Overview of ’14 Research Projects in Social Sciences and Humanities

Every year, the John S. Latsis Foundation provides up to €12,000 each in funding for up to 25 scientific research projects spanning three scientific fields: Social Sciences and Humanities; Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Engineering, Information and Communication, Universe and Earth Sciences; Life Sciences. In 2014, the foundation received 946 Spiro Latsisproposals, and of these proposals 19 were eventually selected for funding. The Supervisory board, including Spiro Latsis and Mrs Margarita Latsis as well as the administrators and programme officers, continue the public service legacy.

In 2014, seven of the chosen scientific projects for funding were in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Given the social consequences and implications of the global economic crisis, and the acute affects that this crisis has caused to Greece and the Greek economy, it is unsurprising that two of the chosen research projects within the Social Sciences and Humanities dealt with the crisis. In “Networks and practices of solidarity in the urban matrix: new aspects of citizenship in Athens during economic crisis”, Martha Bouziouri and her team studied the effects of the economic crisis on Athens’ social fabric. In particular it was the aim of the project to disclose, map, characterise and interpret quantitatively and qualitatively the change in social solidarity and self-organisation occurring as a result of economic hardship and welfare cuts.

Another study linked to the economic crisis was “Fiscal consolidation policies and the underground economy: The case of Greece “which was conducted by Evi Pappa and Evgenia Vella of the European University Institute. The aim of this project was to assess the different types of Greek fiscal consolidation policy. New fiscal policy has focused mainly on reducing debt and deficit, and though there have been numerous academic analyses of such policy, this study was the first one to take into account “the underground economy” – i.e. an economy comprised of legal services and commodities hidden from the authorities to avoid taxation and national health payments – and to examine this micro economy’s effects on overall unemployment and productivity versus that of the traditional economy.

Unemployment and fiscal policy have naturally been important topics for Greece in recent years, however the John S. Latsis Foundation always funds projects with a diverse set of topics, aims and motivations, and in addition to Greek projects the foundation also funds many projects outside of Greece, a policy set to continue under the leadership of Spiro Latsis.