On Wednesday 23 October, the British Ambassador to Greece, Kate Smith CMG hosted the launch event of the Gianna Angelopoulos Programme for Science, Technology and Innovation (GAPSTI) at her residence in Athens.
The programme was presented by Mrs Gianna Angelopoulos, Professor Eilis Ferran, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional and International Relations at the University of Cambridge and Dr Nikolaos Nikiforakis, Programme Director. The Head of the University of Cambridge Department of Physics, Professor Andy Parker FInstP, CPhys, was also present.
Dr Nikiforakis took the occasion to share the activities which the Programme has funded since it officially started in March 2019. In its first eight months, the programme offered bursaries for Greek students and professionals to attend a course on high-performance computing in Cambridge, allowed five Greece-based SMEs to take part in a growth programme and funded lectureships in Materials Science and Scientific Computing.
Dr Nikiforakis also announced some of the upcoming activities, which are all part of the Impact for Greece element whose aim is to establish strong links with Greek academic institutions and industry, facilitating a two-way exchange of people and ideas with opportunities for postgraduate study and research targeted at early-career Greek researchers.
He stated: “The Programme has been received with great excitement by the scientific community of the University, and I am delighted to announce that participating Departments have already leveraged Programme funding by converting the three fixed-term lectureships into tenured Associate Professorships.
In the same spirit, we are currently negotiating with industry (including Boeing and Schlumberger) on 1:1 matched research funding, thus doubling the Programme’s PhD studentships.
GAPSTI will continue to drive collaborations with the potential for major societal impact.”
The event was well-attended by Greek industrialists, academics and policymakers, as well as a number of delegates from the University of Cambridge with links to the programme.
In her address, Kate Smith referred to the strong links between academia and business:
“Ground-breaking research has defined the University of Cambridge for centuries. Partnerships are the key to fund future programmes, attract the finest postgraduates and enable excellence. Partnerships between the University and its Colleges; with the cluster of entrepreneurs and companies around our city; with NGOs and institutes across the globe. Each relationship is reciprocal, enriching the entire network and multiplying our ability to ensure that the University’s next discoveries will deliver—on a global scale.
GAPSTI initiatives represents the very best of collaboration between the UK and Greece – education, entrepreneurship and collaboration have never been more important, and it is wonderful to see such a prominent leader in the Greek community establishing such a future-facing programme.”
Mrs Angelopoulos spoke of her vision for Greece’s significant human capital – the talented and promising young scientists.
“We want to support young scientists, bright, hard-working people who have excelled and whose professionalism is ready to take-off. To support them, so that they undertake research at the front line of scientific interest – but also where industry is in need of research input.
I am very happy that 15 Greek students have already been able to follow a course in high-performance computing at Cambridge, while SMEs are also participating in a programme designed to help them develop their organization’s managerial skills, setting them up to grow.
Such is our philosophy, a philosophy that one finds at the core of the Cambridge Cluster, based in excellence; that is for research and business to work hand in hand from the very start – putting advanced instruments at the disposal of the real economy.”
Professor Ferran noted:
“The ties that bind us to our European friends must be reinforced, and the GAPSTI programme does exactly that, through exchanges of ideas, but equally importantly, through strengthening cultural understanding. GAPSTI enables all involved to make vital connections.”