A First in Horizon2020 Program

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In the Horizon2020 Program run with a view to harmonize and commonize the policies of Europe in science and technology, Turkey has got grant support of 271.4 million Euros up to now and delivered a performance beyond its own contribution share for the first time.

Turkey joined in the EU Framework Program Horizon2020 in 2014, under the coordination of TÜBİTAK -an affiliated organization of the Ministry of Industry and Technology, and has paid 265,8 million Euros of national contribution share up to now.

As a part of the Program which makes it possible to establish partnerships with the leading organizations of Europe and to take part in large-scale cooperation projects, Turkey has gained a great momentum in the last two years. With the call results announced this year, Turkey has received 271.4 million Euros of grant support in total, which indicates the return of a fund larger than Turkey’s contribution share in the EU Framework Programs for the first time.


Making a statement on the subject, Minister Varank expressed that TÜBİTAK plays a leading role in this achievement. He added “Turkey has been taking part in the EU Framework Programs for a long time. These programs have a pool system. As a participating country, Turkey makes a certain amount of contribution to this pool every year. However, the return rate of these contributions in terms of funds were not at desired levels. Then, we have achieved a first in the Horizon2020 Program of the EU covering the years from 2014 to 2020. The steps we have taken in the last 2 years have yielded positive results. So, for the first time since Turkey’s full membership in the EU Framework Programs in early 2000s, we have managed to get back funds more than we put into the system, even before the end of the program.”


Minister Varank touched upon their negotiations with the EU Commission in 2020 and said that they did not pay any contribution this year to Horizon2020. He added “So far, we have received 271.4 million Euros of grant support under Horizon2020. We expect this figure to increase further until the end of the Program. This expectation relies on the 1 Billion Euro-budgeted European Green Deal Call and other calls that are still open to applications. In sum, we will get other budgets also from Horizon2020 until the end of the Program.”


Minister Varank emphasized that in recent years TÜBİTAK has undergone a visionary transformation in terms of national support programs and said “We adopt an impact-oriented approach based on co-development in our research and innovation ecosystem. In the last 2 years, we have conducted a shuttle diplomacy with all stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem. TÜBİTAK has organized a wide variety of support and award programs to encourage participation in international collaborations. Before the Horizon2020 calls were officially opened, our experts identified relevant stakeholders, contacted and encouraged them to apply. Also, we held international project market events that brought together successful players in their field in the EU and the stakeholders in Turkey. We made it possible to share experiences between our successful organizations and new applicants. These activities of TÜBİTAK encouraged companies, made them better prepared for applications and returned to Turkey as added value."


Minister Varank underlined that, thanks to the supports provided within the scope of Coordination Program, Turkish companies went beyond being partners in projects, and added “Now, Turkish companies started to coordinate grand consortia including many European organizations, as leading companies. Horizon2020 provides companies with many other advantages besides access to finance.

When you create a product within the scope of the Program, you can sell it in the EU markets much more easily. Because you create a product referenced by the European Commission. Undoubtedly, this leads to a facilitating effect on global trade. Also, taking part in consortia opens new horizons for new commercial collaborations with partners in the medium term.


In order to encourage applications and to increase the success rate of applications from Turkey, TÜBİTAK helps research specialists with travel support, project pre-assessment and training support; and in case of multi-partnered projects, TÜBİTAK helps Turkish stakeholders with supports in training, project-writing and event-making.


Along with the support by TÜBİTAK, the success in the EU Framework Programs in recent years has resulted largely from the international project market events in 2019 -especially the ICTurkey in Istanbul and the Cities of the Future in Brussels-, and the negotiations and networking activities conducted by the national coordination office with national and international stakeholders.

Besides training and information events by TÜBİTAK, upon the requests of stakeholders in TARAL (Turkish Research Area), information was provided to every organization, institution and researcher planning to apply to the program, at national contact points, with the contributions of the EU Framework Program experts and successful organizations.

Also, inviting experienced European project coordinators to Turkey for various events, putting them in touch with academic and industrial organizations and introducing capabilities allowed Turkish companies to take part in stronger consortia.


Efforts for the cooperation of TARAL with the European Research Area (ERA) and Turkey’s achievements in Horizon2020 were also praised in the 2020 Turkey Report of the European Commission. The report states that Turkey has a quite advanced status in preparation to science and research chapter.


After the completion of the Horizon2020 Program in 2020, we have the will to further improve these achievements also within the scope of the 9th Framework Program Horizon-Europe that will be conducted between 2021 and 2027.

The web site ufuk2020.org.tr is at the disposal of any organization in need of detailed information on the HORIZON2020 Program and the supports of TÜBİTAK.