The 16th meeting of Supreme Council for Science and Technology (SCST), where the science and technology policy of Turkey is determined, was held with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN’s chairmanship on 20th November 2007,Tuesday.

Issue 9

The meeting began with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN’s opening speech. Erdoğan said that the advancement in the field of science and technology in Turkey was not coincidental and they were acting in decisiveness about the advancement of science and technology in our country as the government. Erdoğan continued his speech:
“Our hope is to accelerate the solution of our problems in Turkey, to increase our quality of life and competition strength by improving our capacity of science, technology and innovation. When we look at our position in the field of science and technology, we are glad to see that we began to achieve great national and international level advancements and accomplishments, which we didn’t come across in our history.”
Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN stated that the increase rate of expenses of Turkey on R&D between 2003 and 2005 is the highest with China, and this was not enough, in the next period, they aimed to be among the first 15 countries which give the most resources for science, technology and innovation.
Prime Minster ERDOĞAN emphasized that they took all measures for more resource transfer of private sector to research. He said that he was sure about quicker steps would come from private sector after the Bill on Encouragement of R&D Activities, which was prepared with the participation of Ministry of Finance and related private and public bodies and institutions, and was about to send to Assembly by Council of Ministers.
ERDOĞAN mentioned the importance of human resources in our national science, technology and innovation system. He said “fully developed human resource in quality and quantity is the most valuable treasure of us in the increase of competition power of our country.”
ERDOĞAN told that Turkey is the third country, reached the highest increase rate on the number of scientists. He expressed his pleasure about that Turkey had already reached the target number of 2010 with 40 thousand researchers.
Prime Minister told that two of the most important evidences showing the positions of countries in science and technology are scientific publications and patents. He said that Turkey is nineteenth in scientific publication and second after China in the increase rate. ERDOĞAN stated that the increase in the number of local and international patents is pleasing and that the effect of supporting program, began in 2006, by Turkish Institute of Patent and TÜBİTAK was seen.
ERDOĞAN also mentioned the Public Institutions Research Program which began according to the decisions taken in the 11th meeting of SCST. He told that the aim of this program was to benefit from home R&D potential and own resources in a maximum level. He said “Today, I see with pleasure that our ministries and many of public institutions built up their projects in the required fields with our universities, private sector and research institutes. Projects are systematically supported by TÜBİTAK and practices began. Now, when there is a problem, our institutions search for the solution in our information resources.”
Prime Minister said that the dependence on abroad of our national defense was decreasing everyday and Armed Forces were getting stronger with the state of the art systems and equipments developed by our scientists.
Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN emphasized that scientific research and development requires endurance and a long period, and that the results of many projects were taken.
ERDOĞAN also said “the National Marker” project, an important step in prevention of fuel oil smuggling resulting in very important loss for our country, was accomplished, and “I congratulate TÜBİTAK Institutes for this achievements.”
Prime Minister mentioned the most productive investment is the investment on science and technology. He said that R&D investments would be investment of first priority.
In his speech, Prof. Dr. Mehmet AYDIN, who began to speak after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN, told that more investments would be funded in the field of science and technology in the next years. He expressed that the cost of good and big projects are high but they bring much more to the country. AYDIN said “We have to focus public support on the projects, without trade priority, but need long term carrying out, or, in a more clear expression, on the basic sciences and technologies.”
Prof. Dr. Mehmet AYDIN also said that one of the most important duties of the Government would be supporting the strengthening of the foundation of science and technology fields, modernizing the governance by implementing effective, functional and rational science and technology policies, being facilitative for direct foreign investment and when doing all of these, increasing the work for sustaining democratic values and the rule of law principle in width and deep. Prof. Dr. AYDIN, who mentioned that science and technology field is the field of many jointly owned, many actors and many dimensions, said;
“None of the actors can overcome the difficulties in our scientific and technological development by themselves. Because this is known, SCST clarified the mission of “Turkish Research Area” (TRA) in the light of the needs of our country and vision of development. The expression is this: “The vision of TRA” is a Turkey which provides adoption of science and technology culture by the society, and increases quality of life and makes it sustainable by transferring science and technology into product and service. TÜBİTAK also took courageous steps towards expanding to abroad in order to overcome the mentioned difficulties. The good relations established with our neighbours, organic relations of our country with international organizations and our efforts to become a member of EU utilized TÜBİTAK’s being in international network, signing many cooperation agreements and attendance in EU Framework Programs (6th and 7th). The expanding of TÜBİTAK will continue in the next years.”
