National Funding Institutions

Turkish Science and Technology Research Institute (TÜBİTAK) is the main institution for R&D funding in the country. TÜBİTAK provides two kinds of R&D support: industrial and academic.

Industrial R&D research support is provided under the Technology and Innovation Support Division of TÜBİTAK (TEYDEB) and consists of the following individual programs; 1501 (Industrial R&D Support Programs), 1503 (Project Markets Support Programs), 1507 (SME R&D Start-up Programs), 1508 (TEKNOGİRİŞİM: Technology and Innovation Initiative Support Programs) and 1509 (International Industrial R&D Support Programs). The 1501 Program, which has the particular aim of utilizing technology for the welfare of society, provides grants of up to 60% of the project expenditures of corporations which produce high value-added products. The 1507 Program supports SMES’s R&D expenditures for up to 18 months and up to 400.000 TL (up to 75% of expenditure budgets), while the 1508 and 1509 Programs provide project grants of up to 60% and 75% of all R&D expenditures of medium- and large-size corporations.

Research Support Program Division (ARDEB) manages eight separate academic R&D support programs, i.e. 1001, 1002, 1007, 1008, 1010, 1301 and 3501.  The most popular of these, the 1001 Scientific and Technological Support Program, accepts applications twice a year in March and September and offers a maximum of 120.000 TL for the provision of device, software, instrument, publication and consulting services, along with funding for domestic and international travel, and pays the salaries of post-graduate researchers and support personnel.

The 1002 Short Term R&D Funding Program supports urgent, short term R&D projects that have a small budget and will be conducted in universities, research hospitals and institutes. Open for application throughout the year, the maximum duration for support is 12 months and the maximum grant amount given is 30.000 TL.

The Support Program for Research Projects of Public Institutions (1007) is designed to satisfy the research funding needs of public institutions which develop defense and security technologies and those that conduct public policy research. The highest ranked executors of public policy, i.e. ministries, undersecretaries, general managers, presidencies, governorships, and municipalities, are permitted to apply for funding and act as Project Executor, but individual researchers, consultants, and university personnel with PhD degrees can take part in these projects as well. There is no upper limit for total support; however, the upper limit for the PI’s share is 1,000,000 TL.

The 1008 Patent Application Promotion and Support Program was launched with the aim of increasing the number of national and international patent applications in Turkey. Up to 20 corporate and 5 personal applications are accepted per year, and amounts are determined in January of every year by the TÜBİTAK Scientific Board.

The Global Researcher Program (1010: EVRENA) was designed to provide 50% of the salaries of non-resident researchers who work as guest scientists for more than one month in a research project.

The Support Program for the Initiative to Build Scientific and Technological Cooperation Networks and Platforms (1301: İŞBAP) has the following aims: to support the establishment of cooperation networks and platforms between national and international corporations, units, and groups; to define roadmaps and strategies to encourage scientific and technological advances; and, to facilitate the accumulation and share of knowledge at the national/international level in order to promote effective usage of support and information as well as develop new or improve existing infrastructure and mechanisms. These projects can be funded up to the amount of 250.000 TL and for a maximum duration of 36 months.

Lastly, the 3501 National Young Researcher Career Development Program was designed to encourage young researchers who are at the beginning of their careers and have received their PhD degrees in the last five years. Such young researchers are able to apply for project funds for their studies. Awarded twice annually, in March and September, the maximum amount of support is 75.000 TL (2012 amount), for a duration of 36 months or less.

Aside from R&D support programs, under the Division of Science in Society there are two other support programs also managed by TÜBİTAK in the name of the Nature Education and Science Schools Support Program (4004) and the Science Center Establishment Support Program (4003). Developed to support the organization of educational events, workshops, field work, and experimental and group work that aims to create awareness of scientific concepts and processes, the 4004 Program publishes proposal calls for project support up to 120.000 TL every year.  The 4003 Program supports activities by municipalities geared towards the establishment of science centers, the curation of exhibitions, the development of transportation master plans, the development of workshop materials and spaces, and the employment and training of center staff.

TÜBİTAK, under the Office of EU Framework Programs Coordination Office (UKO), provides technical assistance and support to scientists who wish to apply for EU Framework Programs. With this specific goal, TÜBİTAK established three new support programs in 2012; the first pays for travel expenses incurred for forming consortiums, while the second and third offer proposal writing support and financial encouragement for proposal writing.

Under BİDEP (Division for Fellowships for Scientists), TÜBİTAK provides fellowships to support national and international research activities. National fellowships include masters and doctoral education fellowships, as well as support for visiting scholars and postdoctoral fellowships. The international fellowships consist of postdoctoral research fellowships and scientific conference travel and cooperation support fellowships.

The State Planning Agency of Turkey (DPT) is responsible for the planning of R&D strategies, but at the same time it is responsible for preparing the Technological Research Investment Budget which is the main source for government support of national R&D activities conducted under TÜBİTAK, TARAL, and other institutions such as universities and research centers.

