Reverse brain drain accelerates: Turkey's technology minister

Reverse brain drain accelerates: Turkey's technology minister

Meltem Özgenç ISTANBUL / Hürriyet
Reverse brain drain accelerates: Turkeys technology minister

Reverse brain drain has accelerated, Technology Minister Ergün says. DHA photo

The number of Turkish researchers living abroad who applied to the science scholarship program to return to the country keeps rising, Technology Minister Nihat Ergün has said.

The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) launched a research fellowship program targeting Turks living abroad to entice them back home. Ergün said 117 researchers applied to the program in the first nine months of this year, in a five-fold increase in the last five years.

“The researchers that returned to Turkey are able to carry out their studies in the public and private research-development centers. 88 percent of the researchers preferred universities,” he said.

The Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) became the most preferred university with 16 researchers, followed by Bilkent University with 15 researchers and Sabancı University with 10 researchers, he added.

“If the researchers [that returned to the country] become the permanent employee at the institutions, they continue to be paid the scholarship,” he said. Ergün noted that 75 percent of applications came from the United States while the rest were from European countries, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and Israel.

TÜBİTAK supports the returning of Turkish researchers abroad to the country and launched 2232 Return Fellowship Program on Jan. 1, 2013. The program grants a monthly scholarship of 3,250 Turkish Liras ($1,625) to the researchers during two years. Also, it finances their researches with an additional fund worth 25,000 liras at most.