Transformation in İTÜ at the Balkan Universities Union Conference

by İTÜ | Apr 06, 2018
The Union of Balkan Universities’ "4. Annual Meeting and Conference (CUCC-2018)"...

The Union of Balkan Universities’ "4. Annual Meeting and Conference (CUCC-2018)" was held March 30-31, hosted by Tetova University of Macedonia.

Our Rector, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Karaca participated as a speaker in a conference titled "Interuniversity Cooperation and Cultural Association", organized by the Balkan University Association, which was established with the aim of establishing a sustainable platform among universities in the Balkan region. At the conference attended by many Balkan university administrator, opinions were shared on 13 different topics including Medical Education and International Accreditation, The Refugee Problem: Education and Sociological Issues, Ways to Improve University-Industry Collaboration in the Balkans, and Harmonization of Higher Education in the Balkans. During one session, our Rector, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Karaca, in his presentation titled "Ways to Improve University-Industry Collaboration in the Balkans", talked about İTÜ's university-industry cooperation studies and İTÜ's Technopark and entrepreneurial practices, which constİTÜte an ecosystem model for universities in Turkey.

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Karaca “Technopark play a big role in the ecosystem.”

In speaking about technoparks and the role of university, Dr. Karaca said:

“Technoparks are home to companies that own high technology or use high technology. The technology software and inventions developed by technology instİTÜtes or R&D centers contribute to the university by being converted into products or services. Technoparks integrate and develop academic, economic and social structures by bringing together surrounding elements such as universities, technology instİTÜtes, and R&D centers. The main partners of third generation universities are entrepreneurial faculty and students as well as technology entrepreneurs, "techno-starters" as well as young entrepreneurs and start-up finance providers. Entrepreneurship and innovation is comprised of strategy, finance, culture, support, human power and the market. 'Strategy and human power' are the most valuable elements in technological development and progress. All of these elements carry the same level of importance in order to succeed in the entrepreneurial milieu."

Prof.Dr. Mehmet Karaca “We set an example for Universities to follow.” 

As Turkey's oldest university, Dr. Karaca stated that for the past 30 years, the university has created a different ecosystem for all stakeholders for technology-leading initiatives, saying: “In 1992, the Ministry of Industry established an Incubation Center for SMEs. It started with 28 small companies and in the first 10 years 3 companies grew to reach 1 billion TL. İTÜ ARI Teknokent, since its establishment in 2002, provided support to these companies in science, technology development and production activities in collaboration with research staff and academics. 1 out of 270 companies were supported by academicians. Since the establishment of the Technology Transfer Office, undergraduate students have been given entrepreneurship courses by our university since 2010. The İTÜ Gate initiative, launched in 2014 for companies graduating from İTÜ Çekirdek, is one of the great achievements of the İTÜ Incubation Center. İTÜ Magnet provides opportunity for small-sized firms that cannot afford high rents by providing an open co-working space. It also provides professional help and support at every step for small or medium-sized companies, this may even include marketing or financing of their products."

Stating that having all of these organization in one place is unique to İTÜ, that by doing so, İTÜ sets an example for state and private universities in Turkey and abroad, explaining the success of this model as follows: “This success stems from three main advantages of İTÜ: 245 years of experience in higher education, an alumni network of highly successful and powerful businessmen, politicians, high-ranking civil servants and international academics and a world-class city like Istanbul."