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The results of ten (10) one-year research projects, exclusively funded by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation for the year 2008 were announced today, Holy Tuesday, April 14, 2009. The presentation took place in the context of a new series of events, which the Foundation is organizing and hosting as of this year in the framework of the Pallas Athena Forum. The event began with speeches from Foundation Executive Board Secretary Dimitri Afendoulis and Executive Board Member Kostas Gavroglu, who presented the activities and priorities of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation in the field of education.
The main purpose of annually financing research projects is to strengthen research activities in Greece, granting specific priority to sectors and research groups with limited opportunities to receive funding from other official sources. A special scientific committee selected these ten proposals from 315 submitted to the Foundation in response to the corresponding public call announced in 2007. A total of approximately 30 scholars from all academic, research, and educational levels, as well as independent scholars participated in the research groups that undertook to carry out these projects. The subjects examined by the proposals selected for funding cover a broad range of disciplines, according to the terms of the call and could be classified into the following areas: Environment & Contemporary Technologies, Migration, and Preserving and Managing Historical Evidence.
The public presentation of the results demonstrates the Foundation’s expressed purpose to disseminate knowledge and allow third parties to make further use of it. In this context, the results of the 2008 Projects are available to the general public through the Foundation web page.
The purpose of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation is to continue and expand the institution of funding research proposals. The Foundation’s Executive Board has already, after the public call it announced in September 2008 and upon the recommendation of the scientific evaluation committee, resolved to fund fifteen (15) proposals for one-year research projects during the year 2009, which will involve a total of 90 researchers, while the new public call for proposals for 2010 will soon been announced to the press and on the Foundation web site.
2008 PROJECT ABSTRACTS
A. ENVIRONMENT AND CONTEMPORARY TECHNOLOGIES
1. Studying the Phenomenon of Fog at Thessaloniki’s Macedonia Airport to Develop Forecasting Methods
Theodore Karakostas—Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Department of Meteorology and Climatology
Fog constitutes a very important problem for Thessaloniki’s Macedonia Airport since it has a high annual appearance frequency during the period October-April. This results not only in causing aircraft takeoff and landing problems, but also in passenger inconvenience, while increasing the possibility of accidents. This project is not only a reference point for the research and business sector, but also constitutes the foundation for future fog dispersal efforts, thus permitting an immediate resolution to the problems it causes.
2. Mapping the Ground Deformation in Ileia Prefecture using Satellite Radar Differential Interferometry
Issaak Parcharidis—Harokopion University, Department of Geography
The purpose of this particular project is to document and monitor ground deformation in the broader area of Ileia Prefecture using satellite radar differential interferometry with SAR/ASAR earth imaging systems. The area’s ground deformation may be attributed to natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, landslides and coastal sediment condensation, although man-made reasons cannot be excluded, e.g., overuse of groundwater, as the region is characterized by extensive agricultural activities. The data collected during onsite observation permitted an evaluation of the danger as it relates to the region’s most important urban centres, as well as to sensitive infrastructure, such as dams, and, primarily, archaeological sites, such as Ancient Olympia.
3. Mapping and 3-Dimensional Visualization of Forest Fuel for Fire Management Using High Resolution Satellite Image Analysis and Geoinformatic Tools in Lesbos Prefecture
Olga Roussou—University of the Aegean, Geography Department
Forest fuel mapping is fundamentally important to fire management, particularly in order to evaluate how dangerous a fire is and the risk of its appearing in an area, in addition to simulating its spread and intensity along a landscape. The current study aims to map all fuel and the parameters of fire behaviour (rate of spread, flame length, fireline intensity) on the Amali Peninsula (Southern Lesbos), using geoinformatic technology, fire behaviour simulation programmes, and statistical methods in a spatial database. The methodology and results of the cartographic modelling are of interest for research and practical purposes to support decisions regarding the prevention and extinguishment of forest fires.
4. Growing up in Athens: an Environmental Education Programme to Enable Children to Participate in Developing Their Environment
Elisabeth Panagiotatou—National Technical University of Athens, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
The purpose of this project is to design, pilot, and evaluate an environmental education programme to demonstrate the needs of children living with limited opportunities in disadvantaged areas of Athens and to encourage them to participate in developing their environment. This educational programme/methodological framework may be used as a good practice example, which may be broadly applied in urban schools, as well as by non-governmental organizations active in humanitarian and environmental matters. The 5th Grade children of the 89th All Day Experimental Elementary School of Athens and the 4th Grade children of the 36th All Day Elementary School of Athens participated in the study.
