Prof. Altunbaşak Explains TÜBİTAK’s Support Programmes to ASO Members

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Addressing the audience at the 19th Agenda Meeting of the Ankara Chamber of Industry (Turkish abbreviation: ASO), TÜBİTAK President Prof. Yücel Altunbaşak gave information about TÜBİTAK and the support it provides.

Prof. Yücel Altunbaşak, the president of TÜBİTAK, was a guest at the ASO’s 19th Agenda Meeting. During his opening speech, the president of the ASO, Nurettin Özdebir, pointed out that Turkey should move further forward in the field of information- and technology-intense production, which yields higher added value in the global value chain.

Mr. Özdebir stated that, in 2010, industrial production based on advanced technology constituted 0.5% of Turkey’s national income, going on to say: “This rate worldwide, however, was 2.2% in the same year. Obviously, we are seriously below the world average in this sense. Furthermore, in 2010, the proportion of advanced technology products among Turkey’s exports was 3.4%, while this rate was 28.5% for the USA, 27% for Korea, and 33% for China. We are not creating any significant added value for our export revenues by, for example, importing all the electronic components of a television screen, assembling them here in Turkey into screens, and then exporting them as screens”.

Mr. Özdebir also stated that Turkey is currently located within the global economy’s value-generating chains at a downstream level and needs to concentrate on creating higher value products and climbing further upstream. He noted that today high values are largely added to industrial chains by sectors that produce information- and technology-intense products.

Prof. Altunbaşak: The number of projects proposed by the industrial sector is increasing

During his presentation to ASO members introducing the activities and support programmes of TÜBİTAK, Prof. Altunbaşak stated that the amount allocated for research and development from the national revenues of a country is a significant indication of that country’s level of development; the rate of R&D allocated from Turkey’s national income, however, is only 0.92%.

Prof. Altunbaşak also noted that the number of personnel recruited for R&D activities is increasing. “Ten years ago, the number of R&D personnel among 10,000 employees was only six. Now that number has more than doubled, reaching 14 among the same number of employees. Although we are still three times below the level of developed countries, we are progressing three times faster than before”, he explained.

Prof. Altunbaşak announced that the number of patent applications has quadrupled in 10 years and the number of academic publications has similarly increased. He explained that the number of applications for scientific and technological projects has grown significantly in recent years to reach 3200 in 2013, an increase of 13% compared to the previous year. To reach Turkey’s targets for 2023, the number of projects should increase at a rate of 22%, while TÜBİTAK is focused on reaching a goal of a 25% increase every year.  

Mentioning that they also develop projects for industrialists and entrepreneurs, Prof. Altunbaşak explained: “We thought that, if anyone has an idea, we should support them so that they can put their ideas into practice and yield benefits from them. The USA started to provide such support 50 years ago. We are 50 years behind them. In spite of its late start, Turkey is now implementing local versions of nearly all programmes implemented in the developed world”.

The meeting ended with a question and answer session which continued for about two hours.