Since 2007, the DPT has been providing support for technology projects and other projects whose objectives are the development of human capital and research infrastructure. The priority research areas for support (with the minimum threshold of 1,000,000 TL) were identified in 2011 as the following: future-orientated nanotechnology, biotechnology, new generation nuclear technology, hydrogen and fuel cell technology, and space and defense technology which would promote Turkey’s technological competitiveness and respond to its security needs. Projects supported by the DPT which are coordinated by universities’ presidencies or the directorships of institutions can be classified into two groups, namely support for specialists and centers which is granted to universities and research institutes with superior capacities for research, and the second is granted to institutions lacking capacity and need to improve their infrastructure to be able to cope with the demands of advanced research projects.[2]

Among autonomous institutions under the coordination of the DPT is the Development Studies Center (KAM),which is responsible for conducting economic, social, and cultural research to realize the government’s developmental goals and to provide developmental and technical assistance to neighboring countries. Another institution is the State Statistics Institution (TÜİK) which is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistics used by public institutions that determine national science-technology-innovation policies. A third institution coordinated by DPT is the Istanbul Development Agency (İSTKA) which was established to support local governments’ planning via technical assistance and support the implementation of regional development plans with projects and activities along with other regional development agencies in Turkey.

The Ministry of Industry was restructured in June 2011 as the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology. The new Ministry undertook the tasks of developing university-industry partnerships, supporting the R&D activities of SMEs, and strengthening the technological infrastructure of the industry. This ministry is also responsible for managing industry-university industrial research partnership funds, called Industry Thesis Programs (SAN-TEZ).

The Energy Sector Research and Development Project Support Program (EN-AR), managed by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, was established to support projects that aim to find technological solutions for energy security issues and serve the technological needs of the energy sector of Turkey. Grants are awarded for a maximum of 36 months, and the total amount of grants planned to be distributed until 2014 is 50 million TL. The National Boron Research Institute (BOREN), also coordinated by the same ministry, supports, coordinates, and initiates research partnerships between public and private institutions as well as private individuals.

The Undersecretary of Foreign Trade, headed by the Turkish Ministry of Economics, contributes to the implementation of science-technology-innovation policies and improving the competitiveness of Turkish companies through private sector-TÜBİTAK partnerships in conducting R&D and innovation activities.

Three other national agencies contribute to the fostering of R&D activities in Turkey. The first of these is theTurkish Patent Institute (TPE) develops policies for the protection and improvement of intellectual property rights and fostering an environment of national innovation in Turkey. The Turkish Standards Institute (TSE) conducts research on production technology with the aim of improving product and service standards. A third agency is the Turkish Foundation for Technological Development which is responsible for financing long term R&D projects in Turkey.

International Funding Institutions

International funding institutions can be categorized into two groups: international organizations funded by states, and non-governmental non-profit funding institutions. The most important governmental program supporting R&D in Europe is the Framework Program. Currently on its seventh round, the EU Framework Program aims to fund scientific and technological research projects with the goal of the economic and social advancement of European countries. Since the first framework program (1984-1987) and subsequently the 2nd (1987-1990), 3rd(1991-1994), 4th (1994-1998), 5th (1999-2002) and 6th (2002-2006) programs, the total budget has increased from a mere €100 million to €50 billion. The Seventh Framework program, which was implemented between 2007 and 2012, has a €50.5 billion budget, having witnessed an incremental increase of €500 million, but it was made available to forty countries, including Turkey for the first time.

Marie Curie Programs and Fellowships, under the aegis of the Framework Program, are available to researchers, engineers, industrial companies, universities, research institutes, laboratories, and centers for excellence, and has offered a total funding amount of €4.7 billion for the period 2007-2013. The Marie Curie Program provides funding for a wide range of activities such as the establishment of new research programs, the mobility of researchers inside and outside Europe, the prevention of brain drain, industry-academic partnerships, research in highly advanced research environments such as the US and Japan, and staff exchanges between research centers all over Europe.

The EU’s Jean Monnet Fellowship and Grant Program have been implemented in three consecutive periods since 1989 (1990-2002, 2002-2006 and 2007-2013). The program aims to increase awareness of and disseminate information about the European Union integration process, and since 2002 to develop human capital in Turkey. The Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), made available to Turkey only since 2007, was established to help EU candidate countries advance to EU social and economic standards. In addition to European Union funds, many individual EU member states and NGOs based in European countries provide funding for R&D without the precondition of citizenship.

The United States, similar to the EU, also offers funds to international researchers. The largest of the US government funds for R&D is managed by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health, respectively. These research, educational, and career development-based grants are offered in the fields of science, medicine, and engineering (among other areas) to scientists, research centers, labs and private corporations working in the US or conducting research in cooperation with US research institutions and American scientists. Up to 10,000 of all applicants are funded per annum. Other important US-based funding programs to be considered are The Robert S. McNamara Fellowships Program (RSM), the International Research and Exchanges Boards (IREX), and the Ford Foundation Program.

Various other international organizations offer R&D funding include the United NationsUN-Habitat and Unesco, which provide financing for development projects in the areas of environment, health, energy, human rights and sustainable development. NATO is another institution that offers funding for security and defense research and education projects under the Science for Peace (SfP) program in basic sciences and engineering. In addition to the UN and NATO, the World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Development Bank (EBRD) and other regional banks offer research and development funding.

[1] The Strategy for National Science, Technology and Innovation (2007-2010), date: 27.03.2012).
[2] “DPT Science and Technology Sector,” (Access date: 28.03.2012).