US Department of State and TASSA Meeting
Turkish American Scientists and Scholars Association (TASSA) and officials from Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State met on April 9, 2012 to discuss the potential role of TASSA to contribute to the science and technology cooperation between the U.S. and Turkey.
The meeting attendees were Dr. Brian T. Carter (Foreign Affairs Officer, Office of Science and Technology Cooperation), Aprille C. Raabe (Foreign Affairs Officer, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), Dr. Semahat Demir (Biomedical Engineering Program Director, National Science Foundation), Prof. Dr. Haluk Ünal (TASSA President), Prof. Dr. Füsun Özgüner (TASSA Board Member), Prof. Dr Turgay Ertekin (TASSA Board Member), Tuğba Güntay (TASSA Managing Director) and Dr. Levent Güntay (TASSA Membership Committee Chair).
Dr. Carter informed TASSA about the meeting between U.S. Department of State and Turkish authorities, which was held in Ankara on March 27, 2012. As a result of the meeting, three areas of cooperation between the two countries emerged. The first area is “Energy” and Turkey is especially interested in coal gasification and environmentally friendly and renewable energy sources. The second one is “Health” including Research and Development (R&D) opportunities on biotechnology, biomedical, and pharmaceuticals. The third one is “Entrepreneurship.” Turkey aims for the development of Turkish small and medium-sized businesses especially in the high technology sector.
Dr. Ünal mentioned that TASSA could easily contact a wide list of distinguished scientists and scholars in these areas and form working groups. In addition, TASSA could find experts and organize meetings on any of these three topics. Scientists can write white papers and issue recommendations for policy makers. He pointed out that TASSA can act as an intermediary in facilitating cooperation between Turkish American scientists and private sector representatives.
During the meeting Dr. Carter mentioned Department of State’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) initiative. It empowers scientists and technology entrepreneurs to translate innovative ideas into new products, companies, and jobs. The GIST initiative intends to strengthen technology and entrepreneurship through partnerships and programs focusing on networking, financing and skill development. Turkey is one of the countries that the State Department has targeted for funding projects.
Dr. Semahat Demir emphasized the role of women in science. She mentioned that women are underrepresented in the engineering and science in the US. She talked about the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), which has 20,000 members, and its activities. She added that Turkey could be a good model for other countries in the region for the active role of women in the sciences, technology, and entrepreneurship. Dr. Demir added that she can start a focus group among the women members of TASSA.