Address100 Nikolaou Plastira str., Vassilika Vouton, Heraklion, Crete GR 70013, Greece
The Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH) (www.forth.gr) is one of the two main National Research Centres in Greece and the only one located in the periphery. It consists of six Institutes located in the cities of Heraklion, (Institute of Molecular Biology Biotechnology (IMBB), Institute of Electronic Structure & Laser (IESL), Institute of Computer Science (ICS) and Institute of Computational & Applied Mathematics (IACM)), Rethymno (Institute of Mediterranean Studies (IMS)), Patras (Chemical Engineering and High Temperature Chemical Processes (ICH/HT)) and Biomedical Research Institute (BRI) in Ioannina, which is a part of IMBB. Recently (Feb. 2018), the Institute of Astrophysics which is based in Heraklion became the 7th Institute of FORTH
FORTH employs over 1200 people and has an annual budget OVER 40 Meuro.
FORTH recognising the importance of science, technology and innovation in today’s world, is actively pursuing:
- High quality basic research
- Development of innovative technology
- Collaboration with industrial partners within and outside Greece
- Creation of spin-off companies
- Development of Science & Technology Parks
- Educational activities in collaboration with Universities
- Publications of textbooks and monographs
- Specialised on the job training programmes.
THE ROLE OF FORTH IN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
FORTH is not just following scientific developments, but it is actively trying to stay at the forefront of current research and technology. Among FORTH’s significant research achievements are the following:
Researchers at the IMBB were the first in the world to succeed in the transfer of genes to an insect that plays an important role in agriculture by opening a new practical prospect for the protection of agricultural production without harming the environment.
Researchers at the IMBB were the first to elucidate the insect chitin synthase and bacterial protein secretion molecular mechanisms, targets for the development of safe insecticides and potent antibiotics.
IMBB has participated in the completion of major international genomic projects such as that of Yeast, Drosophila, Human and recently that of Anopheles mosquito.
DNA/RNA restriction and modification enzymes are produced by IMBB and sold under the name MINOTECH to European and American companies. The largest share of the Greek market products of synthetic DNA products (oligonucleotides) is maintained by the Microchemistry Lab of IMBB.
In IESL, novel techniques have been developed for the micro structuring of materials by laser etching or deposition. Three-dimensional nanostructures with interesting application prospects in sensors, high-density information storage, photonic band gap materials etc have been obtained. Laser based techniques have been developed at IESL for cleaning, analytical imaging and structural diagnostic applications in art conservation.
ICS activities in the area of telecommunications and networks led to the development of FORTHnet, which is historically the first and today the largest and most advanced multi-protocol computer network in Greece.
ICS is contributing to the widespread adoption of the principles of universal access and usability at national and international levels, and the development of applications and services that promote the equal participation of all citizens, including people with disabilities, in the Information Society. One of the many achievements in this field is the AVANTI Web Browser supporting universal access.
The technologies developed at ICS and the available know-how in the various fields of expertise have created a favourable environment for the island of Crete to play a major international role as an Information Technology and Telecommunications node in the wider Southeastern Mediterranean region.
The main mission of FORTH is the engagement in high quality basic and applied research. In carrying out this mission, FORTH does not neglect the development of new technologies, the diffusion of know-how and the creation of new products and services in an effort to respond to the demand of the Greek society for modernisation and innovation – features, which will allow the country to actively participate in the international economic competition.
In response to these challenges, FORTH, among other activities:
- Created 3 Science & Technology Parks (Crete, Patras, Thessaloniki) in the periphery of Greece.
- In collaboration with the Greek Industrial Association in Athens and Northern Greece Association in Thessaloniki, created HELP-FORWARD, (www.help-forward.gr). Its mission is to make Greek enterprises and laboratories more competitive via technology transfer, to facilitate the exploitation and utilization of RTD results, to strengthen the links between research and industry, to promote and facilitate innovation in enterprises and to contribute towards enhanced European cooperation
- Created several spin-off companies among which FORTHnet S.A. is the largest Internet provider in Greece.
- Is engaged in sales of products and services of high technological content in an effort to test them in the domestic and international market and open the way for new spin-off companies.
- Developed the HYGEIAnet network, (www.hygeianet.gr) which aims at strengthening health care in the Region of Crete guided by the principles of universality, accessibility, comprehensiveness, portability and public administration.
- The Department of Education and Training of ICS provides training in the use of computers and computing skills by offering courses targeted to various groups of professionals and students in the region of Crete. So far, more than 8,000 people have attended these courses.
FORTH is currently collaborates with more than 300 local or international companies, and plays a very important role for the development of academic spin-offs in Greece.
The Science and Technology Park of Crete (STEP-C) (www.stepc.gr) was established in Dec. 1993 by FORTH and opened its doors in 1996. The idea was to promote the creation of a third thrust of development on the island, in addition to the agriculture and the tourism industry.
The main objectives of the Park are:
- Technology Transfer.
- Encouragement/Attraction of Companies to the Park.
- Promotion of the Park products.
- Educational Centre.
The Park has 4000 sq.m. of floor space with more than 100 offices and 12 labs, accommodating (at this moment) 25 technological and service companies in two buildings, at a privileged physical location, nearby Heraklion, the business centre of the island. The companies, which reside on the Park premises, are active in the areas of Information & Communication Technology, Biotechnology, Laser Applications, Biomedical Technology and Services.
FORTH is currently participates in more than 260 projects, funded from national and international funds.
On April 22, 2005, FORTH signed the agreement with the European Commission to host the European Network Information Security Agency (ENISA, www.enisa.eu.int). The Agency assists the Commission, the Member States and, consequently, the business community in meeting the requirements of network and information security, including present and future Community legislation. ENISA will ultimately serve as a centre of expertise for both Member States and EU Institutions to seek advice on matters related to network and information security.