Prof. Dr. Hasan Mandal, President of TÜBİTAK Spoke at The ICI Assembly in July

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The Assembly of Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ICI) convened on July 28, 2021 via video conferencing. Presided by Zeynep Bodur Okyay, the main agenda item of ICI assembly was “TÜBİTAK Policies on R&D, Patent, Sustainability, Green Deal and High-tech and the Position of our industry". Prof. Hasan Mandal, president of Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), participated in the assembly as a guest. In his speech, the ICI Chairman, Mr. Erdal Bahçıvan drew attention to the efforts of TÜBİTAK as the main institution leading the efforts aiming at the transformation of Turkey into a technological base through its research and development (R&D) incentive programs, which had quite positive repercussions on the industrial production. "According to the survey results of Turkey’s Top 500 Industrial Enterprises for 2020, a promising progress has been achieved in the mid-to-high and high-tech segments in the last 3 years in terms of the added value created according to the intensity of technology. That rate was 27.5% in the ICI First Top 500 in 2018 and increased to 31.2% in 2020. In the Second Top 500 Industrial Enterprises that comprise particularly SME’s, that percentage increased by 3.1% and reached 29.%5 in 2020" he said.

Zeynep Bodur Okyay, President of ICI Assembly
Zeynep Bodur Okyay,
President of ICI Assembly

ICI assembly for July was opened by Zeynep Bodur Okyay, the president of the assembly. She made the following evaluation regarding the agenda of the assembly: 

“The disaster of flood that took hold of our Black Sea region not very long ago, namely last week, or the floods that affected Germany, Belgium and Switzerland, causing the death of tens of people.... These are the incidents occurring ever more frequently and showing that the climate change has become a threat against our lives. Indeed, unexpected weather incidents and the environmental damage caused by humans have been cited among the ten risks most likely to occur in the coming two years in the global risks report issued by WEF. We must see the hard reality that we cannot manage this new world with the rules and models of the old world. Something has changed today compared to the past. The understanding of achieving growth and increasing the production at any cost is changing. For this reason, the concept of sustainability faces us as the first priority today. The countries of the world are now in the search of implementing the green economy and focusing on new areas in the business world to have a say in the economy and directing the competition. For example, the European green deal is the result of such a search. Today speaking about stakeholder capitalism has become popular. Why. Because the expectations of society is also in that direction. Accordingly, companies are trying to create an ecosystem together with their stakeholders. And entering into cooperation with the competitors is no more a surprising development.

Mr. Erdal Bahçıvan, ICI Chairman
Mr. Erdal Bahçıvan, ICI Chairman

After Ms. Okyay’s gave floor to Mr. Erdal Bahçıvan, the chairman of ICI, to make his statement on the agenda. “The period of digitization and technological transformation has gained momentum along with the Covid-19 pandemic and the countries focused their attention on scientific studies and R&D activities in order to find innovative solutions to the problem." Said Bahçıvan. “We must see the hard reality that it is unfortunately no more possible to take part in the global competition by continuing the traditional type of production with only low amount of added value. Turkey is a country with a young population and big goals and we can no more accept the middle-income trap and a low growth rate anymore. Turkey is bound to increase quality in order to be a strong industrial country. In order to achieve that purpose, we must focus on raising the technological content of all production and service processes through R&D studies by carrying science and technology over to production".

Mr. Bahçıvan pointed out to the importance of TÜBİTAK for the development and promotion of R&D projects that would turn Turkey into one of the technological base in the world. “TÜBİTAK is a pioneering Institution that strengthens the research capacity of industry and universities and promotes target driven, long-term projects directed at producing high added value based on cooperation with its programs providing support for R&D and innovation.

“The correct steps taken under the scope of the continuously growing R&D incentive program of TÜBİTAK since 2000 have also positive reflections on the industrial production. According to the 2020 results of our annual Turkey’s First Top 500 Industrial Enterprises survey, the share of mid-to-high and high-tech industries in value-added based on technology intensity has been a promising progress for the last 3 years. The total amount of added value generated by mid-to-high and high-tech in the ICI First Top 5OO increased to 31.2% in 2o19 from 3O.4% in 2O2O and 27.5% in 2O18. We also observe a similar development in the ICI Second Top 500 which comprises particularly SME’s. We consider it a promising development for the future the fact that the total share of the industries with mid-to-high and high-tech intensity has reached 29.5% in 2020, an increase by 3.1%.”

Mr. Bahçıvan also emphasized the importance of continuation of the successful activities and projects pursued by TÜBİTAK with a view to turn Turkey into a country that is not a consumer but a producer of science and technology, and said: "TÜBİTAK made significant contributions to the development of Turkey both through the persons, institutions and projects it supported and through the technologies that it develops within its Center and affiliated institutions. TEYDEB, a program of TÜBİTAK providing support to the R&D and innovation activities of industrial enterprises has undergone some changes particularly in the recent years and support programs have been restructured so as to become more focused on output and impact. We have started to provide support to the joint projects requiring cooperation with our calls for "R&D on Order” and "Patent License" that were put into practice in 2O2O. R&D on Order” aims at the production of new products with a high commercialization potential and “Patent License” call aims at introducing the patents owned by technology producing companies to the industry. Both programs are qualified to meet the important needs of Industry. Priority was given to R&D and innovation areas with a priority for TÜBİTAK and the subject of compliance with Green Deal of the European Union in the support programs and the projects in this field were encouraged. We believe that the fact that the structure of support provided by TÜBİTAK has changed so as to include cooperation with programs such as Patent License, R&D on Order and Industry PhD with a view to support the priority areas will have a very significant leverage impact as far as the Competitive Edge that our company will gain with value-added products are concerned”.

