The day began with a research workshop where Swedish and Greek scientists who have worked at NEO talked about their research on climate and the environment, spanning everything from geomorphology to dendrology, together with historical developments over thousands of years.

The workshop was followed by a public event in the presence of the President of Greece, Prokopis Pavlopoulos. The president also gave the opening address to a packed auditorium, which included the Swedish Ambassador to Greece, Charlotte Wrangberg, one of the guests of honour. The president was followed by the Chairman of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Barbara Cannon, and the Chairman of the Academy of Athens, the Director of Temes and me – we three latter as representatives of the three parties in the cooperation agreement.

Finally, the Director of NEO, Karin Holmgren, summarised operations over the first five years at NEO. It is certainly an impressive achievement: both in terms of concrete research results and publications, but also in terms of the creation of a dynamic international forum for researchers. As a finale to the whole event, we solemnly signed the renewed agreement, and a new film about NEO was presented.

This all took place under massive media attention, with several TV channels in place. It was delightful to see purpose-free basic research in the seat of honour, together with collaboration between academia and industry, and of course, international cooperation, with particular focus on Swedish-Greek relations. One thing is quite clear: what researchers from Stockholm University have achieved, thanks to NEO, would not have been possible without this strategic partnership.

(Note: This blog post was originally posted on the Vice-Chancellor's Swedish blog on May 18 2015).