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UK-Turkey Year of Science and Innovation at a glance

UK-Turkey Year of Science and Innovation 2015-16

UK-Turkey Year of Science and Innovation

UK-Turkey Year of Science and Innovation


Launched in March 2015, the UK-Turkey Year of Science and Innovation marks an important milestone in UK-Turkey scientific cooperation. The Year of Science programme has been developed jointly with our Turkish partners to enhance bilateral cooperation and open up new opportunities for future joint projects. The UK Science and Innovation Network, BIS and the British Council are working together to deliver the Year of Science, with the support of the Newton-Katip Çelebi Fund, and in partnership with the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK).


UK-Turkey Year of Science aims to:

  • deepen UK-Turkey science and innovation cooperation between research, higher education and innovation communities on key themes of common interest, including medicine, biotech, agri-tech, bioengineering, intellectual property protection and technology transfer

  • promote the UK as a key partner for mutually beneficial collaboration in science, technology and innovation, showcasing UK research and innovation excellence

  • intensify UK-Turkey bilateral exchange of knowledge and expertise in science, technology and innovation to jointly seek solutions to pressing global challenges


During the UK-Turkey Year of Science we are rolling out a wide-ranging and engaging programme of activities. High-profile Turkish missions to the UK and Milan Expo 2015 reflect the importance we place on cooperation in the field of agriculture, public science education and student exchanges. Under the Year of Science the British Council will also be running a raft of schools science projects, alongside exciting talks and workshops across Turkey, to promote Newton Katip Çelebi Fund and careers in science. Bilateral meetings, workshops and roundtables will consolidate the relationships built during the Year. The official closing ceremony is scheduled to take place on 9 March 2016 in Manchester, within the framework of ESOF 2016 to showcase UK science and innovation strengths outside London and the South East of England.


British Council in Turkey

Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK)

Royal Society of Chemistry

Science and Technology Facility Council

Higher Education International Unit

The University of Manchester

Middle East Technical University

University of Bath

Knowledge Transfer Network

Royal Academy of Engineering

Bosporus University

UK and Turkey Launch 2015 “Year of Science and Innovation”

On 24 March 2015 the UK-Turkey Year of Science and Innovation was officially launched at the headquarters of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey in Ankara. The event also marked one year in operation of the Newton-Katip Çelebi Fund, a UK-Turkey joint grant-issuing body with a budget of £40m and a 5-year lifespan. The ceremony was attended by representatives of FCO, BIS, the Science and Innovation Network, the President of TUBITAK and officials from Turkey’s Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology.

Round-table meetings and networking events boosted the impact of the launch ceremony in enhancing UK-Turkey science and innovation collaboration. Director for Knowledge and Innovation, Strategy and International (BIS), Jeremy Clayton, and Head of Science Innovation and Climate Department (FCO), Andrew Jackson, headed the UK delegation to Turkey, uniting university representatives and Newton Fund delivery partners such as the British Council, Research Councils UK, Innovate UK and the Academies. As part of the programme, the UK delegation visited a range of leading educational and research institutions, including Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Istanbul Development Agency, Istanbul Technopark, and Bosphorus University.

The visit prompted valuable discussions of prospective bilateral collaboration and possible partnerships. Newton-Katip Çelebi Fund opportunities were also on the agenda with a focus on already agreed initial priority areas: Lifelong Health and Wellbeing; Energy and Climate Change; Disaster and Emergency Management; and Agriculture and Global Food Security. Following £1.6m already sourced by the delivery partners, the Newton-Katip Çelebi Fund will receive up to £8m in total from both UK and Turkey in 2015-2016.

Funding Opportunities

Turkey is among the 15 partner countries of the UK’s Newton Fund, a five-year £375 million programme running between 2014-2019 under the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA). The Fund aims to develop science and innovation capacity in beneficiary countries and contribute to their economic development. As part of the programme, the joint Newton – Katip Çelebi Fund was established in Turkey in 2014 with the aim of building strong, sustainable, systemic partnerships between UK and Turkish scientists, researchers and institutions.

