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Teknopark Istanbul’s R&D Center Cultivating Creativity and Innovation

Bilal TOPÇU Teknopark Istanbul General Manager

Issue 100

As Teknopark Istanbul, we function as the innovation center of the Turkish defense industry. At the same time, on account of this position, we integrate the experience of a variety of sources through a range of collaborative activities.  Universities, research centers, the qualified workforce in Istanbul and its surroundings, as well as the experience of industrialists of the region, all of our talented and dedicated individuals come together here at Teknopark Istanbul to focus on specific areas of technology, particularly in the defense industry. 

We started our journey with the aim of becoming Turkey’s R&D base and now we host 311 companies such as Aselsan, TUSAŞ, TEI, Roketsan, STM, BMC Power, Aspilsan, Vestel Defence, Yaltes, C-Tech, Altınay Havacılık, Pavotek, Femsan, Armelsan, Kale Aerospace and Figes.

There are currently 5,674 qualified R&D engineers employed at these companies in our compound.  We support the development of R&D engineers with training courses that we organize with our stakeholders in line with our mission of becoming a scientific and technological innovation hub that will contribute to humanity.  Teknopark Istanbul supports the development of creative ideas and we conduct our activities with a focus on becoming the R&D Center of Excellence where critical technologies are developed for our country.  We embrace the vision of making our mark through activities that build a new model for innovation and economic progress, to create an international business and trade center that will contribute to our country, becoming a center where ideas are rapidly turned into products and brands.

The companies under the auspices of our Teknopark reach a potential where they can run their business smoothly in terms of affordable rental costs, the extensive infrastructure and the location of our facilities. In addition to many major companies in our defense industry, sub-contractors that develop sub-products for the defense industry are also located within our Teknopark in order to find buyers for their products more rapidly and to seize the opportunity to have their say in critical projects.

1,929 R&D projects are currently being conducted at our Teknopark which provide crucial support towards our country’s national technology movement. Leading defense industry R&D projects such as MİLGEM Corvette, Altay Main Battle Tank, Anka UAV and LHD Amphibious Assault Ship are amongst these projects. As Teknopark Istanbul, we are proud to have supported these types of projects for ten years now, and these projects will continue to reduce our country’s technological dependency especially within the scope of the defense industry. 

“We Contribute to our Country’s National Security by Engaging in Critical Cyber Security Activities”

We have a holistic approach to defense as Teknopark Istanbul and cyber security also plays a major role within this context. According to research run by the University of Maryland, a cyber-attack takes place once every 35 seconds worldwide, this adds up to 2,244 different cyber-attacks daily. As our President of Defense Industries Prof. Dr. İsmail DEMİR also underlined, “Turkey is at the top of the list of countries most exposed to cyber-attacks. Being aware of this reality and taking into consideration the various threats and attacks our country has been subjected to in this new conjuncture, we clearly see the fact that this area should not be left open." We contribute to our technology development capacity in this area. There is great potential for our local technology companies here. 

As a matter of fact, this issue is being handled particularly by our Presidency of Defense Industries in a critical manner. We have a Cyber Security Cluster established to this end. The activities of this cluster formed by companies that develop new products in the cyber security area are quite valuable for us. In fact, we are also conducting activities that support new ideas regarding cyber security. We enabled our youth to share their ideas through the Cyber Security Idea Competition. We have held this competition for the last two years, and through this organization we get informed on quite valuable projects, while being a part of the enthusiasm of our young people who will shape the future of our country. We are genuinely pleased with this and very proud of our youth. This year we realized our competition under the auspices of the Presidency of Defense Industries and Digital Transformation Office of the Presidency and with the partnership of Turkey’s Cyber Security Cluster by using HAVELSAN’s ‘Diyalog’ program. The finalists of the competition were entitled to conduct R&D studies at our incubation center in addition to a monetary reward. 

Launching our country’s first cyber security incubation center is also among our plans for 2020. Within this scope, we will be offering the opportunity to nearly 30 thousand entrepreneurs who are focused on cyber security ideas to collaborate in an area of 2 thousand square meters which will be Europe’s greatest incubation center. This center will be established as part of our 3rd stage buildings. 

At this center, we will host entrepreneurs with brand new ideas, launching indigenous and national projects that will contribute to our country’s protection against cyber-attacks. We will offer our entrepreneurs training and mentorship opportunities without charge in areas such as business plan preparation, tips for effective presentation, marketing and finance. Moreover, our entrepreneurs will be offered free consultancy services with access to financial support and they will be informed on how to grow their business by benefiting from guidance at investor meet ups.

Cyber Security Experts Rising through the Ranks with the Cyber Security Vocational High School 

Turkey’s first Cyber Security Vocational High School is just about to open.  Teknopark Istanbul has taken a critical step in terms of promoting cyber security education and development with the support of the Ministry of National Education and relevant institutions.  This new high school will start admitting students in the upcoming academic year. In the first stage, the students will attend classes in an office that we will select and then they will continue their education in the new building which will be built on land we will allocate. The demand for qualified R&D engineers in the sector is increasing in Turkey and worldwide. We believe this Cyber Security Vocational High School will be essential in fulfilling this demand. In addition to the theoretical studies, our students will be receiving hands-on training at this school and thus will stand out with their indigenous and national cyber security projects which will create a difference in the sector. We will also closely support the bright ideas of our young entrepreneurs, cultivating creativity and innovation with the Cyber Security Incubation Center that we will launch in 2021. 

“We will provide an Employment Opportunity for Nearly 9 thousand People as soon as our 3rd stage Buildings are Fully Activated “

Teknopark Istanbul will continue to add value to the Turkish Defense Industry.  When construction is completed on all 3rd stage buildings we will be able to reach an employment figure of nearly 9,000 and 400 companies.