Brain drain – Incentives for scientists to return to Greece
Help is coming from abroad! And this time it is not in the form of the members of a board of directors, which in the past did little benefit to the Greek universities, but in the form of special positions in the higher education of the country that will be addressed to the great scientists abroad. Our new academic “ties”, thus, will not be based on communication moves and resounding commitments, but on serious legislative initiatives introduced for the first time in the country to create conditions for scientific prosperity in the field of research and connection of Greece with major centers abroad.
Our country is opening its academic door to the scientists which it lost in the last 10 years (but also further in the past) and especially those who are within the European borders as, according to the data, about 420,000 Greek scientists moved to other countries of the European Union, during the financial crisis. In total, more than half a million Greeks have left in the last decade, the majority of whom are highly educated or scientists. The reasons for their departure, of course, were not only the financial crisis, but also the unworthiness, nepotism, deep corruption they encountered in Greek higher education institutions or the bad working environment in domestic companies.
According to the exclusive information of “NEA” newspaper, with the new framework law of the Ministry of Education that is expected to be presented immediately after the Christmas holidays, the following institutions are now introduced:
The famous Joint Chairs that will be addressed to Greek university professors abroad, who are interested in returning to our country academically. It is a widespread institution abroad, which brings together the scientific and research staff of different institutions or countries. With the regulations of the new law, it will be possible for Greek professors working in universities or large research centers abroad to obtain a more “stable” position of visiting professor in a Greek university.
What does this mean? That for one to three months a year they will be in a Greek university, where they will be obliged to exercise their teaching and research duties with a physical presence. Naturally, their presence will limit the phenomena of first-level teachers who have lost their “motivation” for teaching or research, as they have now reached the highest position in their scientific field. The “competition” will come from within, as no one will want to work in an environment where the difference in the level of academic presence is obvious to everyone.
As mentioned in the law, the duration of this relationship of visiting professors with Greece can be at least three plus three years, so that each of them acquires a strong academic bond with Greek universities. The institution of Joint Chairs (already implemented with great success in technologically advanced Israel and other countries) will support and strengthen the research collaborations of tertiary education institutions, while it will directly upgrade them according to international evaluation standards.
Part time job
Who is this new international call for? It concerns renowned Greek professors (of course), who while working in universities abroad can also have part-time employment, educational and research activity in other higher institutions of the world and specifically, in this case, in departments or schools of Greek universities.
What will they undertake in Greece? As provided by the provisions of the new law, they will undertake the teaching of courses in Greek universities, transferring their know-how to our country (ie undergraduate or postgraduate courses), supervising diploma or diploma theses, supervising and directing doctoral candidates, in research projects if they wish, but at the same time they will support their host department scientifically, in order to upgrade, to conclude new international collaborations, to connect with the major research centers abroad.
According to the provisions of the law, they must have at least two months with a physical presence in the Greek university, while the rest of the time, if each professor wishes, his / her academic cooperation with the country can be performed remotely.
The institution of joint degrees
The recent case of the connection of the National Technical University of Athens with Columbia University showed the way. Joint Degrees are now officially instituted, as well as “joint degrees” between Greek and foreign universities. This collaboration can be done in all three cycles of study (undergraduate, postgraduate or doctoral research), while Greek teachers who are abroad can also participate in such.
The creation of new positions of Teaching – Research Staff for recipients of ERC grants related to major research projects funded by the European Research Council. These programs are currently considered the most competitive and highly prestigious research projects in Europe.
In fact, the law of the Ministry of Education will state that in order to attract new notable researchers to Greece, universities will be allowed to allocate positions in their teaching staff for members of the Teaching – Research Staff who want to return to Greece through ERC grants. Obviously, of course, such a possibility would function as a very important condition that would push young researchers abroad to apply for similar programs with a university in Greece.