Established: September 2013
The South East European Research Centre (SEERC), Thessaloniki
Triple Helix interactions are perceived as key to the fast paced development of the knowledge based society. Building such interactions with proper protocols and missions can lead to innovation progress, entrepreneurial capacities, and enhanced knowledge and technology transfer with the ultimate goal of a successful engagement in regional development. Such interactions involve several shifts especially in higher education, which has to assume an entrepreneurial role and to incorporate in its mission knowledge commercialization strategies by involving industry and government. These shifts can be successfully observed in developed countries, where the regions nearby universities burst with entrepreneurial ventures, innovation capacity, and overall improved regional economy. This is not the case in South East Europe and especially in Greece. The harsh economic environment, low communication among Triple Helix actors, the rigid structures of academic institutions, obsolete regulatory framework, lack of business-oriented culture, limited support for entrepreneurial activities, low innovation score, and severe brain drain, point towards the fact that Triple Helix interactions are not being performed in this area.
In this context, the establishment of the Triple Helix Association (THA) Chapter in Greece aims to boost Triple Helix interactions in Greece and in the South East European region, and potentially assist the region by enabling proper long term sustainable regional development.
The SEERC is an overseas research centre of the University of Sheffield, England, UK, established as a non-profit legal entity in Thessaloniki. The Centre was founded in 2003 by the University of Sheffield International Faculty, CITY College – a faculty which experienced a successful process of internationalisation of higher education. The belief that South East European (SEE) countries form an area of exceptionally high calibre research potential underpins the initiative for the establishment of SEERC.
SEERC’s mission is to support the stable and peaceful development of South East Europe by conducting pure and applied research in and for the region. The SEE region is characterised by varying levels of development between countries, and a low level of cross-country business networking, largely due to the region’s fragmentation. SEERC employs the research capacities of the University of Sheffield and its International Faculty CITY College, by facilitating collaborations between their research staff and by developing multi-disciplinary networks of researchers from across South-East Europe. The Centre was established as a means of building capacity for the benefit of the region. Research at SEERC addresses economic, technological, political, social, and cultural challenges facing an enlarged and enlarging Europe, and is organised around three broad areas of concern: Enterprise, Innovation and Development; Information and Communication Technologies; and Society and Human Development.
SEERC have achieved stakeholder engagement in developing research agendas based on actual needs and aspirations. It constructs research questions in a way that facilitates evidence-based policy discussion at the local/ regional level, becoming a local/regional “think-tank” that promotes initiatives, tools and policies at the strategic and operational level for local stakeholders. SEERC ensures that infusion of knowledge external to the region is “facilitated/translated” by local academic staff with knowledge of local needs and specificities. SEERC is an organizer of numerous networking events and is actively engaged in regional development. The Chapter can provide an official mechanism for continuing such activities which are vital for the SEE Region.
The content-specific aims of the THA Chapter in Greece are tailored around the recommendations of the THA. Overall, the main aim of the Chapter is to create an effective dialog among national/multi-national entities in order to bolster the innovation and entrepreneurship capacity and engage in the regional development of Greece and the South East European region.
The Chapter intends to promote analyses and studies on the interaction between universities, firms, and government, aimed at translating academic models into practical achievements. It will support international exchange of scholars and educate scholars in the field of THA’s mission. It will organize international symposia of relevant scientific interest, provide a common discussion framework for Triple Helix actors in order to engage in regional development of Greece and of the South East European Region, boost the innovation capacity, encourage and support entrepreneurship and fight the regional brain drain.
The Chapter in Greece aims to expand to the wider SEE Region in order to create a solid development block with coordinated knowledge resources and activities that will help the region progress.