the Greek General Secretariat of Research & Technology, public organizations and private enterprises. During the period 2005-2012, the overall budget of the programmes amounted to 25,5 million Euros, which were carried out through collaboration with more than 100 partners from Greece and abroad.
Achievements and Innovation
NHRF has become a key player both at the National and International levels in the development of new scientific knowledge. Institute of Historical Research (IHR) is at international level one of the most important places for the study of the Greek archaeology and history (ancient, medieval and modern) and, at the same time, a unique infrastructure of national importance. The two “Natural Sciences” Institutes have excelled in their individual fields of study whereas, in the framework of the strategic policy of the Foundation, they optimize the potentials for synergies due to their spatial and scientific proximity. In addition, the human capital as well as the logistics infrastructures for the common development of innovative interdisciplinary basic research actions and applications is present as well. Both the Humanities and the Natural Sciences Institutes collaborate closely with the National Documentation Centre in joint activities, thus increasing the potential and the outreach of the research carried out at NHRF.
Therefore, the dual scientific identity of NHRF due to the successful coexistence of Humanities and Natural Sciences Institutes affords a unique advantage and achievement at the national level and increases its competitiveness abroad. For their achievements, NHRF’s Institutes have been awarded several times with the Excellence of Science Grant “Aristeia” following assessments carried out by international committees appointed by the GSRT.
For the period 2013-2017 NHRF’s main priorities are the scientific excellence at international level, the enhancement of its educational mission and the link with the Greek economy and society.
The strategy to meet the aforementioned goals includes the following:
- Focus on fields that lie at the forefront of science, especially on nano-materials, medicine, environment, health, photonics and biotechnology applications as well as on innovative technological applications in the broader field of historical sciences and culture;
- Adoption of policies to attract and develop human resources;
- Enhancement of closer partnerships through program agreements with private and public entities, with emphasis on the areas of health, environment, culture and Greek scientific digital content;
- Modernization and expansion of assets for Research Institutes and Libraries for a further development in e- content, repositories and electronic reading rooms;
- Strengthening the competitiveness of the Foundation and the ability to ensure financing especially from the EU and International Organizations.
NHRF has a long history in representing the country in international scientific organizations or other international fora on research and technology, and maintains scientific collaborations with numerous academic and research organizations in the country and abroad.
In particular, NHRF has developed a significant activity on scientific exchanges with counterparts abroad including the Orebro University of Sweden, the Northeastern University, Boston Massachusetts, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the Royal Society of London, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia, the Committee of Scientific Research in Spain and the National Institute for Scientific Research in Portugal, to name but a few.
Furthermore, the three Research Institutes have established a long-term cooperation with a large number of organizations (over 245) and researchers at international level whereas most of the Foundations’ researchers represent the country in international committees and fora.
Moreover, since 2004 NHRF is member of the European Network “EURAXESS Services”, an important institutional tool of the European Commission which supports the European policies related to the development of the European Research Area.
Finally, EKT, as an extrovert organization bringing cutting-edge practices and technologies in the country, thrives on extensive international collaborations. They comprise participation in specialized networks, such as for example NCP Networks (National Contact Points), Technology Advancement Committees (e.g. Committee for the Development of Current Research Systems), numerous European Projects, professional organizations (e.g. the Open Access Scholarly Publishers’ Association), among others. EKT has a leading role in some of these networks, initiatives and/or projects: EKT co-ordinates the European Network for Research Infrastructures National Contact Points (EuroRis-Net 2007-2013), as well as the FP7-funded project Mediterranean Open Access Network (MedOANet) and the Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas and serves as National Open Access Desk for Greece, enabling the compliance of Greek FP7 & Horizon2020 grant recipients comply with the EC’s open access.
The promotion of collaboration and the provision of services towards industry, enterprises and the wider public sector, constitute a fundamental issue for the development of the NHRF. This will be accomplished through the following actions:
- Mapping of the services and the products that the NHRF can provide;
- Identification of potential users of the services and products of the NHRF – mapping of the potential market;
- Support of researchers in their collaboration with other research institutes or industry;
- Support of researchers regarding issues of Intellectual Property, Entrepreneurship, technology transfer etc.;
- Networking with other organizations of technology transfer in Europe;
- Promotion of the research and overall activities of the NHRF to the general public as well as to other research organizations in Europe.