The Newton – Katip Çelebi Fund supports a raft of projects in science and innovation, including calls for mobility, fellowships, workshops, and a variety of joint projects. UK and Turkish delivery partners are collaborating to ensure effective implementation of programmes under the Newton – Katip Çelebi Fund umbrella. So far Newton – Katip Çelebi Fund grants have been allocated to 40 researchers from 27 institutions in 12 cities across Turkey, including regional universities in Anatolia outside the Istanbul-Ankara-Izmir “triangle”.

The main agreed research themes of the Newton – Katip Çelebi Fund are Agriculture and Global Food Security, Energy and Climate Change, Lifelong Health and Wellbeing, Disaster and Emergency Management.

The Fund provides support under 3 strands:

  • people – focusing on the mobility and capacity development of researchers

  • research – research collaborations on development topics

  • translation – strengthening innovation systems through support for R&D partnerships

UK Delivery Partners include, British Council working with HE International Unit, Royal Society, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Research Councils UK (RCUK), and Innovate UK. In Turkey the Fund is supported by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK).

Each call under the Fund has different guidelines, application forms and procedures, announced separately. For open calls, please visit the official website of the Newton Fund. To explore funding opportunities, please visit official websites of UK delivery partners and the TUBITAK web site.

UK-Turkey Year of Science and Innovation Calendar

UK-Turkey Year of Science and Innovation Launch Turkey 24 March 2015
Lunch Reception at HMA Residence Turkey 24 March 2015
METU Roundtable Turkey 24 March 2015
Istanbul Development Agency Roundtable Turkey 25 March 2015
Technopark Istanbul Roundtable and Site Visit Turkey 25 March 2015
UK-Turkey Science and Innovation Collaboration Reception at HMCG Residence Turkey 26 March 2015
Bosphorus University Roundtable Turkey 26 March 2015
Science and Collaboration Events-METU Turkey 07 April 2015
Science and Collaboration Events-Koc University Turkey 16 April 2015
Science and Collaboration Events-Ege University Turkey 21 April 2015
Science and Collaboration Events-Yasar University Turkey 21 April 2015
Science and Collaboration Events-Bilkent University Turkey 28 April 2015
Science Talk on Big Data and Health Turkey 28 April 2015
Ricardo Software Study Visit Turkey 27-30 April 2015
Science and Collaboration Events-Kultur University Turkey 07 May 2015
Science for All Talk, Antalya, Water Sustainability Turkey 17 June 2015
Milan EXPO- Agri-tech Inward Mission (from Turkey to Milan EXPO) Italy 06-10 July 2015
Seminar on Catalysis and Sensing for Health (CASH) Turkey 07-11 September 2015
Science for All Talk, Izmir, Chemistry and Health Turkey 09 September 2015
Launch of digital science competition for schools Turkey 19 October 2015
Practical Seminar on Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (Patent and Portfolio Management Strategies in Universities) Turkey 9 November 2015
Brokerage Event on Energy, particular on Fuel Cels and Solar Energy UK 11-13 January 2015
Science for All Talk, Ankara, IP & Entrepreneurship Turkey 9 December 2015
Entrepreneurship Competition Final Ceremony Turkey 20 January 2016
Science for All Talk, Adana, Biotechnology Turkey February 2016
Higher Education Delegation Mission (Turkey to UK) UK 15-18 February 2016
Workshop on Medical Biotechnology Turkey 17-18 February 2016
Science for All Talk, Bursa, Green Technology and Energy Efficiency Turkey February 2016
29 February UK Alumni Award ceremony funded by GREAT UK 29 February 2016
Higher Education Delegation Mission (Turkey to UK) UK 08-10 March 2016
Science and Technology Facility Council (STFC) Inward Mission UK 08-10 March 2016
Entrepreneurship Mission to UK UK 08-10 March 2016
UK-Turkey Year of Science and Innovation Closing Ceremony (UK) UK 09 March 2016

Latest News

British Council Science for All talks

Are the health benefits of using Big Data worth the potential risks to our privacy? How can technology help us preserve one of the planet’s most precious resources, water? How has the chemistry of light transformed our power to diagnose disease? These are just some of the questions being explored in the British Council’s Science for All popular science talks, organised as part of our commitment to the UK-Turkey Year of Science and Innovation.

