Towards Joint Projects

TASSA has initiated an exciting partnership with the Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council (TUBITAK) to foster collaborations between scientists from the US and Turkey on projects of mutual interest. The primary goal is to develop the foundation of future collaborations, and to write joint proposals to be submitted to various funding sources, available mainly in Europe and within TUBITAK.

After a brief period of speedy preparations, TASSA and TUBITAK co-organized a workshop, the first of a planned series, at the TUSSIDE facilities inside TUBITAKs Marmara Research Center (MAM) campus in Gebze on November 21-23, 2005. Another objective of this pilot study, but a potential landmark activity, has been to learn lessons from this experience to conduct such future workshops more efficiently and effectively.

About 70 researchers participated in the workshop with an approximate distribution of 15% from the US, 30% from universities in Turkey, and 55% from MAM institutes. Partners from the industry were deliberately not invited to the first meeting in order to keep the organization more manageable. Participants were jointly identified by TASSA and TUBITAK, based on the specific needs and availability of people. A lot of the US participants contributed from their own resources for their air-travel related expenses. The workshop covered five themes: energy, geophysics and natural disasters, nanotechnology, biotechnology and genetics, and environmental engineering.

At the opening session, TUBITAKs acting president Nuket Yetis stated that she would consider it a success if at the end of the three-day workshop three joint projects could be initiated between the US scientists and their fellow counterparts at Turkish universities and MAM. To the delight of everyone, the groundwork was completed and the proposal skeletons were formed for about twenty collaborations, as reported by the team representatives at the closing session. The teams will continue to work to define the details of their planned collaborations, mostly via electronic communication.

TASSA and TUBITAK would like to turn this activity into a recurring series of workshops in the future. The date for the next one has already been set for the week of May 29, 2006, at the same TUSSIDE facilities in Gebze. The participants of the first workshop will reconvene at the May workshop to finish up their initiated joint proposals. Other details are yet to be determined. Based on the success of the ground-breaking workshop and the excitement it generated, both TASSA and TUBITAK expect a greater participation next time.

TASSA would like to take this opportunity to thank TUBITAK for their partnership, facilities, and Turkish-trademark hospitality. The potential mutual benefits of such initiatives are undeniable, but the lasting impacts are to be realized in the future as a result of hard work and genuine commitments. TASSA hopes that this partnership will set an example to many others to be established towards building a sustainable science bridge between the US and Turkey.

TASSA Executive Committee www.tassausa.org