Tag Archives: John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation

John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation Fund Study into Effects of Ocean Acidification

The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation has funded a study into how calcified structures of benthic organisms are being affected by ocean acidification as part of its drive to provide funding for scientific research undertaken by young research teams, whose members are all under the age of forty. The study was evaluated for funding by the supervisory board of the Foundation, which is comprised of Latsis family members Henrietta, Margarita, Marianna and Spiro Latsis. Throughout 2014, research teams performed a series of experiments to evaluate the effects of ocean acidification and to raise public awareness of the problem with a view to influencing policy makers at the highest level.

The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation

The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation works to plan, manage and fund projects across a number of scientific, educational, cultural, environmental and social welfare fields, with particular interest in prioritising cases where emergency relief is required for citizens in Greece and throughout the world.

The Foundation evaluates each proposal it receives on individual merit, endeavouring to provide funding in the places where the greatest benefit can be seen in response to current social needs. One of the diverse branches of the Foundation is the Neraida Floating Museum, which seeks to broaden access to information about the Greek maritime profession, in particular raising awareness amongst young people. Visitors are granted free access to a number of events and exhibitions, each of which helps to promote environmental awareness as well as share information about the maritime industry in which John S. Latsis played a prominent role for many years. More information about the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation can be found online.

The Effects on the Calcified Structures of Benthic Organisms of Ocean Acidification

The aim of the 2014 study was to perform a series of experiments designed to quantify the effect on the calcified structures of benthic organisms of ocean acidification. This included using micro-computed tomography to study shell density and structure. Comparisons were made between juvenile vs. adult life stages, benthic organisms using different forms of calcium carbonate, external vs. internal hard structures and short-term vs. long term acidification.

The outcomes of the project were not solely focused on the specific scientific results. Micro-CT videos were also used to create an educational tool accessible to the general public to visualise the effects of ocean acidification. It is hoped that raising public awareness of these effects will place pressure on top level policy makers to make ocean acidification the agenda’s top priority in coming years.

2014 Scientific Research Projects

Scientific Funding from the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation

Since 2008 the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation has been funding scientific research projects across three categories for the advancement of research projects within Greece and in collaboration with global universities and scientific research groups. Within these three categories are supported all classification categories as defined by the European Research Council – life sciences, universe and Earth sciences, social sciences and humanities, physical sciences, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences and information and communication. Each year the number of projects receiving funding in each category has grown, from ten research projects in 2008 to eighteen research projects in 2013. Each individual grant amount ranges from €10,000 to €12,000 including VAT and any other taxes, deductions and fees.

John S. Latsis Philanthropic Legacy

Throughout his life John S. Latsis was renowned throughout Greece for his generous philanthropic nature, establishing numerous scholarships, grants and foundations to assist citizens and organisations within his home country. He was especially active in times of crisis, contributing financial and practical aid in the wake of disasters such as the earthquakes which took place in Kalamata, Pyrgos and Grevena in 1986, 1988 and 1995 respectively. He funded a number of school buildings and donated large sums of money and equipment to various emergency services and to the Seaman’s Pension Fund. He was recognised during his lifetime with a number of honours from institutions such as the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Academy of Athens.

After the death of John S. Latsis in 2003 his family wanted to ensure that philanthropic works would continue under his name for many years to come, hence the establishment of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation in 2005. The supervisory board of family members today includes John’s son, Spiro Latsis, working closely with his mother and two sisters, Marianna and Margarita, to maintain their father’s legacy.

Spiro Latsis

Spiro Latsis and the Latsis Foundation Helps Develop Nanocomposites

Spotting defects in a building’s structure before it manifests itself as serious damage is of the utmost importance. Regular maintenance is the responsibility of the building manager, however only so much can be seen by looking at the surface, and cracks in walls or ceilings are often an indication of being too late. However, an international group of researchers have recently received a grant from Spiro Latsis and the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation to try and develop nanocomposite material that can detect structural defects long before they have the opportunity to cause serious damage. There are many advantages to the proposed nanocomposite materials that extend beyond their self-sensing properties and what follows is a brief outline of what they can do.

The John S. Latsis Public Foundation

Without assistance from the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, the valuable research into self-sensing nanocomposites would not have been able to go ahead. Dr Spiro Latsis, son of Greek entrepreneur and philanthropist, John S. Latsis, agreed with the other members of the board that this research was worthy of a grant from the organisation. Programmes funded by the organisation have to comply with the strict criteria and framework as established by the board, they are assessed according to their sustainability as well as the size of the programme’s impact.

To learn more about the work of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, visit the blog from Spiro Latsis where you will discover a host of articles and links to programmes that have already received the organisation’s backing. The blog will also be useful to keep track of what programmes are in the running for the current set of grants and to monitor the progress of current programmes just like this research project into self-sensing nanocomposites.

The Team behind the Research

This particular project is a collaborative effort between four individual researchers. Dr Nikolaos Alexopoulos, a Lecturer at the University of the Aegean and Dr Evangelos P. Favvas from the National Centre for Scientific Research Demokritos have teamed up with French researchers Dr Celia Mercader and Dr Philippe Poulin to try and develop a cost-effective way to measure structural damage. Each member of the team is an expert in their respective field and three of the researchers currently work with similar nanotechnology and specialist materials.

Science Project-nanocomposites - infographic

The Purpose of the Project

Having a cheap but reliable way to monitor stress and damage in buildings and other civil engineering works is important in preserving the life of these costly structures as well as the health and safety of the general public. The goal of this research into self-sensing nanocomposites is to determine how viable graphene nano-platelets (GNPs) are as a building material when combined with cement as well as how effective GNPs are at monitoring the integrity of a building.

Of particular importance to the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and the people of Greece are the numerous sites of cultural and natural heritage that require constant maintenance. If this research is successful then having a low cost option for detecting structural failure in these crucial monuments to Greek history is going to provide a huge advantage to those tasked with maintaining them.

The Research Method

Given that before the project started it was yet unknown whether the GNPs would combine with the cement matrix to form a viable building material. This relied on the GNPs aligning effectively once they were mixed to reinforce the material, instead of clumping together which had previously been observed. The research team therefore has to overcome this aggregation in order to move forward with the rest of the research.

Once the GNP-cement mix has been prepared, it is time to test both the electric conductivity of the mix, which is important in determining the self-sensing aspect of the material and the durability of the mix. The former will be measured using the 2-wire Ohms method, with the latter being assessed using a three-point bend test.

Following these tests, the research team will perform an inspection of the GNP-cement mix to determine the durability of the material on a microscopic level. The aim of all these rigorous tests will hopefully determine whether this particular mix of GNPs and cement could prove useful in detecting structural faults in civil engineering works.

Funding Projects for the Future

The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation has always looked ahead when considering new projects to back, just like the team’s research into new building materials. If the team is successful then this has the potential of changing the way the world builds and maintains everything from homes to skyscrapers, bridges and tunnels. This new technology could save lives in areas prone to earthquakes and prevent the continued decline of the world’s heritage sites.