Universities Discussed Research Management
Nov 10, 2016

Scientific developments of the 21st century are transforming our world at a bewildering rate, and higher education is no exception. The Council of Higher Education (CoHE) and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) jointly organized a panel to discuss restructuring of research management in higher education. The panel entitled “Research Management in Higher Education; Developments, Challenges, and Opportunities” was hosted by Istanbul University, in its Beyazit Campus on 7 November 2016.

Among the participants of the panel were Prof. Hasan Mandal, the Deputy President of CoHE; Prof. Erol Arcaklıoglu, the Deputy President of TUBITAK, university rectors, vice rectors, deans, executive higher education managers, and international guests.

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The speakers of the panel, which was chaired by Prof. Hasan Mandal, were Prof. Mehmet Karaca, ITU Rector; Prof. Haluk Görgün, Gebze Technical Univesity Rector; Prof. Mehmet T. Zeyrek, Vice Rector of the Middle East Technical University; and Prof. Halis Yunus Ersöz, Vice Rector of Istanbul University. The main focus of the panel was “Project for Research-based Mission Differentiation in Higher Education.” In his speech, ITU Rector Prof. Mehmet Karaca shared the experience and knowledge ITU gained with particular reference to ITU ARI Technopark.

ITU Rector Prof. Mehmet Karaca Emphasized the Idea of “3rd generation university”

ITU Rector Prof. Mehmet Karaca stated that ITU created new values on its path to becoming a 3rd generation university and emphasized the importance of human resources, the most needed element in scientific research projects. Prof. Karaca also emphasized the need to structure the higher education governance and financial infrastructure in a way to enable a more robust reward system that is not preoccupied with quantity but can judge and reward good performance. Also mentioning the importance of interdisciplinary projects, Karaca expressed his opinion that large foundations, big companies, and private sector should contribute more to R&D funding. “On the path to coming up with a 3rd generation university, techno-parks are important tools and an important springboard for commercializing what universities produce. ITU is lucky in that regard. We have accumulated ten-year’s experience with ITU ARI Teknopolis. There are about 250 universities and more than 80 research and development companies in the technopolis. We have also established an incubator centre at ITU,” said Prof. Karaca.

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Stating that ITU Seed is a starting point for innovative ideas and is ranked as 8th in Europe and 18th in the World, Prof. Karaca indicated that the sharp increase in project applications, from 100 four years ago to 5000 this year, demonstrates the surging interest in ITU Seed. Karaca described ITU Seed as an open and common platform for all entrepreneurs irrespective of their institutional affiliation and attributed the open character of the centre to ITU’s commitment to becoming an entrepreneurship ecosystem, the best example of which, according to Karaca, can be seen in the growth of 28 commercial firms in the past three years.

Karaca concluded his speech saying, “In state universities, there is a negative correlation between the average number of students per professor and the quality of R&D. In Turkey, the average is 26. I believe that if we can decrease this number, the quality of R&D will concomitantly increase. It is possible to take steps towards that end. For instance, I would recommend reducing the course load of some professors and employing them as ‘research professors’ in a way to allow them more time for research.”