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Turkey is situated in Southwestern Asia and Southeastern Europe, encompassing an area of 783,562 km2. As of July 2012, the country had a population of 79,749,461.
Turkey predominantly follows a free-market economy with increasing significance to its industry and service sectors. The well-managed banking system and financial markets of the country helped overcome the global financial crisis quickly than many neighboring countries. In 2011, Turkey’s GDP was $1.075 trillion.
Turkey has an organization dedicated to exploring and promoting nanoscience. A short introduction to this organization is given below.
NanoLandTurkey—It is the first and only central resource for nanotechnology services and products in Turkey. This portal enables researchers and consumers to utilize all the evolving technological services.
Nanotechnology is a diversified field encompassing a variety of industries and applications. Mentioned below are a few nano-based companies in Turkey, accompanied by a short introduction to each of them.
ENTEKNO Industrial Technological and Nanomaterials Inc.—ENTEKNO is a dynamic, innovative spin-off company established in March 2008 at the Eskisehir Technological Development Region to carry out high-quality research. The research is focused on producing and commercializing unique functional, environment friendly innovative materials, including nanomaterials and materials systems for sustainable growth.
Grafen Chemical Industries (GCI)—It is a pioneer in the fabrication and application of carbon nanomaterials, a new and unique class of materials with exceptional mechanical, electrical, thermal, and chemical properties. GCI offers products such as advanced carbon nanomaterials, mainly graphene and carbon nanotubes, together with leading-edge technologies based on carbon-based nanodevices.
Besides nanomaterial manufacturing, the focus of GCI is on high-performance materials, industrial organic electronics, and green chemistry. In these areas, GCI has produced electromagnetic shielding paints, electrically conductive plastics, low-permeability active packaging films, phytochemical antimicrobials, nanocomposite ballistic protection textiles, toxic waste management processes, and self-cleaning coatings.
Nano109—An innovative company, it has its focus on providing nanofiber products. The company’s recent product focus is on the Fineweb™ range of superior performance nanofiber-based air filtration products for cleanrooms, and several other challenging applications.
INOVENSO—Focuses on the synthesis of nanofibers by electrospinning. Operating as a consultancy under the Nano Fiber Membrane Group (NanoFMG) for almost four years, INOVENSO has presently branched into commercial activities under the name of INOVENSO LTD structure. The goal of INOVENSO LTD is to become a bridge between academia and industry, and maintaining its R&D activities using its established links to research institutions. The company’s work is grouped under two key areas—Laboratory Scale Nanofiber Production Equipment and Industrial Nanofiber Production Machines.
Nanotechnology Education and Research
Turkey has many universities that offer research and educational opportunities in nanotechnology. Mentioned below is a list of universities in Turkey and the nanotechnology-associated academic research opportunities or courses that they offer.
National Nanotechnology Research Center—This center is a part of the Institute of Materials Science and Nanotechnology affiliated to the Bilkent University, which focuses on training experts through a multidisciplinary graduate program. It’s mission is to develop new and high technologies based on nanoscience, so as to reinforce the competitiveness of Turkish products in global markets, and hence to contribute to the enhancement of living standards in Turkey. In addition to research opportunities, the center also offers graduate programs in Materials Science and Nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology Research and Application Center—An initiative of the Sabanci University, this center is an International Center of Excellence that offers useful multidisciplinary research programs.
Graduate School of Natural and Applied Sciences—A part of the Middle East Technical University, the school offers a Micro and Nanotechnology program with the following core subjects:
- Nanobiotechnology and BioMEMS
- Modeling and Computations
- Micro and Nanofabrication, and Characterization
- Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)
- Nanophotonics, Optoelectronics, Micro and Nanoelectronics, Nanomagnetism
Nanobiotechnology Research Group—This group is promoted by the Yeditepe University and conducts research work that involves gaining insights into the nature of nanometer-sized materials. It also involves in the development of the approaches and techniques to bring them into preferred 3D or 2D structures such as self-assembly. This is then applied to Nanotoxicology and Nanomedicine.
Nano-Medicine and Advanced Technologies Research and Application Center—This center is a part of the Gazi University and offers several research opportunities.
Hacettepe University—Provides Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine (NNT) MSc and PhD graduate programs.
Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Research and Application Center—This center is a part of the Faculty of Engineering at the Zirve University. It offers different research opportunities for students.
BioNanoTechnology R&D Center—This is an initiative of the Fatih University.
Nanoscience and Technology Research and Application Centre (NTRAC)—A part of the Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University (COMU), NTRAC offers graduate and undergraduate student programs. These programs include opportunities in multidisciplinary science and technology for young scientists conducting research that will benefit the country.
TOBB University of Economics and Technology—This university hosts the Department of Materials Science and Nanotechnology.
In July 2012, Nihat Ergün, Turkish Science minister, was one of the keynote speakers at the 2012 Gebze Nanotechnology Workshop. The key focus of his speech was to boost funding for the research and development of nanotechnology, which he trusts is the key to the success of the Turkish technology industry in the future.
He also explained that the country was already developing refined Turkish nanotechnology programs and that funding would assist in speeding up the process. His speech was in agreement with the government’s economic plan of becoming a top 10 economy by 2023.
Even though the Turkish economy performed well over the last 10 years and Turkey has emerged from the international financial crisis essentially unscathed, the country’s economy has been described as vulnerable because of an inefficient judicial system and the potential effects of corruption. That said, the government is supporting science and technology development with increased funding levels. R&D spending has also increased from 0.54% of GDP in 2001 to 0.86% of GDP in 2011. Additionally, Turkey aims at increasing this to 3% by 2023.
In an in-depth analysis by Elsevier that focused on research outputs, Turkey ranked 18th out of the world’s top 20 countries based on research articles published between 2006 and 2010, making them a strong competitor. According to the Elsevier study, Turkey came in at number 4 beating China and India, when the rate of growth was studied.
In a separate study conducted by Turkey’s leading scientific body Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), the country ranked second only to China. The quality of research was evaluated by analyzing citation numbers, and again Turkey ranked well with almost half of all papers cited between 2006 and 2010. Strong areas from this analysis included engineering, chemistry, and medicine—all areas that link to and can include nanotechnology.
If this trend goes on and the government fulfills its promise to provide extra funding for research and development, Turkey could very much become a force to reckon with in the field of nanotechnology.