Career prospects for young researchers in the spotlight at National Hellenic Research Foundation

Experienced researchers from different scientific disciplines presented research prospects and opportunities, emphasizing on the benefits of networking for researchers worldwide.

An unconventional discussion, ‘Career talks’, held on 28th November by the National Hellenic Research Foundation (NHRF) and the National Documentation Centre (EKT), considered prospects and career opportunities in research as part of the ERA-Mobilcar.GR –HORIZON 2020 project and the ‘Knowledge and Partnership Bridges’ initiative.

Experienced researchers from different scientific disciplines presented research prospects and opportunities, emphasizing on the benefits of the networking of researchers worldwide and the opportunities that may arise from different mobility programmes.

The first speaker, Dr. Nektarios Nasikas, a physicist specialising in the physical chemistry of materials and Director of the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI), referred to his first steps as a young researcher, his return to the country, the difficulties he faced and the unfolding opportunities for young researchers in Greece. He explained the ways HFRI supports research in Greece, referred on the ‘capacity building’ and the need to support young scientists so that Greece could become competitive in research and science.

The next speaker, Dr Kalliopi Dasyra, an astrophysicist, post-doctoral researcher at the National Observatory of Athens and winner of the L’Oreal-UNESCO for women in science (2016), talked about her own career as a young researcher, the return to Greece, her commitment on goals and finally the recognition in the field of science.

Dr Panayiotis Zoumpoulakis, a researcher on Institute of Biology, Medicinal Chemistry & Biotechnology of National Hellenic Research Foundation, head of liaison of Interinstitutional Program of Postgraduate Studies (MSc) in Bioentrepreneurship’ with enterprises in biotechnology, considered an issue which is a major concern not only for many young researchers but also the country as a whole, that is how to combine research and laboratory science with entrepreneurship, ultimately strengthening domestic output.

Dr Maria Kaliampou, Senior Lecturer in Modern Greek Language of Yale University, joined the discussion via Skype call and was the only scientist of the panel who has not permanently returned to Greece. However, thanks to her work abroad acts as an ambassador for Greek science in the USA. She told the audience about her own career in research and explained how the Erasmus mobility programme gave further impetus to her international career. She mentioned the particular characteristics of the Social Sciences and Humanities, and how to combine research in these fields with the market.

Last to speak was Dr Ioannis Baziotis, Professor in Agricultural University of Athens and the first Greek to participate in the NASA mission in search of meteorites in Antarctica in November 2017. He stressed the importance of a young researcher following his or her dream!  He referred to his own career, the many obstacles he met, the importance of inspiration for young researchers and commitment to goals, saying, ‘Science is a lifestyle’ - a specific set of values for individual researchers.

The discussion was co-ordinated by Dr Vasilis Gregoriou, Director and Chairman of the NHRF Board. In closing the discussion he pointed out the remarkable research and scientific potential of the country, which is equal to that of other countries.

The event was jointly organised by the National Documentation Centre and the initiative ‘Knowledge and Partnership Bridges’. The latter aims to link and network Greek scientists, entrepreneurs and professionals, whether they have left Greece or remained, documents the results of the mobility of human resources in today’s socio-economic conditions, understand the needs of different communities and promote opportunities for collaboration and networking.

The two-day event ‘Career Talks for Young Researchers 2018, organised by NHRF on 27- 28 November 2018, to support young researchers in particular in finding opportunities for a successful career in research. was held as part of the ‘ERA Mobility and Researchers Career Days in Greece: A contribution to decrease brain drain (ERA-MobilCar.GR -HORIZON 2020)’ project, which encourages the mobility of young researchers and aims to highlight professional opportunities for highly qualified young scientists in the wider field of research., with information from EKT, NHRF