The Second Conference of the Science and Technology Centers of Turkey, organized with the theme of “Science Centers for Our Future”, was held at Merinos Atatürk Congress Center in Bursa. At the conference organized in cooperation with TUBITAK and Bursa Metropolitan Municipality in an attempt to promote and develop science and technology in Turkey, to bring together stakeholders operating in public and private sectors and to develop the relations of stakeholders with each other, TUBITAK President Prof. Dr. Hasan Mandal gave the opening speech.
Stating that economic difficulties come together with new opportunities, Prof. Mandal said that these type of difficulties give the opportunity to turn to new way of searching and create self-confidence. Prof. Mandal talked as: “One of these opportunities is that the share of indigenousness in the defense industry rises to over 60 percent. Again, we turned such a period of difficulty into an opportunity and reached an important distance in the defense industry through our national processes. I think we can overcome these difficulties”.
Stating that the interest in science and technology is increasing day by day, Prof. Mandal emphasized that this interest both encouraged themselves and increased their responsibilities as TÜBITAK. Pointing out that Turkey's focus in the coming period is qualified knowledge and qualified human resources, Prof. Mandal said that TÜBITAK has many support programs to ensure this. Referring to ARDEB support for academia, TEYDEB support for industry and BİDEB support for students, the president of TUBITAK talked about the difference between Science and Society (BITO) support programs, which include the processes related to science centers. Among TÜBITAK's support programs, stating that the most effective area for individuals in terms of the number and the profiles of individuals is the science centers, Prof. Mandal said that there are five active science centers in Konya, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Elazığ and Bursa and that there is an opportunity to see and examine all of them on site. Expressing that Üsküdar and Antalya Kepez science centers are about to finish Prof. Mandal reported that contracts of Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep, Samsun and Düzce science centers also signed. Acknowledging that Erzurum, Afyonkarahisar, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Haliç, Trabzon and Tokat are at the protocol phase, President of TÜBITAK told that workshops excites him the most in the scope of science centers. Mentioning that our students, who will be the qualified human resource that we will need in the future, have has a physical contact with science and technology in the workshops, Prof. Mandal talked as: “Our science centers offer curiosity and interest for our children and young people, but only interest and curiosity are not enough for our children who are the assurance of our future, passion is also needed, and workshops are also capable of turning curiosity into passion in this context”.
“Interest in Science Centers is Increasing”
TUBITAK president, giving information about the number of visitors of science centers, as of the end of 2017 five science centers have 2 million 600 thousand visitors, this figure in the first six months of this year is 1.5 million people, he said. Expressing that interest in science centers is increasing, Prof. Mandal said that this is an important opportunity. TUBITAK President spoke as “We should be able to transform ourselves from a structure dependent on import to a structure we can create with our own competencies. We need to improve science centers with national processes” and emphasized that the most important dimension of science centers is sustainability. Expressing that the first excitement is important, Prof. Mandal stated that all stakeholders of the province including special provincial administrations, presidents of Chambers of industry and commerce, companies, universities, etc. where science center is located should indigenize science centers. Pointing out that the process should be regarded as integrated, Prof. Mandal said that science centers are at the forefront of the 100-day Action Plan of Presidential Government System. Reminding that one of the headlines in the 100-day action plan is “100 Trial workshops in 81 provinces”, Prof. Mandal said that in the three-year period, it was planned to open 10 experimental workshops by March 2019; 30 until September 2019; 60 until September 2020; and 100 until September 2021.
TUBITAK President, mentioning the importance of attribution of 2019 year to Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin, said, “in 2019, we will perform various activities as TÜBITAK in memory of Prof. Sezgin. In this context, we will call our science and technology centers and demand from them”. Prof. Mandal ended his words at the conference by thanking domestic and foreign guests from abroad.
"Science Centers Constitute a Serious Infrastructure"
After Prof. Mandal, The mayor of Bursa Metropolitan Municipality Alinur Aktaş said that Bursa science and Technology Center is aiming to accelerate the development of Turkey in science and technology field and to be a model for Turkey as one of the first examples in this context. Emphasizing that they have implemented projects that will carry Bursa to the future in every field, Aktaş said: "Our science and Technology Center was designed to attract the interest of our children and young people in science and technology and to provide them with scientific issues in an easy and fun way". Stating that the future of Turkey is in science, Aktaş said: "the managers and representatives of the science centers, which undertook an important mission in the name of the future of Turkey and which are designed to spread science to society, are among us to share their experiences and discuss the targets in the sector. In addition to sharing knowledge and experience for the future, scientific representatives will exchange ideas on the sustainability of the science centers, which are developed to contribute to the creation of qualified workforce and domestic production. I believe that science centers will constitute a serious infrastructure on the way to Turkey's 2023, 2053 and 2071 goals."
After the opening speeches, Asger Hoeg, founder General Manager of the Danish Experientiarium Science Center, made a presentation on the future science centers. After the presentation, Prof. Mandal and Aktas gave Hoeg a plaque. At the two-day conference, the subjects such as community and science centers, science centers and business associations, exhibition design, production processes, sustainability in science centers, Science Center activities and science communication were discussed.