The first institution in Greece to facilitate the liaising of the defence industry with higher education and research was presented on Monday at a special event which also marked its foundation, held at the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Named ‘DefencEduNet’, this non-profit organization brings together three universities that are based in northern Greece (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, University of Macedonia, International Hellenic University) and the Hellenic Manufacturers of Defence Material Association (SEKPY), the Centre for Research & Technology Hellas (CERTHE) and the Thessaloniki Innovation & Technology Center (THESSINTEC).
At the meeting, the aim of this new organization was described as seeking to create a hub for connecting domestic companies active in the defense industry with the country’s higher education institutions and research centers in view of generating new knowledge, products and technologies in the fields of defence, security, digital transformation and space research and technology.
This is a historic step for the universities and the defence industry, noted Aristotle University of Thessaloniki’s rector Apostolos Apostolidis.
By taking this step, he added, “we are breaking a decades-long taboo that kept universities away from the economy and the industry, particularly the defence industry”, he added.
These universities and research institutions “are today committing to cooperate in view of providing a framework of synergies among the country’s scientific community, starting in northern Greece and Thessaly, able to mobilize experienced scientists alongside the Greek defence industry”, he pointed out. In turn, the Greek defence industry “is called to respond to business challenges of the European defence industry so as to create conditions that will allow the EU to strengthen its defence capabilities”, Apostolidis underlined.