Ege University Science and Technology Centre- Technology Transfer Office (EBILTEM-TTO) is a regional and national expertise organization on innovation management, R&D, technology transfer and triple helix cooperation. The Centre is located in Izmir, Turkey and is within the organizational structure of Ege University which is a 55-year old State University. Since its establishment in 1994, EBILTEM-TTO has been playing a pivotal role in increasing the innovation capacity in the Aegean region and in building bridges between the academia and industry. It does so by, amongst others, advising various key stakeholders on how to stimulate and increase the innovation and R&D level of the industry, adopting international developments to the local situations, advising the SMEs on issues such as research, IPR, innovation management, new investments and strengthening the ties between universities and businesses. As a result of these efforts, EBILTEM-TTO has become a regionally and nationally renowned prestigious Centre and has been accepted as a unique model for Academia & Business interface organization in Turkey. In 2012, EBILTEM-TTO deserved to be supported within the scope of Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBİTAK) 1513- Technology Transfer Offices Support Program to develop its existing Technology Transfer activities. The support was awarded for 10 years to transfer University’s technologies to the market effectively to maximize their impact and benefit not only to the University itself, but also to the society. Its wide spectrum of activities can be grouped under the following main headings:
Raising awareness about the importance of R&D and innovation in the business and academic world has been a major objective. EBILTEM-TTO promotes university-industry cooperation proactively through info days, seminars, trainings and sector-specific University-Industry twinning events in areas such as IT, Health, Textile, Agro food, Energy and Machinery sectors. EBILTEM-TTO promotes international business and technological partnership opportunities, funding schemes and other similar information in national business magazines; 6 sectoral, 2 industrial magazines and one of the most respected Turkish business magazine, Para Magazine. EBILTEM-TTO is a one stop shop for companies in the region providing one-to-one advice and guidance regarding R&D and innovation issues. In addition to written dissemination, EBILTEM-TTO has prepared a user-friendly website where both entrepreneurs and researchers can search for partners for cooperation. EBILTEM-TTO promotes over 1.500 international business opportunities to Turkish entrepreneurs via targeted emails, website and press, annually.
Training and Knowledge Transfer
One of EBILTEM-TTO’s core activities is providing information about national and international R&D support programs. It actively provides information about these programs by inviting companies for one-to-one meetings with its experts, offering consultancy services and scientific support from the University. Moreover, EBILTEM-TTO provides external as well as in-house training opportunities on subjects related to innovation, technology and business. It provides training in Project development and application. In case SMEs require specific tailor-made advice and assistance, EBILTEM-TTO offers them the opportunity to make use of the Foreign Experts' Service via foreign experts from The Netherlands or Germany. Up till today, EBILTEM-TTO has organized and/or participated in, over 200 innovation management, technology transfer and IPR workshops and seminars for capacity building with over 6.000 participants. Furthermore, EBILTEM-TTO has assisted 51 SMEs to find international experts to enhance their technology development capacities. This expertise assistance has helped 10 companies to develop completely new brand products, in addition to a number of other benefits.
Securing Funds for R&D and Innovation
EBILTEM-TTO provides SMEs easy access to national and international innovation and R&D funds. Guide and assistance in project applications to various national funds such as TEYDEB, TTGV, KOSGEB, SAN-TEZ and to international funds such as EU Programmes, EUREKA, EUROSTARS, Eco-Innovation and various FP7 themes, is provided by EBILTEM-TTO staff and external experts if required. EBILTEM-TTO has assisted over 58 small companies to access national innovation funds and 45 companies and researchers in their applications to EU FP projects. The companies and researchers in the region has secured over € 4 Million through these EU projects
Capturing New Ideas and Technologies
EBILTEM-TTO organizes activities that enable business professionals to develop ideas and transform them into tangible business prospects. Activities such as project exhibitions, project competitions and project brokerage events provide platforms for introducing new ideas to entrepreneurs. EBILTEM-TTO Project Idea database comprising of 950 new ideas is a valuable tool for clients looking for new investment opportunities. Up to now, over 50 projects have been commercialized by local and national entrepreneurs.