Our aim is to complement the bilateral research programmes by raising public awareness of UK science and innovation more widely in Turkey. We’re doing this by inviting audiences to explore the relationship between science and society in a series of ‘Science for All’ talks with UK speakers. The public is invited to send in questions via social media. Edited highlights from the event are broadcast on the independent Sky Turk 360 TV channel as the lead in to Fuat Sami’s popular ‘Bir Fikrin mi Var?’ programme and are expected to reach television audiences in excess of 3 million people.

The first talk on Big Data and Health by Prof Peter Bath from Sheffield University generated a fascinating discussion about data protection policy and practices in UK and Turkey and prompted over 100 questions from the public via Twitter. Prof Fayyaz Ali Memon from the University of Exeter’s thought provoking presentation about more sustainable approaches to water consumption attracted a studio audience of 50, and more than double that online via Periscope. We are looking forward to welcoming the former President of the Royal Society of Chemistry Prof David Phillips to Izmir in September. After broadcast the talks are available on the British Council’s website.

UK speakers are being identified through open calls on IHE Digest with four more talks planned for Ankara, Adana, Bursa and Izmir on themes related to the Newton Katip Ҫelebi programme.

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UK – Turkey Agri-tech delegation visited Milan Expo

On 6-10 July 2015 a UK–Turkey Year of Science and Innovation Agritech delegation visited the Milan Expo during the Agritech GREAT Week, organised by the FCO and BIS jointly-funded Science and Innovation Network in Turkey (SIN Turkey), with UKTI Turkey. The mission included leading researchers, innovative business representatives, and policy makers from both the UK and Turkey, specialising in a range of agritech fields covering animal and plant biotechnology, e-agri sensors, genomics, crop breeding and pharmaceuticals.

The delegation brought together representatives from Ege University, Ankara University, Manchester University, Harper Adams University, Aberystwyth University, Ondokuz Mayis University, Karadeniz Technical University, TUBITAK Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Institute, Science and Technology Facility Council, DEFRA Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture (CEFAS) and leading companies such as Trantor International Ltd. , Biopharm, and SBS Scientific BIO Solutions.

UK – Turkey Agri-tech delegation visited Milan Expo
UK – Turkey Agri-tech delegation visited Milan Expo

The strong networking programme for the delegation included UK Agri-tech GREAT Week seminars on Animal Health, Aquaculture and Precision Agriculture, a MET Office workshop on “Food and the Future: Weather and Climate Impacts on Food Supply and Security”, and the Newton-Katip Celebi Fund Roundtable. In addition, BIS International Knowledge and Innovation Director Jeremy Clayton led a visit to the European Commission Joint Research Centre in ISPRA. Networking receptions were held throughout the week, offering delegates an excellent platform for discussing prospective collaboration opportunities with counterparts.

This successful visit is helping us to forge UK-Turkey agritech collaborations which will maximize opportunities from the Newton-Katip Celebi Fund and the EU Horizon 2020 research funding programme. Turkish participants were able to explore opportunities for bilateral projects, partnerships, and potential R&D investments. Involvement of UK stakeholders such as UKTI, DEFRA, and MET Office helped to promote the ‘Grown in Britain’ campaign and showcased the UK’s strong agritech sector and new agritech innovation centres.

UK Science and Innovation

Further partnerships should begin to take shape in the coming months. For example, DEFRA Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) is planning a study visit to Turkey to explore bilateral research opportunities with leading universities and institutions including Karadeniz Technical University (Faculty of Fisheries), with the prospect of delivering a joint Turkey-UK workshop and developing an MoU. The University of Manchester is looking at ways of developing cooperation with Turkish partners on a number of themes such as engineered systems for precision agriculture; management of nutrients within the feeds for closed-system fish farms; breeding new crop varieties with improved drought tolerance and saline resistance.

Most importantly, the mission helped highlight the central place of Agri-tech research in the agendas of both countries, showcasing the sector’s strengths and priorities for both the UK and Turkey. This has direct relevance to future engagement under the joint Newton-Katip Celebi Fund, where agriculture and food security form one of the four priority themes.

Catalysis and Sensing for Health Symposium Series, 7-11 September 2015

On 7 September SIN Turkey and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) launched the Catalysis and Sensing for Health Symposium Series, a 5-day event under the ongoing UK-Turkey Year of Science. The Symposium was conceived as a get-together opportunity for the two countries’ scientific communities to forge new opportunities and support budding bilateral partnerships in the field. It also fit well into the RSC’s global mission aimed at advancing the chemical sciences for the benefit of society and helped highlight Turkey’s research excellence.

