THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF A COUNTRY they are, without a doubt, the rails on which the economy runs and decisively influence its rate of growth and competitiveness. That is why the creation of infrastructure, the promotion of sustainable and inclusive industrialization and innovation is explicitly included in the United Nations’ agenda for sustainable development (Goal 9, Sustainable Development Goals 2030).
Especially for the strengthening of scientific research and technological innovation, the creation of quality, reliable and durable infrastructures is a prerequisite. This conclusion was agreed upon by all the representatives of every area of the Greek innovation ecosystem, who were summoned during the last year to the Research and Technology Committee of the Parliament. In fact, in the Commission’s recent Report entitled “The business exploitation of technological research and innovation” specific proposals for improving the infrastructure are reflected, such as indicatively:
• Creation of digital infrastructures to ensure consistently high internet speeds and greater mobile coverage, so that Greece can compete with the countries that lead the way in attracting start-up businesses, such as Portugal, the Netherlands, Israel, the Baltic countries etc.
• Technological and environmental upgrading of the research centers, by strengthening the digital infrastructures and with a zero carbon footprint (smart and green).
• Strengthening the density of each technology community (creation of technology parks, hubs and clusters), in order to facilitate the direct connection and osmosis of those involved in research and innovation. For example, to host technological hubs and clusters, the building stock of the Public Employment Service (D.YP.A. formerly OAED) or new urban regeneration projects, such as Elliniko, can be utilized.
It is true that the recent developments in the field of technology parks, with the government initiatives for ThessIntec and the CHROPEI State of Innovation, as well as digital infrastructures are particularly auspicious. In particular, investments in digital infrastructure by international giants such as Microsoft, Cisco, Amazon, as well as, just recently, Google are opening new perspectives for the Greek economy, putting Greece at the center of the digital map of Southeast Europe. With the creation of the Google Cloud Region, i.e. a region with high-tech physical infrastructure, such as data centers and telecommunication networks, which will provide advanced cloud computing services to organizations and businesses, Greece is emerging as a digital hub at the junction of three continents. At the same time, it is estimated that by 2030 – just from this particular investment – 20,000 new, well-paid jobs will be created, contributing to the reversal of the brain drain.
In summary, strengthening the technological infrastructure in our country will create the necessary basis for building a new, sustainable production model, based on research, knowledge, talent and technological innovation.
Christos Tarantilis is Member of Parliament of the State of Greece, Chairman of the Research and Technology Committee of the Parliament, Professor of the Athens University of Economics.
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