TASSA and TÜBİTAK Meeting at the Turkish Embassy Washington DC
Turkish American Scientists and Scholars Association (TASSA) met with the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) on April 9, 2012 at the Turkish Embassy in Washington DC. The agenda of the meeting was the development of a road map to make Turkey attractive for Turkish scientists and scholars abroad.
Prof. Dr. Yunus Çengel (TÜBİTAK’s Vice President), Dr. Ali Rıza Özdemir (TÜBİTAK Acting Head of Department, International Cooperation), Elif Özkaragöz (TÜBİTAK Scientific Program Expert), Prof. Dr. Haluk Ünal (TASSA President), Prof. Dr. Füsun Özgüner (TASSA Board Member), Prof. Dr Turgay Ertekin (TASSA Board Member), Dr. Levent Güntay and Tuğba Güntay (TASSA Managing Director) attended the meeting from both institutions.
During the meeting Prof. Dr. Yunus Çengel said that there is a big change in the attitude towards science and research in Turkey. He stated that TÜBİTAK aims to transform Turkey into an attractive research and technology center for Turkish scientists and scholars abroad who want to return to Turkey. He also mentioned that TÜBİTAK is eager to vitalize sabbatical programs and summer programs at Turkish universities and scientific institutions. Dr. Çengel also emphasized that the investment on science and technology in Turkey has significantly increased recently. TÜBİTAK has materially increased its Research & Development (R & D) budget over to about 2% of the GDP and this statistic will reach 3% by 2023.
TÜBİTAK has organized a series of workshops in the US to generate awareness for the Turkish researchers about recent efforts to improve research funding and employment and sabbatical opportunities.
At the meeting, Prof. Dr. Haluk Ünal stated that there are challenges but also important opportunities for TASSA. For instance, a big challenge is to obtain financing for employing professional workforce at TASSA.
He also talked about the success of 2012 TASSA Conference which was held on March 3-4, 2012 at University of Maryland, College Park. A large group of distinguished Turkish scientists and scholars from the US and Turkey participated in the conference. He added that TASSA can invite worldwide-known scientists and scholars to organize future conferences and workshops both in the US and Turkey. Furthermore, he emphasized that Turkey and US can collaborate in three strategic areas: energy, health and entrepreneurship.
There was a consensus among all participants that TÜBİTAK and TASSA share similar objectives. Indeed, the facilitation and advancement of science in Turkey through scientific exchange, educational programs and increased networking are common goals for both institutions. Prof. Dr. Yunus Çengel also invited TASSA to the TÜBİTAK’s general meeting which will be on July 12-13-14, 2012 in Turkey.