Horizon 2020: the Turkish challenge

Reblogged from Science on the Net

Political relations between Europe and Turkey have never been easy and even in scientific research, often over the parts, the inclusion of the Turkish Government into international dynamics represented a special case. One example of this particularity is the fact that the final agreement that allows Turkey to be among the beneficiaries of Horizon 2020 was only signed in June. “Turkey is a much valued partner. Its dynamic business environment is a perfect test bed for the development of innovative products and services – making cooperation a win-win for researchers and enterprises on both sides,” wrote the UE press release.

But what is exactly the Turkey’s potential within a project like Horizon 2020?  Actually, Turkey has been associated to EU research framework programmes since 2003 and, under the last European programme between 2007 and 2013, more than one thousand participations from Turkish public and private institutions in some 950 projects received almost €200 million in EU funding.

However, its current level of investment in R&D is less than 1 percent of GDP, below the EU average that is of 2 percent and the target it has set itself for 2023.

The element that attracted the European attention were probably the Turkish small and medium-sized enterprises. In an economic landscape as difficult as that of the last few years, they have been one of the hangers in the country, as well as in the whole European community, which for years invested its capital in Turkey.

Therefore, it seems that, once again, the field on which the game is played is the economic one and it is not a coincidence that today there are those who talk about the BRICS + T, thus including Turkey in the group of economically emerging countries, along with Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

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