Call for Research Project Proposals 2018

In 2018 the Hellenic Observatory launched an exciting research initiative to further fulfil and develop its mission and study of contemporary Greece and Cyprus in the field of the social sciences. The programme became possible due to new funding granted for the specific purpose of furthering the Hellenic Observatory’s research agenda. The Hellenic Observatory would like to acknowledge grateful and sincere thanks to the A.C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation (ACLCF) and Dr Vassili G. Apostolopoulos for the provision of funding for this purpose. The 2018 call is now closed.

Applications from researchers were invited to conduct time-sensitive and globally competitive policy relevant research on contemporary Greece and/or Cyprus. A large number of high quality proposals were submitted and the successful applications will be announced soon.

Research Themes & Level of Awards

1.Researchers were invited to submit a research proposal on one of the following themes for an award up to £20,000. One Project has been selected (1 award).

£20,000 grant - project wil run for a maximum 24 months (1 award)

1(a) ‘Sources of growth in post-crisis Greece: economic analyses of growth drivers for the Greek economy’
As Greece exits its prolonged crisis, it becomes all-important for the country to revisit its growth model and to design a new and holistic strategy for growth, with an inclusive vision. In the past, growth has been driven mainly by cheap borrowing / credit expansion and consumption. Significant gaps in investment, both domestic and foreign, a weak export base and low technology-content characterised the economy even at the period of high growth prior to the crisis. In response to this challenge, a number of proposals have started to emerge recently, calling for the development of a more extrovert economy, with lower institutional rigidities and re-specialisation in dynamic sectors of comparative advantage.
This research call wishes to contribute to this debate. We invite research proposals that will pursue analytically grounded and methodologically robust research seeking to analyse existing and prospective comparative advantages for the Greek economy, within the country’s international and geo-political context, and will propose specific areas for policy intervention to foster sustainable and equitable growth for the future. Research proposals may include (multi-)sectoral studies or economy-wide analyses; they may have a focus on one or more areas in economics (e.g., finance, regulation, trade, productivity, industrial organisation); and they may use quantitative and/or qualitative data and methods of analysis. 

1(b) ‘The role and capabilities of Independent Authorities in Greece in the formulation and implementation of public policy’
Regulatory bodies with partial or full autonomy are playing an increasingly visible role in significant issues of public policy in Greece. Linked with the market reforms required under bail-out agreements, the idea that non-majoritarian institutions should be more influential and play a more important role, especially in the implementation of public policy, has taken hold. There have been instances where these authorities have figured prominently in public policy decisions and actions such as the National Broadcasting Council and the Competition Commission: in other instances new ones have been created to meet the demands of a specific policy area, such as the Civil Aviation Authority.
Proposals submitted for this call should include a thorough analysis of the role and impact of such independent institutions in specific policy areas taking into account their formal powers, resources and capacity, and ability to impact. We would encourage applicants to consider the effect of the Eurozone crisis on the roles of these institutions, and their treatment by the broader political and public administration system. Of particular interest would be a comparison of these formal powers, resources and impact with other EU member-state counterpart authorities with a view to creating a broader, generalizable set of conclusions. Of particular interest would be coverage of areas such as broadcasting, public procurement, energy, civilian aviation and other relevant bodies.

2. Researchers were invited to submit a research proposal on one of the following themes for an award of up to £8,000. Two Projects have been selected (2 awards).

£8,000 grant - projects will run for a maximum 12 months (2 awards)

2(a) ‘Reforming the state education sector in Greece: Pitfalls and Prospects’
Education is a key component of state provision and central to prospects of growth and economic development. The state education sector in Greece has proved to be an extremely contentious political space and a focus for much public policy in the last two decades. In fact, in the last decade or more successive governments have tried introduced numerous reform packages aimed at higher education and the primary and secondary education are constantly on the policy-making agenda. Both in Greece and in Cyprus, the state education sector compares badly with European counterparts.
We welcome proposals assessing the state of the public education system(s) (in whole or in part) in Greece and/or Cyprus, comparing their provision to other EU members, and evaluating previous attempts at reform. We would also welcome proposals which contribute to our understanding of what types of changes/reforms might be needed and how best to achieve these by way of bringing Greece/Cyprus back into line with EU standards and provision of state education.