Meeting Researchers and SMEs
As an interface organization between the academia and the industry, EBILTEM-TTO brings together academicians and SMEs to facilitate joint activities such as trouble shooting, contracted research, joint R&D projects and consultancy. It relays sector specific consulting requests from SMEs to faculty members, matching them together and thereby closing the gap between research and practice. Other successful examples are the establishment of an Industrial PhD Program in Biomedical Technologies, the Industrial Experience Certificate Program that allows students to gain experience by working in companies for a set period of time and the “First Step Office” set up as a liaison office in the Izmir Organized Industrial Region (IAOSB) to speed up the initial contact with the companies. Through the “First Step Office”, EBILTEM-TTO has assisted two companies to set up business links with international companies and guided one company to set up its own R&D Department, since 2010.
Providing IPR Consultancy Services
EBILTEM-TTO houses an Information and Documentation Office of the Turkish Patent Institute as well as a liaison office of European Patent Office (EPO). These contacts enable EBILTEM-TTO to provide all kinds of information related to IPR issues. Patent searches and competitor analyses are carried out free of charge upon request for all clients from business and academia. EBILTEM-TTO is also the National Coordinator for the EPO supported project on “Dissemination of IPR Awareness in Turkish Universities”. Since the establishment of the EPO Pilot Office, EBILTEM-TTO has provided patent and competitive analysis services to 32 companies.
International Relations and European Projects
Since 2004, EBILTEM-TTO has coordinated or participated in a total of 15 EU Framework projects attracting a total of 5 Million Euros for the development of the innovation capacities of regional industries thereby improving their competitiveness in internal and global markets. Consequently it has been a member of several international networks, such as Innovation Relay Centres (IRC), Ideal-Ist Network, EuroAxess, Enterprise Europe Network (EEN).
EBILTEM-TTO currently cooperates with international consortia in six ongoing EU projects within the FP7 and the Competitiveness and Innovation Program (CIP), Leonardo and EuropAid. EBILTEM-TTO actively promotes the participation of University faculties and SMEs in these framework programs as partners, by disseminating call details as well as partner search requests. It also has close collaborations and/or memorandums of understanding with various international organizations such as the Turkish American Scientist & Scholars Association (TASSA), Association of University Technology Managers (ATUM), Triple Helix Association (THA), European Centre for Strategic Management of Universities (ESMU), European Knowledge Transfer Society (EUKTS).
Strengthening International Business Ties
As a member of Enterprise Europe Network through its EBIC-Ege project, EBILTEM-TTO identifies new international market opportunities for its SME clients, organizes brokerage events and company missions to facilitate contacts between Turkish and European SMEs. Furthermore, foreign SMEs that would like to do business in the Aegean region can request guidance and advice. EBILTEM-TTO also provides international technology transfer services, thereby internationally promoting Aegean technologies as well as bringing foreign technologies to its region, making these new technologies available to interested SME clients. Overall promoting business, technology and research partnerships are amongst the core activities of EBILTEM-TTO. Since its involvement to the Innovation Relay Centre (IRC) Network in 2004, EBILTEM-TTO has finalized 158 international technology transfer, business and research cooperation agreements between Turkish and international bodies. This cooperation has created over €50 Million added value to the companies in the region and 30 new employment opportunities.
Regional Cluster Initiatives
The Western Anatolian ICT & Electronics Regional Innovation Centre (BATI-BINOM), the Biomedical Cluster Initiative for Izmir (INOVIZ) and the Aviation Cluster (HUKD) are examples of regional cluster initiatives established by EBILTEM-TTO. All of these initiatives aim to improve the capabilities and capacities of the respective sectors, acting as a central hub, where different kinds of organizations (SMEs, Research- and /or, Government Organizations) are gathered around shared interests, thereby strengthening the national and international profile of the Aegean region.
Relations with Strategic Regional and National Partners
Healthy relations are maintained between EBILTEM-TTO and various regional and national stakeholders. Within the Aegean region, EBILTEM-TTO cooperates with the regional universities, and various regional stakeholders such as the Aegean Free Trade Zone (ESBAŞ), and Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Exporters Union and the Commodity Exchange. At the national level, EBILTEM-TTO is an Executive Committee member of USIMP- National Platform for University-Industry Cooperation. It cooperates closely with KOSGEB, TOBB, TÜBITAK and other national stakeholders.
Innovation Strategy Projects
EBILTEM-TTO has been working as partners with the Izmir Development Agency (IZKA) for the development of “Izmir Innovation Strategy”. Within this context, it supports regional institutions in developing their regional innovation strategies. Innovation Strategy Project for the city of Aydın, and Soma, Manisa are examples for these efforts.