The General Secretariat for Research and Technology of the Ministry of Development and Competitiveness is responsible for designing, implementing and supervising national research and technological policy. In 2003, public spending on research and development (R&D) was 456.37 million euros, a 12.6% increase from 2002. Total R&D spending (both public and private) as a percentage of GDP has more than doubled since 1989, from 0.38 percent to 0.83 percent as of 2014.
Although R&D spending in Greece remains lower than the EU average of 1.93 percent, between 1990 and 1998, total R&D expenditure in Greece enjoyed the third-highest increase in Europe, after Finland and Ireland. Because of its strategic location, qualified workforce, and political and economic stability, many multinational companies such as Ericsson, Siemens, Motorola, Coca-Cola, and Tesla have their regional research and development headquarters in Greece.
Greece has several major technology parks with incubator facilities and has been a member of the European Space Agency (ESA) since 2005. Cooperation between ESA and the Hellenic National Space Committee began in the early 1990s. In 1994, Greece and ESA signed their first cooperation agreement. Having formally applied for full membership in 2003, Greece became the ESA’s sixteenth member on 16 March 2005. Greece participates in the ESA’s telecommunication and technology activities, and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security Initiative.
The National Centre of Scientific Research “Demokritos” was founded in 1959. The original objective of the center was the advancement of nuclear research and technology. Today, its activities cover several fields of science and engineering.
Greece has one of the highest rates of tertiary enrollment in the world, while Greeks are well represented in academia worldwide; many leading Western universities employ a disproportionately high number of Greek faculty.
Notable Greek scientists of modern times include Georgios Papanikolaou (inventor of the Pap test), mathematician Constantin Carathéodory (known for the Carathéodory theorems and Carathéodory conjecture), astronomer E. M. Antoniadi, archaeologists Ioannis Svoronos, Valerios Stais, Spyridon Marinatos, Manolis Andronikos (discovered the tomb of Philip II of Macedon in Vergina), Indologist Dimitrios Galanos, botanist Theodoros G. Orphanides, such as Michael Dertouzos, Nicholas Negroponte, John Argyris, John Iliopoulos (2007 Dirac Prize for his contributions on the physics of the charm quark, a major contribution to the birth of the Standard Model, the modern theory of Elementary Particles), Joseph Sifakis (2007 Turing Award, the “Nobel Prize” of Computer Science), Christos Papadimitriou (2002 Knuth Prize, 2012 Gödel Prize), Mihalis Yannakakis (2005 Knuth Prize) and physicist Dimitri Nanopoulos.
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