HFRI’s Scholarships for 500 young doctoral candidates
A decisive step towards the implementation of the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI) actions was taken through the official announcement of the evaluation results of 2,144 proposals submitted by doctoral candidates. More than 500 of them will receive a scholarship to conduct their PhD research.
The submitted in November 2016 proposals were evaluated on the basis of their scientific background and the ability of the doctoral candidates to carry out the research work they undertook in their dissertation.
Particular importance was attached to the transparency of the evaluation process, which was carried out in two phases: Firstly, two independent experts were consulted for each proposal, while the final evaluation and ranking of the proposals was made by specialized committees of renowned scientists in each scientific area. A total of 232 scientists were involved in this process, which due to the large number of proposals it was laborious and time-consuming.
It should be underlined that HFRI’s actions constitute a specific policy initiative of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs to fund young scientists and the Research carried out in the Universities and the Research Centers of the country. The total available resources for the three-year period 2017-19 are € 240 million and derive from the Public Investment Program (€ 60 million already paid) and the European Investment Bank (€ 180 million). Initially, 8.5 million euros were available for this call. However, due to the high quality of the submitted proposals, this amount was increased to 13.5 million euros, so that a larger number of doctoral candidates could be supported financially. The amount of the scholarship is 900 euros per month and can last from 1 to 3 years. These data exemplify the large-scale intervention that takes place in order the national scientific potential to be financially supported. Both the regularity and the consistency in the relevant calls allow the researchers to schedule the activities of their projects and open career prospects for the future halting, thus, the one-sided brain-drain.
In this first call, the number of the successful candidates in the four-key areas of science is expected to be:
- 122 in Natural Sciences
- 125 in Engineering and Technology Sciences
- 129 in Medicine and Health Sciences
- 129 in Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts
It is noted that, through the specific action of HFRI, some significant support is provided in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences, which suffers from chronic and serious underfunding. This fact reflects the new Strategy for Research in the country, and extends to all the research actions that will be funded by HFRI.
The Alternate Minister for Research and Innovation, Costas Fotakis stated on the occasion of the evaluation results announcement:
"The results of the doctoral candidates’ evaluation reflect the Government's willingness to support the young scientists, the most important asset for the future towards the economic regeneration of the country. The HFRI is an additional, valuable and flexible tool for the development of a comprehensive and complete research policy tailored to the country's current needs. The quality and scale of interventions are expected to be a powerful antidote to the justified disappointment of young scientists and to the one-sided brain-drain that has been intensified during the crisis. Creating attractive opportunities and career prospects is at the core of this effort.
With a series of similar initiatives that are already being implemented in an effective, consistent and coherent manner, the Government is stepping up the country's outstanding scientific potential to shape a new development model based on the Knowledge Driven Economy.’’