Minister of State Prof. Dr. Mehmet AYDIN, who mentioned the importance of the social and humanistic sciences on the way of progress, reminded that the decision from the 11th Meeting of SCST allowed the required amendment in the TÜBİTAK regulation and establishment of “Social and Humanistic Sciences Research Group (SHSRG)”. He said “the new equal position of social and humanistic sciences in an important institution and increase in both supports and project applications pleased me very much as a person who devoted almost his life to humanistic sciences.”
The meeting continued with the speech of Prof. Dr. Nüket YETİŞ, Vice Chairman of TÜBİTAK, after Prof. Dr. Mehmet AYDIN’s speech.
In her presentation, Prof. Dr. Nüket YETİŞ, Vice Chairman of TÜBİTAK, mentioned some progresses about previous meetings and emphasized that Turkey was in a big leap.
In the 16th meeting of SCST, Prof. Dr. YETİŞ mentioned the improvements between 2003 and 2007 in the scope of Turkish Research Area (TRA) and mentioned science and technology indicators.
Prof. Dr. Nüket YETİŞ talked about the direct public support to science, technology and innovation and gave some statistics about the usage of funds for TÜBİTAK-TRA. She emphasized that most of the TÜBİTAK resources were used for supporting research activities out of the institution, and stated that only 19% of the TÜBİTAK budget was used in support in 2002, whereas it was 70% in that day.
Prof. Dr. Nüket YETİŞ also stated that direct public supports were being used in improvement of research capacity, encouraging the private sector for R&D and innovation activities, development of public supply system based on R&D, supporting national and international cooperation networks, strengthening the science communication among the society, and improvement and generalization of science literacy.
Prof. Dr. Nüket YETİŞ told that 93 universities and 152 institutions joined into the scope of National Academic License of TÜBİTAK National Academic Network and Information Center (ULAKBIM) and these universities and institutions has opportunity to access 38576 magazines, 7170 conference bulletins and 2307 standards throughout the country (4207 of them is full text access).
YETİŞ told that a big leap had been provided in the encouragement of private sector for R&D and innovation activities, and the amount of the support was increased 5 times and the number of projects was increased 2.4 times between 2003 and 2007 in this scope.
Prof. Dr. Nüket YETİŞ also said that “the Bill on Support for Research and Development Activities”, which was prepared by Ministry of Finance by examining good examples in other countries and by taking advice of all partners, would be one of the best laws encouraging private sector for R&D and innovation activities.
Prof. Yetiş gave information about the National Technology Platforms began in the guidance of TÜBİTAK in January 2007. She told that in addition to the existing 5 platforms, Drug, Energy and Plant Technology Platforms had been established according to the proposals from the 15th meeting of SCST.
Prof. Dr. Nüket YETİŞ gave detailed and certain information on the joining process to EU 7th Framework Program, contribution payments and the increasing success of Turkish entities. She also mentioned the increase in the number of projects in the scope of “Science and Society Project Support Program” which was begun in order to strengthen the science communication, improve and generalize science literacy among the society.
YETİŞ shared some data about the results of TRA activities with participants and said that proportion of R&D expenses had gradually increased in internal revenue. She stated that R&D expenses in private sector had increased to 34% from 23% in the past 3 years and said “But this increase is still nearly half of the EU average.”
YETİŞ emphasized that our country was in a big leap about the number of scientists and Turkey is among the countries, which had the most increase in the number of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) R&D personnel, with the Czech Republic and Mexico.
Prof. Dr. Nüket YETİŞ told that the most increase in scientific publications was in Chine and Turkey. She gave information about the increase in the applications for patent and useful model. YETİŞ told that there had been 20% increase in the first 9 months of 2007 than it had been in the year 2006 in the patent applications, and 82% increase in patent registrations thanks to Patent Application Encouragement and Support System.
Prof. Dr. Nüket YETİŞ, Vice Chairman of TÜBİTAK, presented some samples about economic and technologic acquisitions gained from supported projects and attendance of Framework Programs and gave information about the scientists came back to Turkey as a result of this.
Prof. Dr. YETİŞ mentioned the importance of political support and strategic approach in supporting Science, Technology and Innovation Activities. After her speech, the decision bills were presented for approval. According to this, in the 16th meeting of SCST,

a. National Public Researches Program [2005/5]
b. National Defense Researches Program [2005/8]
c. Earthquake Researches Coordination [2005/11]
d. Attendance to EU Framework [2005/203]
e. Appointment in EU Framework Programs National Liaison Institution [2006/203]
decisions were finalized.
Also, the approval of Science and Technology Human Resources [2007/201] and the Process of Supporting SCST Projects from Public Resources decisions were decided.

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