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TUR&BO is an acronym for Turkish Research and Business Organization. The organization is non-profit, international in nature and is based in Brussels. The organizations that are responsible for setting up TUR&BO are based in Turkey and represents various public and private institutions in both research and business areas such as Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey TUBITAK, The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey TOBB, Small and Medium Industry

Development Organization KOSGEB and The Confederation of Tradesmen and Artisans of Turkey TESK (TUR&BO, 2009). Needless to say one of principal objectives of TUR&BO are encouraging partnership between public and private sectors.

The organization officially started its operations in the year 2004 and engages in multiple functional activities such as information and communication activities chiefly related to EU-RTD and facilitates interactions between Turkish officials and EU officials; consultancy and training activities again chiefly related to EU-RTD and helps its members in sorting problems related to their research projects; and networking and lobbying activities primarily towards developing and maintaining relations with EU member countries and institutions (TUR&BO, 2009).

TUR&BO was instrumental in bringing recognition to the efforts and achievements of Turkey in the field of research. In this context, the organization organized a seminar at the European Parliament on 29th January 2009, outlining Turkish research policies and various achievements. This effort by TUR&BO was also aided by Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe ALDE and the turnout was over 200 representing not only members from Turkey, but other EU member countries as well (TUR&BO, 2009).

Framework Program 7 & Turkey’s participation The EU Research and Technological Development RTD Framework Programme FP, the min multi-annual R&D funding programme at European level, aims at helping to meeting the EU’s main goals. Since 1984, the Framework Programmes have played a leading role in multidisciplinary research and cooperative activities in Europe and beyond. The 7th framework programme FP7 continues that task, and is both larger and more comprehensive than earlier Framework Programmes (OECD, 2006:207).

The FP7 bundles all research-related EU initiatives together under a common umbrella which plays a crucial role in reaching the EU’s goals of growth, competitiveness and employment. Running from 2007 to 2013, the programme has a budget of EUR 53. 2 billion over its seven-year lifespan, the largest funding allocation yet. It funds both basic and applied research and aims at enhancing the research capacities and results of all stakeholders i. e.

private companies, individual researchers, universities, public research institutions and foreign actors (OECD, 2006:207). The 7th Framework Programme has been drawn up at a time when society governments expect science and technology to deliver solutions to an increasingly long list of problems. It is the most ambitious Framework Programme to date, with a much larger budget and new support mechanisms, and signals a stronger role for EU research.

The 7th Framework Programme was also the first to be accompanies by an impact assessment report (Muldur, Corvers, Delanghe, Potocnik, Heimberger, Sloan, 2007:23). As mentioned earlier, Turkey joined the Framework Program 6 in the year 2002 as an associate candidate country. The country was hence faced with an immediate disadvantage of not having any previous experience from the previous framework programmes. This was probably the reason for Turkey being quite successful during the first half part of the framework programme 6.

The evidence of this was clear in the 2004 report of the EU Commission on Turkey’s progress towards accession that rated the success rate of the Turkish applicants as low and recommended it to take major and significant steps to ensure that both the quality and the quantity of the Turkish participation in the programme would increase. The problems faced by Turkey during the 6th Framework Programme would prove to be helpful in the next i. e. 7th Framework Programme.

The success of Turkey in this is critical because this is one of the key building blocks of its integration with the European Union and approaching a knowledge-based economy (Cordis, 2004). The major problems Turkey faced in the 6th and its still at the risk of facing in the 7th Framework programme is the creation of networks of Excellence NoEs and the integrated projects IP, which are considered to be important. According to the EU commission there need to be a significant number of programmes that support the transactional collaboration between research centers, universities and companies.

This is one of the major failures in Turkey and even TUBITAK has not been able to maintain successful relations with its own university based research programmes, despite having one of its directors as one of its key members. However, there is still hope for the country as it firmly believes that there is a necessity for the creation of such a network embracing all of the Framework Programme 6 countries around a research area and pull up those centers that are at a disadvantage due to any reason – economic or quality of researchers.

In addition, Turkey also supports that idea of using the finds allocated by the Framework Programme in order to construct and operate the infrastructure that is needed to serve the research community in the entire EU rather than a certain specialized set of researchers. This more than anything is the most positive aspect of Turkey’s participation in the Framework Programme 7 (Cordis, 2004).

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