The strong sentiment of trust in Turkey's blossoming economy has resulted in a reversal of 'brain drain,' the emigration of highly trained or qualified individuals from their homeland. Turkish academics, scientists and researchers from all over the world are now applying for the opportunity to oversee projects in Turkey. These highly qualified researchers, scientists and academics that once sought opportunities abroad due to the insufficient support and work environment in the country in the past, are now returning home to Turkey. Science, Industry and Technology Minister Nihat Ergün recently announced that a grant program offered by Turkey's Scientific and Technological Research Council (TÜBİTAK) has seen high demand by scientists and academics abroad. According to Ergün, 117 researchers submitted applications for the opportunity to return home and to conduct their research in Turkey. The reverse brain drain from famous universities such as Stanford and John Hopkins in the U.S. has increased by five times.
25,000 LIRA IN SUPPORT
The scholarship program offered by TÜBİTAK, which provides the chance for Turkish researchers abroad to return to Turkey, presents a series of appealing opportunities. TÜBİTAK's Scientists Support Department scholarship geared for scientists to return to Turkey to conduct their research provides a monthly stipend of 3,250 TL for a time-span of two-years. The scholarship will still be applicable even if the researchers begin employment at an institution in Turkey. In addition, researchers will be eligible to receive 25,000 TL in support for their projects.
APPLICANTS ON THE RISE
Minister Ergün explained that 74 of the 117 Turkish researchers who applied for the program, have now returned home and stated, "Seventy-five percent of the applicants were from the United States. The other countries where Turkish researchers applied to return home from were Germany, Canada, Austria, England, Italy, Australia, Japan, China, South Korea, Denmark, Holland, Spain, Israel and Bosnia Herzegovina."
UNIVERSITIES ARE PREFERRED
Minister Ergun also explained that 88 percent of applicants apply for positions in universities as their favored institutions and stated, "While ten researchers applied to return to Turkey to work at Public Research Institutes, three applicants have arrived to work at industrial institutions. The top preferred universities by applicants were METU (16), Bilkent (15) and Sabancı University (10) followed by Abdullah Gül University (5).
WHO CAN APPLY FOR A TÜBİTAK SCHOLARSHIP?
Doctorate level researchers abroad that have experience in Research and Development are eligible to apply for the scholarship program. In addition, researchers who have a bachelor's degree and at least six years of R&D experience abroad are eligible as are graduate school graduates who have at least four years of R&D experience abroad.
This is a translation of an article originally written by Hazal Ateş.