The University of Patras was founded in 1964 in Patras, the capital city of Western Greece, and is the third public university in the country. The OECD promoted its establishment to create a modern university focusing on natural sciences, social sciences and technology. Today, UP consists of 35 academic departments distributed in 7 schools, i.e. natural sciences, engineering, health sciences, humanities & social sciences, economics & business, agricultural sciences, and health rehabilitation sciences. With 700 faculty members and an equal number of teaching, technical and admin staff, the university offers over ninety undergraduate and graduate programs of study to about 35000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.
UP has long-lasting relationships with various US universities due to its numerous graduates pursuing doctoral studies and, eventually, taking up academic and research posts in the US. “This brain-drain is traditionally being converted to brain-gain, to some extent, allowing the returning Greek academics to maintain ties with their US alma mater” said Prof. Dionissios Mantzavinos, UP Vice-Rector of Academic & International Affairs.
The university maintains memoranda of understanding with prestigious universities and research institutions in the US, including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Delaware, Southern California, Rutgers, Fairleigh Dickinson, and the MD Anderson Cancer Center. To strengthen and expand such liaisons, UP is energetically involved in the recently formed IAPP-Greece initiative. “This action, driven by the Hellenic Ministry of Education, aims to enhance US-Greece academic collaborations; thus, we have been working with University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and William & Mary in Virginia, while more discussions are underway” he said.
UP envisages enhancing student and faculty mobility, both incoming and outgoing, organizing summer schools, sharing courses, and eventually running joint graduate programs as the language barrier is no longer a formal constraint since Greek universities can now run their own Anglophone programs. Visits to UP can conveniently combine the legendary Greek hospitality with the cultural and natural environments of nearby World Heritage sites such as Ancient Olympia and Delphi.
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and a 10-year protracted economic crisis, the way university teachers, researchers, and students carry out their individual tasks has severely been impacted, which will probably continue in the years to come. “Going global, both virtually and physically, is the only way to revitalize Greek academia making the most out of our strategic partnerships in the US, while exploring new opportunities in the far East and elsewhere” explained the Vice Rector. “UP is determined to alter the perspective its community sees internationalization and the accompanying benefits; besides, this is how a revolutionary success story began 200 years ago!”