The Launch Ceremony of Aselsan Academy and Universities Postgraduate Training Program Protocol was Held in Ankara

Aselsan and Four Universities Postgraduate Training Program protocol as well as the Aselsan Academy Launch Ceremony was held in Ankara with the participation of Prof. M.A Yekta Saraç – CoHE (YÖK) - President, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Çelik - Vice President of Aselsan and President of the Board of Aselsan Academy, Prof. İsmail Demir, Undersecretary for Defense Industries and rectors from research universities.

Aselsan and the universities selected as research universities, namely Gazi University, Gebze Technical University, Istanbul Technical University and Middle East Technical University, signed the Postgraduate Training Protocol.

Taking the floor at the launch meeting of the Aselsan Academy, Aselsan Vice President and the President of the Board of Aselsan Academy Prof. Mehmet Çelik noted that they initiated the postgraduate training program of the Aselsan Academy during the autumn semester of 2017 under the auspices of the President and CoHE with the vision of developing technology through qualified staff and with the university-industry cooperation underlining that the most crucial investment in order to achieve the development of products with high added value was the investment made in individuals and continued: “Aselsan Academy is a model with its innovative solutions in respect to increasing the number of qualified and expert staff required by the industry which has been on Turkey’s agenda for a long while, developing technology and know-how through the thesis studies of the staff in an industrial enterprise and furthermore achieving sustainability. The main objective of the program is to shape the courses the staff employed in the defense industry will take and the thesis studies they will conduct in accordance with the projects they work on in the industry. Thus, the students included in the program will be able to accomplish thesis studies on subjects that contain innovative and cutting-edge technology applications, and that directly contribute to the nationalization target of our country while abolishing the export restrictions. Aselsan Academy’s Postgraduate Training Program consists of an exemplary step for the 4th generation university implementation by forming a new system that includes scientists and employees from industrial life.”

Stating that they launched the program during the fall semester of Aselsan Academy’s 2017 - 2018 with 90 students composed of 22 PhD and 68 postgraduate students, Prof. Çelik added that in addition to these 90 students 143 more new students were registered to the spring semester of 2017-2018 academic year. Prof. Çelik told that the Aselsan Academy made a start with 233 students composed of 65 PhD and 168 postgraduate students in its very first academic year and continued: “In order to conduct the Aselsan Academy Postgraduate Training Program in an efficient and effective manner, we established a new structure under our Technology and Strategy Management Directorate. Through this structure, our newly established Directorate acts as a bridge enabling the establishment and sustainment of relations between Aselsan, CoHE, universities and the students. The relations on the university side are provided by the Aselsan Academy Council. This council is composed of the directors or executives of the universities’ institutes of science and Aselsan representatives that are experts in their areas of specialization with PhD degrees at minimum. Issues such as the courses to be opened, the academicians executing the lectures, students accepted in accordance with the application criteria of the university and the thesis subjects within the academic year are being examined by the Aselsan Academy Council and are being submitted to the authorized organs of the universities in order to be discussed and decided upon. Our program is in line with the CoHE’s postgraduate directive and it is being clarified according to the decrees of the authorized organs of the universities and eventually we launch the academic year.

When we take into consideration the identification stage of the thesis subjects which is one of the most critical outputs of the Aselsan Academy, we see that initially the technology road map of Aselsan and technology areas are being identified by considering the existing projects. In addition to the identified technology areas with the contribution of the academicians at the universities included in the program, a data repository is formed for the thesis subjects for 4 engineering departments. As the scientific incidents are being examined in-depth at Aselsan’s equity funded R&D projects for interpretation and for reaching new synthesis, this PhD thesis are not considered as doctorate thesis, they are referred to as scientific doctorate thesis. Therefore, the staff receives the same scientific diploma granted by the main campus of the relevant university. After the appropriate student - thesis title is matched up, the lists are examined by the Aselsan Academy Council and then submitted to the universities. Before the academic year starts, the expert academicians who can conduct the courses are being identified by the universities. Amongst those of Aselsan’s staff with PhD and higher degrees, the appropriate ones may become candidates for being lecturers and be included in the academician staff.  In addition, the 2nd thesis consultancy is being executed again by the Aselsan employees with the same PhD degrees. In this way, the projects are easily associated with the studies conducted as part of the thesis. Thus, the program is executed in line with the science Institute rules of the universities, scientific publications and assertions are prepared and the students graduate with postgraduate diplomas. Aselsan achieved the characteristic of becoming an external campus of the universities with this program. Within the scope of Aselsan Academy Program, as the universities are in different cities and since the thesis may be in areas with national confidentiality, the courses are given at Aselsan’s campus. Various halls and classes at Aselsan’s premises at Macunköy have been allocated to Aselsan Academy and a proper training environment has been set. Although our existing infrastructure is quite sufficient, for accomplishing the training without interruption, the infrastructural activities for Aselsan Academy’s own building are being evaluated by authorized councils taking future requirements into consideration.”

