Significant R&D and innovation progress, Turkey’s top scientific body says

Today’s Zaman - Turkey has recently experienced significant progress in the fields of science, technology and innovation thanks to the strategic approach that was adopted in recent years by the government, according to the “Turkish Science, Technology and Innovation System and Performance Indicators” document released by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK).

Research and development (R&D) and innovation indicators confirm such progress. According to the TUBITAK document, R&D spending, which was at TRY 2 billion (approx. USD 1.3 billion) in 1998, went up to TRY 8.5 billion (approx. USD 5.5 billion) in 2009. This corresponds to a quadrupling in R&D spending between those years. Also, such an increase in the rate of R&D spending in Turkey is four times higher than the average R&D spending of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and European Union (EU) for the said years.

The ratio of R&D spending to Gross National Product (GNP) went up to 0.85 percent in 2009 from 0.37 in 1998, representing a more than two-fold increase. According to TUBITAK, such an increase is an indicator that meeting the 2 percent target for the said ratio by 2013 is achievable.

The document also highlights the fact that the main goal of science, technology and innovation policies now is to encourage private sector innovation and private innovative entrepreneurship in Turkey. For this purpose, the current 40 percent share of the private sector’s R&D spending is expected to go up to 60 percent by 2013. In order to facilitate the technological innovation capacity, the competitiveness of companies and the innovation culture in private sector, a variety of institutions in Turkey, including TUBITAK, have financial support programs, the document reads.
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