Greek science on the brink

Nature – “We are trying to survive and go along as if nothing is happening,” says Dimitra Thomaidou, a microscopist at the Hellenic Pasteur Institute in Athens. Despite Greece’s financial crisis, optimism was the prevailing mood at last month’s meeting of the Hellenic Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Athens, where Thomaidou coordinated a session. Meeting attendance was at a record high, and chat was full of references to fancy equipment purchases and Greek success in winning participation in European research-infrastructure programmes. But as the financial crisis deepens and university and research spending, already among the lowest in Europe, shrink further, staying optimistic is a constant battle. Academic salaries have been cut by 20% and university budgets have halved since the crisis began about two years ago. Still, money from the European Commission and international grants is keeping the best Greek scientists committed to their work. “It may sound irrational, but we just don’t think we can live without our research,” says Thomaidou. Read article

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