The list of partners featured Newton Fund Turkey, British Council Turkey, Izmir Institute of Technology, Middle East Technical University, Bilkent University and Boğaziçi University. SIN Turkey secured participation of several high-profile UK and local speakers, notably Professor Andy Wilson (University of Leeds), Professor Tony James (University of Bath), Steven Bull (University of Bath) as well as Professor Engin U. Akkaya (Bilkent University, Turkey), Associate Professor Dönüş Tuncel Bilkent University, Turkey) and others.

The Symposium boasted a well-balanced programme of exciting talks/presentations, but also made room for networking opportunities for early career researchers as well as information sessions on funding opportunities in Turkey through the Newton-Katip Celebi Fund, and the British Council’s Researcher Links workshop scheme, endorsed by the RSC.

The event helped increase opportunities for the UK and Turkey chemistry communities to engage in international collaborations and support for chemistry in the UK, raising RSC’s profile within Turkey’s scientific community. An increase in proposals under Newton Katip Celebi Fund is being expected in the near future. As the result of the event and useful networking opportunities it provided, discussions of research collaborations between universities are now well under way.

Disaster management and resilience: UK-Turkey multidisciplinary approach

A delegation from Imperial College visited Turkey from 14-18 September 2015, aiming to establish long term partnerships with Turkish universities in the area of disaster management and resilience. The visit was the latest activity in the UK-Turkey Year of Science and Innovation. Organized jointly by Newton and SIN teams, the visit focused on developing multi-disciplinary approaches to disaster resilience combining engineering and social sciences.

Delegation from Imperial College
Delegation from Imperial College

Imperial College Institute for Security, Science and Technology led the delegation for a programme including discussions with Middle East Technical University, Bilkent University and Ankara University. Istanbul Development Agency (IDA) organised a meeting with institutions funded by IDA to carry out disaster management projects in previous years. The Imperial College group also spent time at Bosphorus University, Istanbul Technical University and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Disaster Coordination Center.

As well as building new relationships, the visit identified a range of potential future cooperation opportunities and partnership ideas, including around Newton Fund and EU H2020. As a concrete first step, Imperial College and Turkish counterparts are negotiating a project proposal for the newly announced RCUK-TUBITAK call under the Newton-Katip Celebi Fund which covers disaster management as a priority topic.

SIN Turkey jointly with Middle East Technical University (METU) organized Practical Workshop on Intellectual Property Commercialization

On 9 November 2015 UK Science and Innovation Network in Turkey (SIN Turkey) held a Practical Workshop on IP Commercialization in collaboration with ODTU TTO within the framework of the UK-Turkey Year of Science and Innovation. Organised in the context of the UK-Turkey Year of Science, this case-based interactive event focused on IP Policy & Commercialization Strategies, introducing participants to the practicalities of IP agreement management. As part of the workshop, three case studies sessions were run by leading UK experts from Science and Technology Facility Council, Cambridge Enterprise, Warwick Ventures Ltd, BAE Systems Plc, BlueGnome and ThruVision, which provided an excellent platform for in-depth productive discussions between the audience, co-founders, inventors and licensing managers. The event brought together key stakeholders from the Turkish science community, including President of TUBITAK (TBC) Prof. Ahmet Arif Ergin, Prof. Ahmet Acar, President of ODTU.

Practical Workshop on Intellectual Property Commercialization
Practical Workshop on Intellectual Property Commercialization

The Practical Workshop on IP Commercialization helped to share UK’s expertise in licensing with the Turkish science community and lay the foundations for future exchange of best practices and cooperation in the field. It was highly instrumental in bringing the UK and Turkey science communities and experts a step closer and prompted some important discussions, which will hopefully be transformed into new exciting scientific collaborations in the future.

Contact us

Science and Innovation Officer, Ms. Büşra Afşar

British Consulate General in Istanbul, Meşrutiyet Caddesi No:34 Beyoğlu - Istanbul

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Published 6 July 2015
Last updated 18 December 2015 + show all updates
  1. update on calendar
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