B. MIGRATION—TENDENCIES/MYTHS AND REALITY
5. Incorporation of Migrants into Small Island Economies: Research Results for the Island of Rhodes
Vassilis Monastiriotis— London School of Economics and Political Science, Hellenic Observatory
Over the past 15 years, the Greek islands, primarily Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, and Zante have been receiving a continually increasing number of immigrants. The purpose of this project was to collect empirical data on the migratory population that lives and works on Rhodes in order to examine, among other things, living and working conditions, the degree to which migrants compete with locals in the job market, the degree to which their needs are met by local public services (schools, health, etc.), how locals view and treat them, etc. According to the research results, Rhodes’ migratory community is large and diverse, while language is the main impediment to assimilation, especially given that local society’s attitude (although not necessarily that of public services) towards migrants is perhaps more positive than that of other areas of Greece.
6. Migration and Criminality: Myths and Reality
Ioanna Tsiganou—National Centre for Social Research (EKKE), Institute of Political Sociology
The subject of the present project concerns the theoretical demarcation and secondary empirical investigation of the phenomenon of migration in relation to the phenomenon of criminality in Greece. The purpose of the project is to investigate the social framework in which demonstrations of antisocial and unlawful behaviour connected to the issue “migration and criminality” appear. Combinational processing of data derived from a variety of sources leads us to formulate findings, proposals, and conclusions that relate not only to migrant criminality, but also to policies that could be adopted in order to develop an anti-crime policy framework, which would also include the migration issue.
7. Memories of Coexistence and Exile: the Island of Icaria
Elena Mamoulaki—National Technical University of Athens, School of Architecture, Department of Interior Design and Landscaping
The project centres on the island of Icaria during the period 1946–1949. As a place of exile for thousands of people of every age and social class, who had been accused of being a “danger to national security”, and due to the lack of institutions (e.g. prisons) for their detention, Icaria experienced a unique phenomenon (at least as regards its extent and duration), which stigmatized its contemporary history and local identity. This phenomenon concerns the co-existence of locals and exiles in the houses and settlements of the island. How was local society able to incorporate the heterogeneous mix of exiles in its day-to-day life? How were the exiles organized and how did they settle any issues concerning their relations with the locals? What was the role of the gendarmerie and what methods were used to regulate the relations of Icariotes and exiles? This case reveals a “different” history of the civil war period, unfolding in a place considered a land of exile, “outside” of established boundaries, where conditions and local history transformed the memory of that traumatic period into an expression of solidarity and hospitality.
C. PRESERVING AND MANAGING HISTORICAL RECORDS
8. Historical Index of Greek Scientific Terms
Caterina Soula—Secondary Education philologist, in collaboration with the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Department of Philosophy and History of Science
The project seeks to expand an earlier initiative to create a historical dictionary of the Greek language, and in particular, an index, which would contain all the scientific terms found in Greek 17th and 18th century science and philosophy books. In the context of the project the necessary software programme was developed and modified, as well as a database of terms; their corresponding definitions were entered into the appropriately configured database of the Katoptron, Historical Dictionary of Scientific Terms (Crete University Press, 2007)
9. Electronic Classification of the Health and Welfare Archive of Cyclades Prefecture
Christos Loukos—University of Crete, Department of History and Archaeology
The problems of public health and welfare in Greece have not been widely studied, especially those of the Interwar Period, the German Occupation and the first post-war period. This project recorded on classification cards the archive of the Health and Welfare department reporting to the Cyclades Prefecture for the period from the Interwar Years to the 1970s, and an interim evaluation allows us to already observe that systematic use of the categorized material will greatly enhance our knowledge of the public health of the Cycladites, of the financial situation of the lower social strata, particularly those on the subsistence margin, and of how the state sought to deal with health and welfare problems.
10. Organisation and Analysis of Recorded Sites to Assist in Documenting Evidence of the Spatial Habitation of the Istanbul Rum Community: Urban Planning—Architecture and Photographic Documentation
Katerina Polychroniadi—National Technical University of Athens—School of Architecture, Department of Interior Design and Landscaping
The current project constitutes part of a broader research programme, which began in 1997 and is still in progress, entitled Documenting Evidence of the Spatial Habitation of the Istanbul Rum Community: Urban Planning—Architecture and Photographic Documentation. It forms an integral part of a series of separate projects that seek to provide a comprehensive and complete documentation of the spaces, the objects, and the constructed cultural resources created, inhabited and still inhabited by the city’s Rum: churches, schools, social institutions, associations, orphanages, residences, cemeteries and funerary monuments, as well as the work of Rum architects and craftsmen.