Turkey needs to say EUREKA in high tech

Turkey needs to say EUREKA in high tech

Under a mandate that runs from July 2012 to June 2013, Turkey will hold the next chairmanship of EUREKA, a platform for international cooperation that supports research and development (R&D) projects to develop market-oriented products and processes with a high potential for commercialization.

EUREKA was established at a conference of ministers from 17 countries and members of the Commission of the European Communities in Paris on July 17, 1985. Since its inception, substantial public and private funding has been mobilized to support research and development carried out within the EUREKA framework.

Referring to the importance of Turkey’s chairmanship for companies in Turkey, Industry and Commerce Minister Nihat Ergün said Turkey will actively participate in the determination and planning of EUREKA’s agenda, and guide its policies throughout the year.

“An analysis of the EUREKA program covering the period 2000-2005 has revealed that 1 million euros in contributions made to a EUREKA project creates, on average, an added value of 13 million euros in return. In recent years, Turkey has become one of the best-performing countries within EUREKA. Turkey ranked as the 28th most active country in EUREKA in 2007, but now we are 11th among the 42 member states. Turkey aims to be one of the 10 best-performing countries within EUREKA,” Ergün said. “More than half of the Turkish companies participating in the program are SMEs. Companies from various sectors such as ICT, environment, production and biotechnology benefit from EUREKA. By participating in these projects, companies meet their European counterparts, access market-oriented structures, and exchange their ideas and technological solutions.”

Even though the minister is referring to our successes with the program, it is a known fact that Turkey lags behind OECD countries on almost all technology-readiness indexes. Only a handful of large corporations have innovation programs that can produce results. Therefore Turkey has a lot to do in the EUREKA program. Holding the chairmanship of the program will enable Turkey to see technology-management systems across different countries in a more structured manner.

This is vital for Turkey as it is aspires to be among the world’s top ten economies by 2023. It can never achieve that goal without a proper technology-management strategy. I hope that we will be hearing about a grand plan soon.