The National Hellenic Research Foundation (NHRF) is a multidisciplinary Research Centre established by Royal Decree on 9th October 1958. Its purpose is the organisation, finance and support of high-level research projects in the humanities and the natural sciences.
The NHRF today comprises of the following research institutes and departments:
The Humanities Institute covers a wide spectrum of study and research fields in Greek history and culture, contributing substantially and critically to the knowledge and promotion of Greek identity.
The Natural Sciences Institutes perform basic and applied research in leading edge areas of science such as health, pharmaceuticals, environment, biotechnology and new materials. They develop innovative methods for solving complex problems facing Greek industry and they provide specialised services and know-how both to the public and private sector.
Apart from these six Institutes the following national scientific facilities are operated by the NHRF. These are:
The NHRF is governed by the Board of Directors and the Central Administration under the Director/Chairman of the Board.
Service Units within NHRF
- The Science and Technology Library (C.Th.Dimaras Library), which was established in 1958 and serves the entire Greek scientific community (30.000 readers and 10.000 users of its reprint service yearly). It is a reference library for all 233 libraries, which constitute the National Network of Scientific and Technological Libraries (NNSTF). There is also an electronic Reading Room within the Library area, which offers access to the content of EKT's Digital Library of Science and Technology (Greek and international databases and electronic magazines).
- The applied Spectroscopy Laboratory (ASL), for the development and demonstration of methodologies and applications relevant to selected industrial needs and services.
The Photonics for Nano-application Services Lab (PNSL), for photonic devices and systems development.
- The Laboratory for Molecular Analysis (LMA) equipped with precision instrumentation provides analytical services in the fields of food, drinks and pharmaceuticals and offers services to research centres as well as to the food and pharmaceutical industries.
The Steroid Receptor Laboratory provides high-standard steroid receptor assessments in breast tumors from various hospitals within the country. Clinicians use receptor levels in order to decide on the appropriate therapeutic scheme for each patient. Given its time-long and extensive service, the laboratory has substantially contributed to the effective treatment of breast cancer in Greece.
- The Biomedical Applications Unit develops complex methods of diagnosis, forecast and treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases with modern therapeutically schemes.
The Industrial Enzymology Unit develops new enzyme applications for the biotechnology industry leading to process improvement and better quality products with desirable attributes.
- The Environmental Toxicology Unit performs applied research related to the appraisal of health risks from toxic environmental substances.
- The NHRF Bookstore promoting the NHRF's publications
Achievements of the NHRF
The NHRF in 40 years of operation has demonstrated substantial research output harmoniously covering both the humanities and the natural sciences spectrum. Additionally it has developed significant scientific and technological services and products for the public and private sectors. Its historical course has shown that it is a dynamic institution, which meets the modern challenges of research and technology.
The NHRF employs approximately 290 people, of which about 50% are scientists with Ph.D.'s and a substantial biography in research projects, while the remaining 50% consists of specialist personnel in the Central Administration and support personnel of the individual Institutes, the EKT and the Library. Within the NHRF, training is offered to approximately 80 post-doctoral and post graduate researchers in collaboration with the University of Athens, the National Technical University of Athens, the University of Patras and other universities, supported by research programmes with external funding. Also, externally funded research programmes support around 326 collaborating researchers. Finally, scientific collaboration is promoted between scientists and researchers of Greek and International universities and research organisations.
The NHRF has carried out 416 research programmes for the European Union, the Greek General Secretariat of Research & Technology, public organisations and private enterprises during the period 2000-2004. The overall budget for these programmes amounted to 25,5 million Euros, which were carried out through collaboration with more than 100 partners from Greece and abroad. The financial assessment of the NHRF for the four-year period 2000-2004 has shown that it has ensured a financial inflow double the amount of its State Budget from external sources. Additionally, the NHRF represents Greece in the European Science Foundation (ESF) and other international scientific organisations, and also maintains programmes of scientific exchange with many European scientific organisations.
