School:Middle East Technical University
Middle East Technical University is founded under the name of “Middle East High Technology Institute” in 1956 to contribute to the development of Türkiye and Middle East countries and especially to train people so as to create a skilled workforce in the fields of natural and social sciences. METU’s motto is “We can change the world.” Since its foundation, METU, as an international research university, has been the leading university in Türkiye in terms of depth and breadth of research partnership on international level and the amount of funds generated from international research projects. Most of our departments accept only the top 1% of approximately 1.5 million applicants taking the National University Entrance Examination.
Promoting Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Research at METU is not only carried out by doctoral students and faculty members. Undergraduate students can also take part in scientific projects in departments, research centers and the METU Design Factory, where professors from different disciplines work together.
A joint project of the Corporate Communications Office and METU Development Foundation, AdımODTÜ has created a fund to support the research efforts of undergraduate students through donations. In the past 4 years, approximately 800 undergraduate students have been supported with AdımODTÜ Undergraduate Research Projects Funding.
We have many student clubs, the number of which is over 100, including career clubs which promote I&E among students. They organize events such as summits about technology and leadership, annual TEDX event, an entrepreneurship fest, entrepreneurship competitions and they create content for media such as podcasts about entrepreneurship, YouTube videos for promoting I&E events on campus.
METU Design Factory aims to catalyze interactions among researchers and students from design studies, engineering sciences, social sciences, and other related fields in order to develop new and innovative products. The main goal of METU DF is to offer an inspiring and encouraging environment for interdisciplinary collaboration, where both academics and students from various disciplines work together using the space and production infrastructure provided. Students from all departments can work on a project in DF by taking Interdisciplinary Problem Solving (BA4148) elective course.
Fire-Up ChangeMakers is a program to build a student-led community to create change on campus, focusing on fostering entrepreneurship and social innovation capabilities of the students. It is run by Middle East Technical University Entrepreneurship Research Center (METU GIMER), İTU GINOVA and BRIGHT. The program offers a blended learning environment with experiential exercises, online videos, reading materials and executional tasks for the participants.The 6-week online training program requires hard work and a commitment to learn and apply entrepreneurial skills.
Apart from these, entrepreneurship is also supported by courses, minor and master programs at METU. Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship, Economics of Technology and Innovation, System Thinking, Applied Innovation Based Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, Interdisciplinary Problem Solving/Interdisciplinary Design Studio are some courses including I&E topics. Also, there are Entrepreneurship and General Management minor programs and MBA, EMBA master programs offered by Business Administration Department.
Encouraging Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship
METU is known as a research university. METU supports faculty members by funding with the cooperation of METU Office of Sponsored Projects and TÜBİTAK(The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey). Faculty members in METU remarked that the university is very supportive for research activities.(1)
Mustafa N. Parlar has worked as the Dean of Faculty of Engineering at METU between 1960-1970. The following awards are given each year by the METU Prof. Dr. Mustafa N. PARLAR Education and Research Foundation in order to evaluate the research and application studies and services of distinguished scientists and practitioners in all fields of science, to strengthen their work by documenting their competencies, and to encourage the growing generations.
- Honor Award
- Science Award
- Service Award
- Research Incentive Award
- Technology Incentive Award
- Other awards deemed appropriate by the Foundation Board of Trustees
METU TTO Pre-Seed Fund is established with the goal of accelerating the commercialization of scientific and engineering research outputs from the University's research by overcoming the "valley of death" that early-stage firms face while seeking equity financing. The aim of this funding is to break down the barriers to industry licensing of university technology or investment funding of start-up companies based on university technology.
Actively Supporting the University Technology Transfer Function
METU Tech Transfer Office is supporting new ideas with 3 units. These are “IP and Contracts Unit”, “Commercialization Unit” and “University-Industry Collaboration Unit”.
METU TTO Intellectual Property Rights and Contracts Unit conducts decision processes regarding invention/design disclosure, right of ownership, application and registration processes, and legal studies related to technology transfer.
Within the scope of commercialization activities; studies are conducted to develop and commercialize more than 150 inventions and designs in the METU TTO portfolio and transfer them to the market. The commercialization activities conducted by METU TTO are:
- Starting negotiations by determining the companies related to the inventions in the portfolio, conducting their processes
- Commercialization of the intellectual property rights by transferring or licensing
- Increasing the technological maturity levels of the inventions by establishing spin-offs
- Creating an effective network with the investors and managing bilateral relations sustainably
- Establishing collaborations for recognition, awareness, and commercialization in international platforms
The level of maturity of the invention (research result), the amount of infrastructure and investment support needed for the development of the invention, the size of the potential market for the product to be commercialized, the growth trend of the market, its advantages over competing technologies and the expectations of the academician and the company from the collaboration are the most critical issues that stand out in the commercialization process of the inventions.
Some programs launched by METU TTO:
In collaboration with ODTU TTO, Growth Circuit, and Berkeley University; the “Labsout Program” which was launched in 2018 has been developed for ODTU academicians, doctorate and graduate students to accelerate the commercialization of new technologies at ODTU and to increase the number of IPR-based academic startups.
Within the scope of this program; with the strategy “Develop First, Commercialize Then”, research results at the university are matched with the start-ups in the relevant sectors and the collaborations are established within the “win-win” framework.
Through the “ProBoost Acceleration Program” developed within the scope of university-industry collaboration; academicians and companies are brought together and in terms of utilizing the different grant programs under the project to be developed and necessary support is provided by ODTU TTO.
PHDP (Patent Acceleration Support Program) has been developed to support the competitive advantage in the market for the companies at ODTU Technopolis.
Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration and Engaging with Regional and Local Economic Development Efforts
Middle East Technical University and ODTU Technopolis Technology Transfer Office are working together for innovation and entrepreneurship programs. They conduct researches, workshops, and competitions on and off the campus. Middle East Technical University Central Laboratory serves as a focal point for scientific studies, instruction, measurement, and spectroscopy for universities, government agencies, and investors in industry R&D thanks to its cutting-edge analysis/test equipment and trained, multidisciplinary personnel. While the Central Lab is a research and development facility connected to the Middle East Technical University's Directorate, it is also showcasing its capacity and ability to provide services for clients and researchers outside of METU infrastructure. Moreover, Technology-based entrepreneurship and university-industry partnership are supported through the "ODTU - TTO Technology Transfer Office" organization.
The University-Industry Collaboration Unit is a bridge that strives to work with academics who are subject matter experts in their professions to identify the best solutions in accordance with the demands of the industry. Additionally, it enables professional R&D and Innovation Collaboration Process. Through high-value-added university-industry relationships, ODTÜ TTO allows the commercialization of successful R&D projects with national and international funding. Additionally, it encourages the creation of a wide range of cooperation options to meet industrial demands. In order to maintain the growth of our nation's information and technology-based economy, the top businesses in the industry, top academics in their fields, and units connected to the ODTÜ research infrastructure are brought together. From getting a patent to turning the academic material generated by the university into an economic value, all activities are coordinated and carried out by ODTÜ TTO on behalf of faculty members as a financial and administrative entity up until the founding of the firm. The office also offers legal assistance in relation to IPR sharing in contracts for university-industry partnerships in addition to the services already mentioned. In addition to offering technology transfer services, ODTÜ TTO serves as a point of contact for fostering university-industry collaboration by connecting researchers working on collaborative projects with business with industrial organizations that collaborate with universities. Following programs are essential for the collaborations: