Turkish private sector organisations have been experiencing collaboration under Framework Programmes as 61 companies participated in 55 projects which were successfully evaluated and funded under FP6 in 4 years. 67 participations have been realized in these 55 projects and some of these projects are still going on. However, when coming to 2007 with the start of the FP7, it seems that Turkish companies have become more aware of FP funding opportunities, more enthusiastic and equipped to develop innovative projects with EU counterparts as within 2 years project participation of Turkish companies’ in successful projects scores as 53 in 44 projects according to the recent data retrieved from the European Commission’s FP7 official website, Cordis (Community Research and Development Information Service).
Turkey’s accession and integration to the European Union has always been a challenging way to go. However, during this process there are various players that diminish the obstacles, build and empower the links between Turkish and EU actors at various levels. Framework Programme is one of the core factors which gather all actors under the aim of promoting European excellence in research, development and innovation and in the end becoming the ‘most dynamic competitive knowledge-based economy in the world’.
By means of the Framework Programmes, Turkish institutions have been collaborating with EU counterparts through set-up of new networks and transnational innovative projects since 2002 which had started with the 6th Framework Programme (FP6) and has been followed by the 7th Framework Programme since 2007 (FP7). The Programme has been benefiting Turkish institutions by not only strengthening their scientific and technological base but also increasing their proximity to EU policies and encouraging their competitiveness in the world economy.
Turkish private sector organisations have been experiencing collaboration under Framework Programmes as 61 companies participated in 55 projects which were successfully evaluated and funded under FP6 in 4 years. 67 participations have been realized in these 55 projects and some of these projects are still going on. However, when coming to 2007 with the start of the FP7, it seems that Turkish companies have become more aware of FP funding opportunities, more enthusiastic and equipped to develop innovative projects with EU counterparts as within 2 years project participation of Turkish companies’ in successful projects scores as 53 in 44 projects according to the recent data retrieved from the European Commission’s FP7 official website, Cordis (Community Research and Development Information Service)  for 2009.
Looking at the project areas where Turkish industrial organisations have participated in FP7, it seems that they are mainly active in Research for the Benefit of SMEs Area under the Capacities Programme which aims to strengthen the innovation capacity of SMEs by helping them outsource research to research performing institutions and making them to acquire technological know how. Turkish companies have participated in 15 SME projects as a partner and in 1 SME project as a coordinator on various topics such as food, energy efficiency, e-training, security, aquaculture, ecosystems and coating systems.
The second area, where Turkish industrial organizations are actively participating in projects under FP7 is ‘Nanotechnologies, Materials, and New Production Technologies (NMP)’. 10 companies have participated in 8 NMP projects under the topics of rapid manufacturing concepts for small series industrial production, new integrated construction processes, rapidly configurable machines and production systems, rapid manufacturing concepts for small series industrial production, pilot lines to study, develop and up-scale nanotechnology-based processes from laboratory, new industrial models for product and process life cycle, new added-value user-centred products and product services
ICT is another area where Turkish institutions could succeed in FP7 projects. 6 projects which include 4 different Turkish partners were found successful to be supported by the EC. These projects are essentially in the fields of networked media and 3D internet, the network of the future, intelligent content and semantics, new paradigms and experimental facilities and ICT in support of the networked enterprise.
ICT projects are followed by the projects under the Marie-Curie, which is also called as People Programme under FP7 and aims to strengthen Europe’s human potential in research and technology and make Europe an attractive place for researchers, in terms of the participation rate by Turkish companies. 4 companies are partners in 4 Marie-Curie proposals which aim to increase ‘Industry Academia Partnerships and Pathways’ and the organization of a Researchers’ Night in Turkey’.
Another research area, where Turkish private sector institutions have built collaborative projects is Environment. 3 companies are in 3 FP7 projects in Transport which are specifically about emergency interventions to protect marine and coastal environments, integrated approach to novel engine architectures and integrated approach to life-cycle based development of aircraft structure.
Security is an FP7 area where 2 companies are involved in 2 successful projects about unregulated land borders and wide land surveillance system and European security research networks specifically upon maritime security management. Like Security Area, Energy Area is an area where Turkish partners are rarely seen in successful consortiums with 2 participations as partners. 2 companies are in 2 energy projects which are about Innovative operational and monitoring tools for large power systems and small scale thermal cooling units.
Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Biotechnology (KBBE) Area and Environment Area under Cooperation Programme and Regions of Knowledge (ROK) Area under Capacities Programme are the three areas with low participation rate of Turkish private institutions as 1 institution take place in 1 project for each area. Assessment of short and long term effects of genetically modified organisms on human and animal health in KBBE Area, groundwater systems in Environment Area, maximising the benefits of research infrastructures for regional economic development in ROK Area are the fields of the funded FP7 projects.
When looking at the project fields of the participated projects, as the figure below illustrates Turkish private sector organizations seem to have more partnership in the field of materials and new production technologies with 28%. This area is followed by the food and agriculture with 19% of the total participations and then Information and Communication Technologies with 13% of the total participations. The least interested area is Transport represented by 6% of the total Turkish private sector project participation. The figures also show that the SMEs working on materials and new production technologies are more involved in successful FP7 projects.
If the type of the companies with FP7 projects is analyzed it is seen that a huge number of companies participated in FP7 projects are SMEs which is represented by 69%. Only 31% of these companies are large companies. These figures demonstrate the interest of Turkish SMEs in FP7 projects.
|The participation proportion of Turkish industrial organizations illustrates that Turkish private sector organizations are mainly participating in projects with the partner role rather than the coordinator role. With regard to 54 participations in 44 projects Turkish industrial organizations are involved in 3 projects as coordinator and in 50 projects as a partner.
Since FP7 will last for seven years from 2007 until 2013, the number of successful projects with Turkish partners and even with Turkish coordinators seems to increase. Turkish industry has been learning to live with this new transnational cooperation environment on R&D and innovation and collaborative working culture supported by the European Union. As the Turkish private sector organizations participate in FP7 proposals more, the growing number of success stories will tend to pave the way for an incremental interest of the other parts of the industry in FP7 projects.
Gurbet Deniz YAVUZ