Physicist Hatzifotiadou Says Greece Must Lure Back Best, Brightest

FILE - People walks past a mural by street artist Alex Martinez outside a shop which sells bags at Psiri area, central Athens, on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Reversing the “brain drain,” of Greece’s youngest and smartest who fled the country during a nine-year-long economic crisis will need more than just tempting them with jobs, noted physicist Despina Hatzifotiadou, a key researcher for the CERN nuclear project said.

She told the Athens News Agency (ANA) in an interview that the government, now under the Radical Left SYRIZA, needs to develop a strategy and policy that will keep top people in the country and try to get back those who left.

That also means creating growth, with foreign companies still wary over political instability with elections coming, a big hike in taxes and elements of SYRIZA trying to keep out major investors, holding back a stronger recovery after the Aug. 20, 2018 end of three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($365.51 billion.)

Scientists, professionals and others who left in search of work and respect for their talents, instead of being marginalized and sidelined in Greece’s clientelist system that holds down entrepreneurs in favor of political appointments also are looking for more than just work, she said.

Those who come back after having absorbed other cultures, mindsets and ways of working, through their experiences abroad, “can play a very positive role in changing Greek society,” Hatzifotiadou said – unless they’re held back again.

She also spoke about the useful role that the Greek scientists participating in major international experiments can play as mentors, guiding and promoting younger Greek colleagues, helping them join research teams and secure funding from programs, using networking and knowledge of how things work to secure orders for Greek companies.