Turkey’s Science Academy awards 48 young academics
Gamze Kolcu – ANKARAThe Science Academy, an independent NGO which aims to promote scientific merit, has awarded 48 young academics as part of its annual Young Scientists Awards Program (BAGEP), which was launched to support young and successful scientists.
The 48 young academics, who were chosen among 250 applicants, received their awards at a ceremony which took place at the Middle East Technical University (METU) on April 14. The awards, which were initiated in 2013, aim to reward and support young academics and introduce them and their works to each other. As part of the award, the winners are granted 20,000 Turkish Liras in scholarships for two years.
Talking at the award ceremony, Science Academy Chairman Prof. Mehmet Ali Alpar underscored the necessity of freedom of expression for science.
“In Turkey, we are trying to discover the bright young people [working] in all fields of science. Science Academy is an academy, an NGO. With its foundation, for the first time, such an extensive program, that will encourage scientific research, was carried out solely with the support of civil society and thus independent from politics and intervention... Scientific research means really trying to obtain information, testing and sharing that information. For this, freedom of expression is needed. Currently there are academics in Turkey who are subjected to prosecution, who are arrested and being fired from universities,” said Alpar, adding that such acts had no place in democracies and they were closely related to science as well.
Alpar also recalled a phrase attributed to Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, “moral heritage is mind and science,” as he said this approach should unify “all sides that cannot get along well when it comes to method and procedure.”
Pointing out the rise in the number of female academics who were granted the award, the BAGEP program chairman and a founder of the Science Academy, Prof. Ersin Yurtsever, said the number of female winners was above 40 percent among all awardees.
The science fields, in which the winners engage in research, include psychology, physics, international relations, biology, mathematics, chemistry, economics and computer sciences.