Aiming for Excellence

Türkiye’s R&D and innovation success is backed by fully equipped and competent centres that are working day and night to achieve excellence

Published: Fri 11 Feb 2022, 12:00 AM

Türkiye has gained a significant momentum in the field of science, technology and innovation in recent years. The share of R&D expenditures rose from 0.51 per cent to 1.09 per cent in the 2002-2020 period. Among 44 OECD member and observer countries in the 2015-2019 period, Türkiye is the 13th country with the highest increase in R&D expenditure in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) dollars. The share of the private sector in total R&D expenditures increased from 29 per cent in 2002 to 65 per cent in 2020. Compared to 2015, Türkiye is the seventh country with the highest increase in the share of the private sector in total R&D expenditure among OECD countries.

Türkiye has the third place among OECD countries having highest increase in the number of FTE R&D personnel in the 2015-2019 period. While the share of the private sector in the total R&D personnel was 20 per cent in 2002, it has currently increased to 65 per cent. The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) R&D personnel, which was 28,964 in 2002, reached 199,371 in 2020, and the number of FTE R&D personnel in the private sector, which was 5,918 in 2002, reached 130,279 recently.

Türkiye rose 10 steps to 41st in the Global Innovation Index in 2021, making a big jump into the top 50. The country has also risen to the fourth place in the group of middle-upper income countries. Moreover, patent applications made to the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office increased 2.2 times between 2010-2020 and reached 18,705 in 2020.

TÜBİTAK's Contribution to Science, Technology and Innovation in Türkiye

The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye (TÜBİTAK) aims to develop science, technology and innovation (STI) policies, create the necessary infrastructure and the means for implementation of these policies, perform and fund R&D, and coordinate Türkiye’s international STI relations in line with national priorities in the field of science, technology, and innovation since 1963. The Institution has a leading role in the fields of science and technology activities of Türkiye and operates under the Ministry of Industry and Technology.

TÜBİTAK allocates significant resources to R&D activities in Türkiye. Within the scope of the support programmes carried out for the private sector in 2021, TÜBİTAK provided TL 90.3 million support to 3,943 R&D projects of 2,766 companies. TÜBİTAK also provided TL 1.29 billion for 3,720 R&D projects of more than 160 universities in 2021. The institution also provided TL 374 million to 24,257 scientists and students.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan laid out a vision for the scientific and technological breakthrough of the country, saying: “We aim to turn our country into the base of the fourth industrial revolution products and technologies in line with our National Technology Move”. In line with the National Technology Move, Türkiye aims to produce high-tech products nationally and authentically. TÜBİTAK also plays a serious role in the National Technology Move by promoting and producing national and authentic high-tech products.

In line with this aim, ‘Covid-19 Platform of Türkiye’ was established to carry out national vaccine and drug development studies under the coordination of TÜBİTAK. The platform had an enormous success in developing Virus-Like Particles (VLP) vaccine, and successfully completed Phase II study. This vaccine will be used after Phase IIB and Phase III studies are completed. The platform also developed Montelukast, a drug blocking the enzymes that allow the virus to multiply in the cell and blocking the proteins that cause the virus to enter the cell.

TÜBİTAK is also one of the organisers of TEKNOFEST Aerospace and Technology Festival, which aims to raise public awareness about technology in the society and to increase the capacity of national production. TUBITAK has been supporting young and ambitious students in the fields of biotechnology innovation, autonomous vehicles, electric vehicle, unmanned aerial vehicle, artificial intelligence, and research development.

TÜBİTAK also mobilises the entire ecosystem with a science-based, co-creation-based approach to fight against climate change and environmental problems in order to reach sustainable development goals and achieve Türkiye’s net zero emissions target by 2053. In accordance with this aim, Green Growth Technology Roadmap has been prepared with the collaboration of the Ministry of Industry and Technology, to identify the technologies required for harmonisation with the European Green Agreement, to increase green production in the industry, to support R&D studies in order to develop the technologies, and to carry out studies for the dissemination and transfer of technologies.

The agreement enabling Türkiye to officially participate in the Horizon Europe programme, run by the European Union (EU) was signed in October 2021. Horizon Europe, the EU’s 9th Framework Programme, is aimed at supporting science and innovation activities with a budget of 95.5 billion Euros between 2021-2027. TÜBİTAK is responsible for the coordination of the programme in Türkiye.

To raise awareness in science and technology, TUBITAK also publishes academic journals, popular science books, and magazines for children and students to promote scientific literacy. These are promoted through experimental technology workshops, science centres, science festivals, nature and science schools, science talks, magazines and books, and innovative education practices.

TÜBİTAK carries out R&D in 23 research centres and institutes employing thousands of researchers. TÜBİTAK Marmara Research Centre (MAM) conducts research, development and innovation activities on environment and cleaner production, energy, genetic engineering and biotechnology, food, chemical technology, polar research, materials, and Earth and marine sciences.

TÜBİTAK Research Institute for Fundamental Sciences (TBAE) launches research and training activities on fundamental sciences.

TÜBİTAK Centre of Research for Advanced Technologies of Informatics and Information Security (BILGEM) operates on information technology, information security and advanced electronics. Based upon its experience, the centre is now one of the most competent R&D centres of Türkiye on advanced technologies, electronics and cryptology, information technologies, software development, and cyber security.

TÜBİTAK Defence Industries Research and Development Institute (SAGE) performs research and development activities for defence systems, including engineering and prototype production, starting with their fundamental research and conceptual design. Most of the projects are performed in coordination with related defence institutions.

TÜBİTAK Space Technologies Research Institute (UZAY) has competency in satellite technologies, communication systems, remote sensing and data processing, and aerospace technologies.

TÜBİTAK National Metrology Institute (UME) works in the field of national measurement system to ensure the accuracy of measurements used in commercial and industrial settings and increase the quality of Turkish industrial products.

TÜBİTAK Turkish Institute of Management Sciences (TUSSIDE) performs training, consulting, research and publication in the area of administrative sciences.

TÜBİTAK National Academic Network and Information Centre (ULAKBİM) aims to provide IT facilities such as computer networks, high performance compute and storage solutions, data and cloud services, and library and information services, to meet the needs of universities and research institutions, and to increase the efficiency and productivity of their users.

TÜBİTAK Bursa Test and Analysis Laboratory (BUTAL) provides innovative and quality testing/analysis, research and training services to its customers and contributes to a safer and healthier world by establishing sustainable relationships with its stakeholders.

TÜBİTAK National Observatory (TUG) promotes developing observational research capabilities, aiming to be one of the pioneer institutions in astronomy and space sciences.

TÜBİTAK Rail Transport Technologies Institute (RUTE) develops new technologies for safe, fast and efficient rail transportation and conductsR&D projects.

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