Comparative advantage

The announcement by the Education Ministry yesterday of new measures to boost research and development would normally fill us with optimism. Past experience, however, is rather sobering. Scientific and technological research, compared to the EU average, has been stagnant or on the wane. Greece’s R&D spending stands at the EU average, nearly the same level as that of newcomers Malta and Slovakia. In order to prompt a social spillover, research must serve some long-term national strategy. Greece can barely excel in basic research. Rather, we should take a fresh look at areas where Greece appears to possess an advantage, such as the environment, alternative sources of energy, biotechnology and biological food products. Most importantly, the funds and effort must go where they should. We must not waste funds on so-called operational costs or unnecessary political procedures.

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