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The newsletter of the European Commission's Innovation Directorate





January 2003




3. Achievements demonstrate Greek potential

    The past two years have shown an intensification of initiatives to encourage industrial development and innovation.

W ithin the third Community Support Framework (third CSF - under the European Regional Development Fund), more than 50 separate measures relate to different aspects of innovation; some for existing companies and others to encourage the creation of new firms, indicating Greece's real commitment to restructuring and modernising its industry base. Some of the key actions are:

• PRAXE – encouraging market exploitation of research results through creation of academic spin-off companies

• TANEO – subsidising private-sector venture capital funds specialising in seed capital for new technology-based firms

• ELEFTHO – supporting the development of incubators and science and technology parks, both existing and new, and providing incentives for their tenants

• KETA – setting up 13 regional centres of entrepreneurial and technological development and providing information and consulting services to companies

• Young Entrepreneurs – for men and women between 18-35 wanting to start their own businesses in manufacturing, commerce, services or tourism.

Other measures provide support to promote excellence in business activity, international co-operation and technology transfer, increase public awareness of research and technology, and include the concerted actions in the thematic sectors mentioned earlier. Scoreboard

The European Commission's 2002 Innovation Scoreboard( 1 ) shows rapid improvements in both business and public expenditure on R&D, and Greece came second only to Ireland for growth in real GDP in 2001, achieving 4.1%( 2 ). Among EU Member States, Greece shows the highest year-on-year growth for three of the Scoreboard's indicators (public R&D spending, business R&D spending, and spending on information and communications technology, proportional to GDP); and the second highest for participation in life-long learning. According to the Scoreboard, weaker areas for the country are filing of patents in both Europe and the US, and home Internet access. The leading innovative Greek regions, identified for the first time within the Scoreboard, are Attica and Crete.

Innovation Scoreboard 2002 – trends for selected indicators

See diagram
Click to enlarge Regional strategies

At the level of Greece's 13 regions, the third CSF requires the regional authorities to allocate a specific budget for innovation. The regions may decide the best way to do this, and in many cases their decision builds on preparatory work done within the Regional Innovation Strategies network (see ' Innovation in the regions '). At the same time, the national competitiveness programme is developing a regional dimension: an initiative to bring together universities, companies, regional authorities, R&D institutes, and technology intermediary organisations of both the public and private sectors and devise a programme to support innovation in each region. Komninos notes that, "If an action is supported through the regional programme, it is not duplicated in the regional part of the national programme."

Urenio, at Aristotle University, has been involved in developing regional innovation strategies since 1994 and has contributed to many programmes in Greece, Cyprus and other countries. It has also worked on innovation strategy within the European Regional Development Fund to bolster the innovative capability of the regions. Recently work has focused on linking innovation with information technology tools, to analyse the needs of the constituent stages of product development. Urenio's Observatory for Innovation and Development is creating databases and indicators for measuring innovative performance at regional level, analysing the performance of Greek regions, and supplying tools for innovation and knowledge management. (1) 2002 European Innovation Scoreboard, European Commission, December 2002.
(2) European Competitiveness Report 2002, European Commission.



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