Spin-off companies are flooding the universities and research centers of Northern Greece

There are close to 50 spin-off companies, which have been created in recent years in Northern Greece by universities and research centers, while even more are in their infancy, with the aim of developing business activity, through transport, in the Greek and international market, of the research produced within them. And this, at a time when 80% of the research produced in Greece is estimated to come precisely from universities and research centers.

At the same time, representatives of universities and research centers express the need to free research from cumbersome bureaucratic procedures and further support technology transfer offices, while pointing out the importance of business education and mentoring.

The above emerged from a discussion entitled “Actions of universities and research centers”, which took place in the context of the event entitled “Innovation in Northern Greece and the organizations that support it 4.0”, which is being organized today and tomorrow, in Thessaloniki.

With 75 million turnover at AUTH in a five-year period from national and international research programs.

There are 15 seed companies that have already been established at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), while another five are expected to start soon, as pointed out by the previous rector, Nikos Papaioannou, according to which AUTH also has 77 active patents , while its turnover from national and international research programs amounted to 75 million euros in the last five years.

Mr. Papaioannou also pointed out that in the last four years there have been important legislative initiatives in Greece, which “unstuck” the innovation process, which means more autonomy and self-reliance for universities to use the available tools.

He added that, if there is something that needs to be legislated at this stage, it is to provide for the permanent funding, from the universities’ budget, of the technology transfer offices that operate in them. He also announced that the AUTH Technology Transfer Office currently has five members, to which ten will be added by the end of 2023.

The further strengthening of industrial contracts is a goal for EKETA

Eighteen spin-offs, of which three are new, operate at the National Center for Research and Technological Development (EKETA), based in Thessaloniki, according to its president, Dimitris Tzovara, who also announced the management’s intention to strengthen the sector of industrial contracts, following in the “footsteps” of those recently signed with multinationals such as Pfizer, Coca-Cola and Philip Morris.

Mr. Tzovaras also characterized as very important the participation of EKETA in the fourth generation technology park ThessINTEC, expressing the hope that the start of the project will take place in 2023 or at the beginning of 2024 at the latest. At the same time, the hydrogen hub in the west has already started Macedonia, while the “SPIRA” technology transfer actions are “running”, which bring closer universities and research centers.

According to the president of EKETA, tax incentives still need to be legislated, so that companies can establish new laboratories or finance existing ones, together with research centers, with a specific annual budget. “We don’t mind at all having a Kleemann or Alumil laboratory at EKETA,” he said characteristically.

Six spin-offs are being created at the University of Macedonia, according to associate professor Konstantinos Fouskas, head of the institution’s Technology Transfer and Innovation Unit, who underlined the need for long-term strategic planning for Greek universities.

The University of Western Macedonia, which, among other things, participates in the “European Institute of Innovation and Technology”, continues its course with ten companies – technology startups, while it recently upgraded its technological capabilities with a new computing center, as pointed out by its rector, Theodoros Theodoulidis.

There are four artificial plants operating at the Democritus University of Thrace (DUT), according to its rector, Fotios Mari, who reminded that in June the DUT organizes an Innovation Week, while “running” the European digital hub for the agri-food sector, worth an investment 4.5 million euros, the only one for Greece, in collaboration with the Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace and EKETA. At the same time, the IFT is proceeding with the procurement of new laboratory equipment, amounting to 10 million euros. Finally, Mr. Maris underlined the need to subsidize research programs and results, which lead to products and services, which are proven to be integrated into the market.

The need for ELKE – through which the research funds are managed – to be freed from the bureaucracy and public accounting was underlined by the vice-chancellor of the International University of Greece, Stamatis Angelopoulos