In his speech Mr. Bahçıvan also pointed out to the disasters of torrents and flood that affected the whole world from Black Sea Region to the US, to Belgium and to Canada. "The outlook of the disasters justifies the view that all this process indicates a climate crisis. These extreme weather incidents strongly suggest that the next ten years period will be a critical process in considering the avoidance of entering into an irreversible path for humanity. Accordingly, steps are increasingly taken to realize a change in a wide spectrum ranging from low-carbon economy to energy efficiency and from cyclic economy to the adaptation of industry to technology. European Union has put into practice the package of " Fit for 55" as an important step of the green deal process. The presidential circular on the green deal action plan is also a pleasing development in the name of the industry of our country. In our day, the ability to have a more competitive edge in global terms requires having a greener, more circular and more digital industry. The new industrial strategy of European Union designates the green and digital transformation as a twin transformation, which shows the tight bond between sustainability and technology" he said and continued:

“We announced 2021 as the year of sustainability and disclosed our vision and activities in the field of sustainability to the public with a press conference in June. Also the first meeting of the sustainability multi-platform formed by experts in the field took place in the month of June. We took our joint efforts with ITU Arı Teknokent aiming at awarding the industrialists of the future since 2015 one step further this year with our initiative aiming at providing support for sustainability initiatives. We shared with the assembly members the first issue of green bulletin prepared in electronic environment with a view to pass on the actual developments about sustainability to the members in the recent days and noted that they had started their preparations for ICI Congress scheduled to take place at the end of this year one day ago with the theme of sustainability.

Mr. Bahçıvan also emphasized the fact that human resource endowed with the power of knowledge, in other words, the intellectual capital serves as the basis of the power of technology-producing nations. “As Istanbul Chamber of Industry, we attach great importance to training the qualified labor force needed by our industry and provide scholarship to more than 800 students, particularly those studying engineering and technical sciences through the Foundation of Istanbul Chamber of Industry. Thanks to the professional training cooperation project that we had put into practice together with the Ministry of National Education in 2019, we manage nearly 50 professional high schools together with our Ministry in Istanbul. Another fruit that emerged out of his Corporation is ours software high school project that we realized this year, which is the first-of-its-kind in Turkey. I am very delighted to share with you the fact that we achieved a high occupancy rate in the Vocational High schools run by us this year just as the previous year according to the results of LGS released at the beginning of this week.

Prof. Dr. Hasan Mandal, President of TÜBİTAK
Prof. Dr. Hasan Mandal,
President of TÜBİTAK

Prof. Dr. Hasan Mandal, president of TÜBİTAK, also made a speech to the members of ICI assembly. He pointed out to the importance of the approach of ICI to the activities of TÜBİTAK. “Understandability and evaluation of the knowledge conveyed to the industrialists by TÜBİTAK is very important for themselves since carrying out the projects properly together with the industrialist would ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the dissemination thereof” said Mandal. “In the process of transition from the Horizon 2020 program of European Union to the Horizon Europe the problems would appear to be much more difficult and solutions were treated as something to achieve through learning and accomplishing together beyond mere individual efforts and cooperation. The the traditional science which was based on separation into various disciplines and sectors has become dominated by a comprehensive, integrated and open understanding of science throughout the process of Covid-19. The reflections of the rising key technologies on the industrial sectors continue. R&D and innovation based solutions are needed in order to achieve a transformation into a human-oriented, sustainable and flexible industrial sector on Industry 4.0.” 

Mandal stated that Turkey is not in a very bad position in terms of carbon emissions but had to increase its competitive power in this respect. He also emphasized that they would be glad to work and learn together with ICI sustainability platform for the future and added that the new strategic approach of TÜBİTAK focuses on the output and impacts of R&D studies and Innovations. “We would proceed under the slogan of qualified knowledge and qualified manpower. As TÜBİTAK, we would adopt the approach of development together with regard to the supports and incentives we provide” said Mandal and explained the efforts carried out in the context of Industrial Innovation Network Mechanism (SAYEM). “We give priority to the industry in all kinds of supports we provide. We have an attractive support policy for persons who are invited and supported for being employed by the industry. We have attracted 127 International leading researchers to Turkey”. 

Professor Mandal stated that the priorities of Green Deal were added to the calls for support program no 15O1 and 15O7 of TÜBİTAK and that they support the development of R&D on Order together with SMEs. He further said that the information on the completed projects was shared with a view to increase the dissemination of knowledge in the ecosystem and form new corporations in line with the open science policy of TÜBİTAK.

Mandal: “It is possible to evaluate patent license call strategically so as to contribute to the developments in the Green Deal and to create new opportunities for ICI sustainability platform. The R&D expenses in Turkey have been TRY 45.95 billion, an increase of 7.4 billion compared to the previous year. The private-sector accounts for 64.2% in that amount.” 

Furthermore, the incorporation of two prospective companies with 100% ICI Capital share was also submitted to the approval of the members in the assembly of July. The incorporation of these two companies, which are expected to accelerate the activities in this field, namely “İstanbul Sanayi Odası Endüstriyel Tasarım ve Prototipleme A.Ş” and “İstanbul Sanayi Odası Belgelendirme A.Ş” were approved by the members of the assembly of ICI.

Afterwards, the members of ICI Assembly took floor and shared their views on the main agenda item. The questions they posed were answered by Mr. Mandal, president of TÜBİTAK.