Since its establishment on July 24, 1963, TÜBİTAK, with its activities and support in the fields of science, technology and innovation, which is of critical importance for the future of Türkiye; has stood by academicians, industrialists, researchers, entrepreneurs and students from all over our country. TÜBİTAK has made great contributions to supporting and training scientists of all ages.
As TÜBİTAK, we give special importance to the development of technologies that our country needs in order to be prepared for the risks arising from changes and transformations experienced on a global scale and to turn these environments into opportunities. Among these, are some issues related to epidemic diseases, especially COVID-19, combating climate change and natural disasters, green economy and digital transformation. In parallel with these developments, we are also aware that we have recently entered into a green and digital binary transformation process. As each of these issues has challenges that require multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder solutions, we, as TÜBİTAK, focus on encouraging result-oriented solution-finding processes based on the approach of "doing business together" and "successful together".
In this context, the “COVID-19 Türkiye Platform”, which we created under the auspices of the Ministry of Industry and Technology, has become an exemplary success story on a global scale, where 436 researchers from academia, private sector and public work in coordination in vaccine and drug projects. The Türkiye Earthquake Platform, created for earthquake research, develops innovative solutions to earthquakes, which is the reality of our country, with institutions and organizations from different disciplines. Again, in the field of earthquakes in 2021, we supported 80 research projects involving 394 researchers from 41 different institutions with a special call. With the contributions of the "Marmara Sea Action Plan Science and Technical Committee", 153 researchers from 31 different organizations came together to develop domestic and national solutions in the projects supported by the "Mucilage Research Call" within the body of TÜBİTAK.
We apply the cooperation model, where all relevant stakeholders come together quickly and all resources allocated to research, including infrastructures, are used jointly, for all the needs of our country. For this purpose, we carry out the large-scale platform and network support. With "High Technology Platforms Support and Industry and Innovation Network Mechanism (SAYEM)", public, university and industry, we created the opportunity to act together to meet the needs of our country. Currently, 23 private sector institutions, 19 universities, 4 research infrastructures and 2 public R&D centres work together in 8 High-Tech Platforms. In the 4 platforms we support within the scope of Industry Innovation Networks, 41 private sector organizations, 19 universities and 3 research centres/public research institutes take place. Under the platforms, projects focusing on areas such as cancer-specific drugs, vaccines, personalized medicine, high-efficiency silicon-based solar cell production, nanomaterials, avionic display technologies, cellular therapy products and clinical applications, medical devices, smart homes, smart cities, additive manufacturing are carried out.
We run the “TÜBİTAK Innovative Solutions Research Projects Support Program in Social and Human Sciences” in order to support social and human science research and development activities aimed at establishing scientific foundations in the development of public policies and revealing the social effects of technological advances. In TÜBİTAK's platform and network support in high technology areas, we have made it mandatory to carry out social impact projects, in which the social impacts of the developed technologies will be examined simultaneously, within the framework of the platforms.
TÜBİTAK continues to cover the R&D and innovation expenses of the projects that will go into investment starting from the R&D phase within the scope of the Technology-Oriented Industry Move Program. In this context, 4 calls were made in 2021: Mobility, Structural Transformation in Production, Health and Chemical Products, and Digital Transformation. 353 R&D project applications with an R&D project budget of 10.7 billion TL were received for these calls, and we are conducting the evaluation processes.
Digital technologies, which have a devastating and reshaping effect on a global scale, have already had a very important place in our TÜBİTAK priority R&D and innovation issues and support. In addition, by establishing our Artificial Intelligence Institute within TÜBİTAK, we have positioned ourselves as the solution partner of the ecosystem to meet the needs of companies in interaction with all stakeholders, including private sector initiatives and academics. We have formed special research groups within TÜBİTAK Research Centres and Institutes on digital technologies for autonomous and connected vehicles in the field of Blockchain Technologies and Mobility.
TÜBİTAK has focused meticulously on the green transformation issue, which is the main element of the economic development plans of countries today, and on our country's "zero emissions for 2053" target. In this context, we became one of the institutions that took the earliest concrete steps. In order to contribute to the fight against climate change and environmental problems at the very beginning of 2021, we prepared the Guidance Document on Priority R&D and Innovation Issues within the Scope of Compliance with the European Green Consensus. We have determined the headings in this Document as Climate Change, Environment and Biodiversity, Clean and Circular Economy, Clean, Accessible and Safe Energy Supply, Green and Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Smart Transportation. We primarily support projects on related topics, and we have directed our platform and network support to these areas. We carry out active studies in the field of climate research at TÜBİTAK Polar Research Institute. At TÜBİTAK MAM, we focused all our related research, including the circular economy and resource efficiency, under the Vice Presidency on Climate Change and Sustainability.
TÜBİTAK took an active role by coordinating the Science and Technology Commission established within the scope of the Climate Council held in our country at the beginning of this year. In line with our country's 2053 net zero emission target and green development policy; we carried out studies to produce ground-breaking R&D and innovation-based solutions. Again, in a way to contribute to our work in this area, we continue our "Green Growth Technology Roadmap" studies for the industry, which we carry out together with the Ministry of Industry and Technology within the scope of the "European Green Consensus Action Plan", in effective consultation with private sector NGOs.
