Brain drain

Amongst the plethora of reports on the lack of quality in the Greek education system, there is often the risk of forgetting that these evaluations refer to the average, not the better, students. As this newspaper has often pointed out, these above-average students are those who honor their country by achieving success abroad. Giorgos Dasios, a distinguished mathematician, university academic and researcher interviewed on page 3 today, not only confirms this fact but goes a step further. He says that every year Greece keeps producing «impressive brains.» Even if average academic standards are in decline, the best keep getting better. At a time when when there is much talk about the critical value of knowledge, these are indeed grounds for optimism. Moreover, Dasios also says that in recent years the country’s »impressive brains» are not always forced to leave. In Greece, enough valuable research work is being done that in many cases is considered better than that carried out at famous universities in the West. The quality of the researchers and the blossoming of research might be grounds for optimism, but not all of Dasios’s comments are as favorable. The head of a medical research program producing two innovative diagnostic tools, the distinguished mathematician adds that these inventions have not been made use of. Greece has not developed the means to link research with production and the market. So pioneering research by Greek scientists cannot become commercial programs or products with a Greek trademark, and therefore produce added value for Greece. Many of these inventions remain unexploited, others are discovered by foreign firms. One does not have to go far to realize what a loss this is for the country, in terms of sales, jobs, support for secondary research and prestige. Support for scientific research and the exploitation of its results are questions of national interest and should be dealt with through systematic planning and cooperation between the state and private sectors, so that these «impressive brains» should not be lost to Greece.