2(b) ‘Understanding the causes and consequences of Low-Intensity Violence as a phenomenon in Greek political and social life’
The period of the ‘metapolitefsi’ has been for the most part one of peaceful political contestation. This has been punctuated on one extreme by terrorism and on the other by a form of violence which increasingly referred to as ‘low-intensity’. This has been a constant phenomenon in the Greek public space and involves attacks against individuals, institutions and property. It is said that the Greek authorities/police keep a record of these attacks but they are very rarely, if ever pursued and/or appear in the judicial system.
We are inviting applicants to propose a systematic study of the types and causes of low-intensity violence especially in the last 10 years. This typology and explanation of causes could then lead to an analysis of its consequences in a variety of ways and on a variety of possible institutions. For example, what do we learn about policing and the Greek police force from this violent activity and how they treat it? Similarly, what is the impact on the judicial system or the general perception of what constitutes acceptable expression of democracy? There could be interest also in the effect it has on perceptions of youth unemployment, student activism, or the investment environment in ‘crisis’ Greece.

2(c) ‘An analysis of the relationship between mass media, political parties and private enterprise: comparing Greece and other EU member states’
The triangular relationship between mass media, political parties and private enterprise has been highly contentious in Greek political life in the last two decades. At best it raises questions of media pluralism, competition in the media marketplace and democratic propriety. At worst it leads to questions of media freedom of expression and the possibility of collusion and corruption. This phenomenon is not unique to Greece but it has formed a big part of the political debate in Greece before and during the crisis years.
We invite proposals examining and analysing this phenomenon in the Greek case. It would be useful to describe and provide evidence of the types of relationships that exist between these three poles and what impact they have on public life, the political process and the marketplace. What is the balance between commercial considerations and political influence? At what stage does the issue of corruption enter the debate, what is the evidence for this and how do we measure its impact? A comparative approach with other EU member states would be welcomed.

2(d) ‘The  Challenge of Migrant Integration in Greece: The consequences in economic and social terms’
The recent refugee crisis in Greece’s eastern borders has brought to the forefront again long-lasting issues of migrant integration in the country. This encompasses both the social and economic dimension and extends also to cultural issues (including ones that have to do with language, religion and national identity). At the practical level, a number of issues have emerged with administrative capacities concerning the processing of asylum applications, the hosting of refugees and asylum seekers and the reception of economic and illegal immigrants. At the societal level, questions emerge with regard to social inclusion, spatial segregation, health, housing, crime and social delinquency. In the economic sphere key issues concern economic deprivation and the labour market inclusion of migrants and refugees, including issues of informality, economic exploitation and labour demand / job competition. 
Under this perspective, we invite proposals examining the social and economic challenges to migrant integration and analysing the economic effects and social consequences of migrant integration and non-integration. Proposals may concern small-area studies or country-wide analyses; they may have a focus on specific groups (ethnic or by status) and on particular dimensions (e.g., labour market, housing, urban segregation, etc.); and may examine policy (and proposed policy changes) at different levels (e.g., administration versus policy objectives, local versus national, etc.). Comparative analyses are acceptable, but only insofar as the comparative evidence is used to inform the Greek experience and case. 

Selection Process 

Proposals were selected by the Hellenic Observatory and members of the Research Advisory Group according to the following criteria:

  • Originality, significance, rigour and impact of the research
  • Evidence that the individuals involved have the capacity to execute the proposed project and deliver on stated outcomes
  • Contribution towards policy-relevant challenges facing Greece and/or Cyprus
  • Value for money
  • Compatibility of the research with the broader work of the Hellenic Observatory

The Hellenic Observatory and the Research Advisory Group are solely responsible for approving the eligibility of applications and reserved the right to request additional information from the applicants. In all cases, the decisions of the Hellenic Observatory and the Research Advisory Group are final. 


The successful researcher / research team will be required to provide:

  • Policy Brief: a Policy Brief of 2,000 words (after 6 months where project run is 12 months and after 12 months where project run is 24 months
  • Final Research Note: a Final Research Note of up to 10,000 words at the end of the project
  • Other: Scholarly publications and publications in other outlets, stemming from the research project will be a significant criterion for the evaluation of the applications submitted.

The researcher / or research team will be obliged to give full acknowledgement to the Hellenic Observatory in all publicity and outputs related to the project, copies of which should be sent to the Hellenic Observatory. The Hellenic Observatory also retains the right to publicise a summary of the results, with full acknowledgement to the authors of the research, on its website and in its other publicity outlets.