In his speech at the ceremony, Undersecretary for Defense Industries Prof. İsmail Demir stated that the defense industry should not be considered as a stand-alone branch; it should be regarded as a part of the industry and technology ecosystem and added that while efforts for national and unique products are being exerted in defense industry, similar steps should be taken in many areas such as medicine and energy for extending the success achieved here. Thanking the Aselsan management for filling the “Defense Industry Academy” gap, Prof. Demir continued, “We believe that this system in defense industry is composed of a series of components. We also believe that all employees from the technicians to the engineers should attain a certain level of competence and this should be updated as well.” Pointing out that a series of complementary activities in respect to the Aselsan Academy will be conducted in the future, Prof. Demir added that they will continue to give their energy and support to such projects.

CoHE President Prof. Dr. M. A. Yekta Saraç said that innovations and achievements to be realized in the fields of science and technology would become the key for sustainable and socio-economic development, pointing out how important it is for Turkey to increase competitiveness in the global economy in order to achieve its goals for 2023.

He noted that universities must be more dynamic and innovative than ever in the 21st century in order to keep up with the advancing technology and to fulfill changing needs.

He emphasized that the number of qualified industrial companies increases as Turkey gets better at producing technologies, adding that it also develops the cooperation between universities and the industry.

He stated that they would review the research processes with quality outcomes in research universities and said, “We will further develop the existing policies and strategies. I also would like to say that we have taken steps in the direction of developing special support for our research universities with the help of institutions such as the Ministry of Development, which supports the research infrastructures, and TÜBİTAK, which funds scientific studies.”

He underlined that the Aselsan Academy would greatly contribute to the integration of universities with the world and said: “We believe that the Aselsan Academy will produce positive results in accordance with the university concept of the new generation. This project is a product of a perspective that is more different and visionary than industrial doctorates. This program will play an important role in increasing the competitive power of our country and will pave the way for the technology-driven transformation process in our industry. In this context, Aselsan Academy, which was introduced today, will also set an example for higher education.”

Following the introduction of the program, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Çelik, Vice President of Aselsan and President of the Board of Aselsan Academy, Prof. Dr. İbrahim Uslan, Rector of Gazi University, Prof. Dr. Haluk Görgün, Rector of Gebze Technical University, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Karaca, Rector of Istanbul Technical University, and Prof. Dr. Mustafa Verşan Kök, Rector of Middle East Technical University, signed the “Postgraduate Training Protocol” in the signing ceremony held under the coordination of the Council of Higher Education.

What is the “Aselsan Academy Postgraduate Training Program?”

The Aselsan Academy Postgraduate Training Program was realized in the fall term of 2017. Gazi University, Gebze Technical University, Istanbul Technical University and Middle East Technical University were included in the program, a model carried out with the cooperation of an industrial enterprise and more than one university, under the coordination of the Council of Higher Education. The aim of the program is not only the cooperation between universities and the industry, but also the cooperation between universities. The Aselsan Academy will contribute to the defense industry of Turkey with its specialized and innovative structure in technology and engineering and will enable the restructuring of the programs in this field.

Aselsan has become the external campus of universities within the scope of the protocol signed with CoHE. The “Postgraduate Training Protocol” will allow the Aselsan employees to have the opportunity to do their graduate studies on the fields/projects they work without leaving the campus of Aselsan. The Aselsan employees who will graduate from this program will be eligible to receive a master’s or doctoral degree diploma equivalent to the diploma issued on the main campus of the relevant university.

Universities to be Provided an Environment for Industrial and Technological Projects

The aim of the Aselsan Academy Postgraduate Training Program is to develop and maintain the technology and knowledge of Aselsan. The Council of Higher Education provides an implementation environment for technological projects of research universities and academicians who specialize in various fields.

 Experienced faculty members will gain experience in the industry by being directly involved in industrial projects and will contribute to the education and technology of Turkey.

 Aselsan Employees to Write a Thesis on Their Ongoing Aselsan Projects

Assigning the employees with academic qualifications to defense projects will accelerate the process of nationalizing and successfully completing important technologies in the defense industry. The employees will have postgraduate training in the defense industry in accordance with the mission and vision of Aselsan.

232 employees have begun to receive education in this manner -168 people are studying for a master’s degree and 64 people are studying for a Ph.D. degree in the 2017-2018 academic year at Aselsan Academy. There are 135 students in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, 47 students in Computer Engineering, 45 students in Mechanical Engineering and 5 students in Material Engineering. The aim is that this figure will be 750 next year and the ratio of the employees with doctoral degrees at Aselsan will be at 10% in four years.