Closing ceremony sets the stage for more German-Turkish cooperation

On 12 March 2015, the "German-Turkish Year of Research, Education and Innovation 2014" (DWTJ) officially came to an end. Around 500 guests took part in the closing ceremony at Meyra Palace in Ankara, which was attended by several ministers. However, the cooperation will continue.

© International bureau

At the official ceremony in Ankara that brought the DTWJ to an end (see programme), Federal Minister of Education and Research Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, her Turkish counterpart Fikri Işık, Minister of Science, Industry and Technology in the Republic of Turkey, and Prof. Dr. Yücel Altunbasak, President of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK) paid tribute to this bilateral cooperation. In their speeches, they took stock of the DTWJ's successes to date and described perspectives for the future. "The joint Year of Science has built bridges that will connect Germany and Turkey long after it is over," said Minister Wanka.

Review of successful cooperation

The following examples show how the Year of Science has successfully fostered cooperation between the two countries in the fields of research, education and innovation: more than 200 events organised as part of the Year of Science brought together representatives of the fields of science, business and politics in Germany and Turkey.  One milestone for the German-Turkish education and research networks was the inauguration of the Turkish-German University in Istanbul in April 2014 in the presence of Federal President Joachim Gauck and Federal Minister of Research Wanka. The research institution German-Turkish Advanced Research Centre for ICT (GT-ARC) is also a flagship for the partnership between Germany and Turkey.

More than 100 projects were - and are still being - funded to the tune of one million Euro each from the German and Turkish sides as part of the ideas competition with the aim of strengthening cooperation in the three areas that were the focus of the Year of Science and fostering new talent.

Another central event during the German-Turkish Year of Science was the Turkey Weeks held at 14 selected German universities in autumn 2014: this event focused on current topics and aspects of German-Turkish cooperation and provided information about study opportunities and research projects.

The Year of Science also established new links beyond the ideas competition and Turkey Weeks, for example with the online creative competition to find the best poster idea for bilateral cooperation during the German-Turkish Year of Science, whose winners were invited to the closing ceremony.

A film about the DTWJ and an exhibition of posters on German-Turkish projects also provided insights into the successful cooperation. Once the ministers had toured the exhibition, experts presented their projects and views in three specialist forums using practical examples and drew attention to future opportunities for cooperation, for example in the context of bilateral and European research programs. 

Setting the stage for new projects

As a fitting conclusion to the Year of Science, Germany and Turkey have started a new competition as part of the EUREKA programme which is open to all: this will promote joint research and development projects for developing innovative products, services or processes with significant market potential for Turkey, Germany and Europe. The closing date is 15 May 2015 (see details, the contact in Germany is the EUREKA/COST Bureau).

Another project building bridges for the future of German-Turkish relationships is the science bus "MoBilim Yollarda" organised by the German Embassy in Ankara and sponsored by the German-Turkish Year of Science. Since October 2014, it has visited 15 Turkish cities with the aim of increasing the appeal of scientific topics to schoolchildren by means of experiments and shows. The two research ministers signalled the start of the science bus's second tour during the closing ceremony.

 The "Max Planck Science Tunnel", a knowledge exhibition that has been on display in Turkey since autumn 2014, is also imparting knowledge for future generations. It was first shown in Istanbul before opening in Konya at the end of the Year of Science, and will be open to public viewing at the Konya Science Center until the end of May 2015.

At the end of April 2015, the interactive mathematics exhibition "IMAGINARY Turkey" celebrated its première in Istanbul. It is a part of the international project IMAGINARY and came into being as part of the ideas competition. The first exhibition in Istanbul showed interactive software stations, a gallery of mathematical images, films and 3D sculptures. The exhibition then went on tour throughout Germany.

Although the "German-Turkish Year of Research, Education and Innovation 2014" has officially come to an end, the motto "Science Bridging Nations" is still rippling outwards - thanks to the agreements for closer cooperation concluded during the Year of Science, the many newly developed ideas and the contacts established at various levels!

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