The evaluation of the NHRF in Autumn 2000 by international committees under the auspices of the General Secretariat of Research & Technology, resulted in the possibility for all the Institutes to become potential Centers of Excellence on an international scale, while three of the Institutes; The Institute of Greek & Roman Antiquity, The Institute of Theoretical & Physical Chemistry and The Institute of Organic & Pharmaceutical Chemistry have already been recognised as International Centres of Scientific Excellence in the following research fields:
- Collection and systematization of hitherto unexploited or little exploited sources for the study of Ancient Greek history and culture.
- Nanostructured Inorganic and Organic-Inorganic hybrid materials.
- New approaches against neurodegenerative diseases.
For this distinction the NHRF has been financed by the program ''Excellence'' with the sum of€ 900.000.
- The use of new technologies for the production of multimedia products and innovative tools that facilitate the digital registration, organisation and information flow of data and scientific papers, electronic publications and data bases as well as the recovery of manuscripts and documents in the research fields of the Humanities Institutes.
- The application of DNA in the study of molecular biology, pharmacology of cancer, ageing and the interaction between DNA and the environment, EPR Spectrometry in biotechnology and the use of immobilized biocatalyst on a nanoscale.
- Biocatalysis in supercritical carbon dioxide, micro emulsion, solvent free systems.
- Development of explicit software for modelling of metabolic pathways and specific cellular mechanisms.
- Interpretation of various gene expression profiling experiments.
- Development of innovative chemometric methodologies for the control of industrial processes.
- Development of methods and software for the evaluation of material properties.
- Development of innovative photonic methodologies, devices and systems for nanoapplications.
- Development of optical and optoelectronic systems for metrology and industrial applications.
- Novel synthetic methodologies towards functional materials, bioactive molecules and dendrimers.
- Transition metal homogeneous catalysis methodologies as versatile tools for organic synthesis
- Development of novel synthetic methodology towards synthesis of biologically active compounds.
- Design and synthesis of bioactive compounds.
- Determination of crystal structure of macromolecules for structure-based design of potential drugs.
- Development of de novo algorithms and computational methods for rational drug design.
The research policy of the NHRF aims at a balanced development of the Institutes along the following basic axes:
- The development of basic research through a) the promotion of innovative basic research and b) the promotion of scientific collaboration with other Greek and international research Institutes.
- The promotion of medium term applied research a) through the utilization of national and European competitive programme for Research and Technology (3rd CSF and the 6th Framework Programme for Research of the EU) and b) the reinforcement of the technological infrastructure and know-how in innovative areas of Research and Technology
- The improvement and promotion of collaboration with industry and the productive sector a) through development of new research laboratories and the application and creation of innovative services and b) the development of spin-off businesses with the collaboration of funding organisations with the aim of improving the exploitation of research results.
The future course of the NHRF is largely based on its active participation in collaboration networks of the European Union and the Ministry of Development (3rd EU Initiative). In parallel, as a fundamental strategic objective, the NHRF projects its strong presence in the South-Eastern area of Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean and also undertakes activities aiming at the reinforcement of research, technological and cultural collaboration with the regional countries (NETRIMED). Additionally, the NHRF participates in the National Network of Mobility Centers in collaboration with the Center for Research and Technology - Hellas (CERTH).
The promotion of collaboration and the provision of services towards industry, enterprises and the wider public sector, constitutes a fundamental issue for the development of the NHRF. This will be accomplished through the following actions of the Liaison Office:
- Mapping of the services and the products that the NHRF can provide
- Identification of potential users of the services and products of the NHRF - mapping of the potential market
- Support of researchers in their collaboration with other research institutes or industry
- Support of researchers regarding issues of Intellectual Property, Entrepreneurship, technology transfer etc.
- Networking with other organizations of technology transfer in Europe
- Promotion of the research and overall activities of the NHRF to the general public as well as to other research organizations in Europe