We cooperated with TAGEM in the field of agriculture and with the Ministry of Youth and Sports in the field of sports research in order to provide financing in coordination with Ministries and other public institutions in R&D and innovation support. We will multiply these examples.
We continue to stand by our private sector organizations by paying special attention to the commercialization of research results and entrepreneurship processes. 272 different companies cooperate in 180 projects within the scope of our TÜBİTAK Order R&D Support Program, which aims to transform R&D-based solution proposals that meet customer needs into products that can be commercialized by SMEs. In this context, we have opened special lanes for entrepreneurial SMEs that have received Export Oriented Order-Based R&D Projects and Techno-enterprise Capital Support. Within the scope of The ÜBİTAK Entrepreneurship Support Program (BIGG), we have provided a total of 476 million TL grant support to 1902 entrepreneurs so far. With our Patent-Based Technology Transfer Support (Patent License), we have provided support for the transfer of 50 technologies, which are protected by 50 national and 26 international patents with a total value of 38 million TL, to the industry.
In the international arena, with our country's strong performance under the Horizon 2020 Framework Program, our ecosystem has been successful in 958 projects and received a total of 300 million Euros. In these projects, which include 1367 project coordinators from Türkiye, our ecosystem has undertaken the task of coordinator in 29 projects. In Horizon Europe, Turkish researchers took part in 98 projects and were awarded 50 million Euros.
We continued to provide comprehensive support for secondary education, high school, university and later periods within the body of TÜBİTAK. With the Industry Doctorate Program, we train 1162 doctoral students in the fields needed by the industry in cooperation with 49 universities and 210 industrial establishments. 190 top researchers have been integrated into our ecosystem to work in various institutions and organizations, including the International Leader and Young Researchers programs designed specifically for reverse brain drain, and private sector organizations with R&D or design centres or capital companies established within technoparks. In addition, we continue to support our 82 qualified researchers who have pioneered research in our country with the National Leader and Young Researchers Programs.
This year, 90 more students joined the previous 90 students who started to study at the TÜBİTAK Science High School, which we established in the TÜBİTAK Gebze Campus, where the science stars of the future will be raised. We have increased the number of Experiment Technology Workshops, which prepare our youth for trending technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, cloud technologies, and 3D printers, to 66 across Türkiye.
TÜBİTAK continues to be one of the main stakeholders of TEKNOFEST which becomes an international festival in its fifth year, held in Azerbaijan on 26-29 May 2022. At the second stop of TEKNOFEST, which will take place in the Black Sea on August 30-September 4, TÜBİTAK is once again the executive of 15 competitions, each more colourful and exciting than the other, focused on science and technology.
The National Sky Observation Festival, which was started by TÜBİTAK Science and Technology magazine in 1998 and held in Antalya Saklıkent, gained an international dimension under the auspices of our Ministry of Industry and Technology, and the enthusiasm for the Sky Observation Event continues in 4 different cities this year.
It was gratifying to see that the investments we made in human resources as TÜBİTAK were crowned with the successes of Turkish youth in the Olympics. In the International and Regional Science Olympics, our students honored our country by receiving a total of 12 Gold, 42 Silver, 44 Bronze Medals and 7 Honourable Mentions in 2021 and 2022.
In addition to all these supports, we publish scientific and social activities, popular science magazines and books, establish science centres and carry out various support programs within TÜBİTAK, especially science festivals and science fairs; we organize national and international races and in this context, we reach approximately 18 million people per year.
Our TÜBİTAK research centres and institutes also work together with our ecosystem, increasing the national and international success of the ecosystem in strategic areas; continues to transfer the knowledge and technologies it has acquired to the industry. Satellite, defence biotechnology, medicine and vaccine, nanotechnology, rail systems, food, energy, communication systems, internet of things, space, polar and climate research, etc. carry out critical research in the fields. In this context, we have come to an end in critical projects that will serve our country's 2023 goals. I am pleased to share that we will launch our observation satellite İMECE and our communication satellite TÜRKSAT 6A, which were developed locally and nationally under the coordination of TÜBİTAK, into space in 2023. In 2023, one of our space passengers will also go to space.
With the vision of the National Technology Move and the Green Development Revolution, we will continue to be one of the leading institutions that lead and facilitate our country's 2023, 2053 and 2071 targets in terms of R&D and innovation. By adding the power of the stakeholders in the research ecosystem to our strength, we will move forward in close interaction and sharing with all stakeholders the approach of “working together, learning together and achieving together”.
I would like to thank our President, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has always supported our Institution during this process, Mr. Mustafa Varank, our Minister of Industry and Technology, and our valuable stakeholders and researchers who have enabled these opportunities to turn into science and technology-based developments. With these feelings, I believe that we will achieve many more ground-breaking scientific and technological developments together with our ecosystem on the way to becoming a strong and leading country, and I congratulate the 59th anniversary of TÜBİTAK, which I am proud to be the President of.
Prof. Dr. Hasan Mandal
President of TÜBİTAK