The Fraunhofer Institute, one of the emblematic organizations of German industry, is the largest research and development organization in applied sciences in Europe. The institute’s research is known to be behind the high-tech brands that Germany exports to the world, from smart cars to white goods technologies. It stands out as one of the institutes with which scientists most want to work in the world.
One of the Fraunhofer Institute engineers, Dr. Çağatay Elibol returned to Turkey three years ago. He founded the International Surface Research and Innovation Center (UYAM), which was established under the Turkish-German University.
He carries out joint projects with many UYAM companies, of which he is the director. It brings scientific research closer to the needs of the private sector. In his own words, he tries to create a climate similar to that of the Fraunhofer Institute in Turkey. He points to this objective as the strongest motivation in the story of the reverse migration of which he is the protagonist.
Dr. UYAM, headed by Elibol, recently shook hands with Borçelik, one of the players in the steel industry, for an important R&D cooperation. At the center of this cooperation, to talk about the Turkish-German University’s industrial cooperation philosophy and the objectives of the partnership, Dr. We met with Çağatay Elibol and Borcelik R&D, member of the executive board of digital transformation, Information Technology and Management Systems, Baran Burat.
There are no research poles on the surfaces!
He said the agreement with Borçelik includes a visionary concept. Upon entering, Elibol said, “Turkish-German University is different from classical state universities. There is a consortium of 38 German universities. Therefore, we look at industry needs differently. When we reached an agreement with Borçelik, we started by saying that surface engineering is not a pulpit in Turkey. It occupies an important place as a desk in Europe and America. There was no surface engineering research center in Turkey. UYAM was created to fill this gap. We have signed a protocol with Borçelik on the development of advanced materials and technologies.
As one of the first steps of the protocol, a laboratory for advanced materials and technologies will be established in an area of 180 square meters in Borcelik and UYAM. Dr. Elibol pointed out that undergraduate students from the university will also participate here. He summarized the main objectives of this lab, where academics will also conduct research, as follows: “Primarily, this is a seven-year project. When we do research, we wonder if the idea will be commercialized. That’s our only goal. If you don’t cooperate with industry, you won’t understand it. We have to develop a patentable product. For this, we made preliminary preparations with Borçelik for a year. We still have material that will create 3-4 scientific publications in a few months. My main focus is in this lab; Developing smart materials that will shape the next 10-20 years. With Borçelik, we can develop intelligent self-healing materials in the medium term.
The world spends $2.5 trillion a year on waste!
Borcelik board member Baran Burat’s dream is also Dr. It’s no different from Elibol. He explained his goals by emphasizing that surface materials technologies have an important place in the future of the world. He said; “Corrosion (rust) costs $2.5 trillion a year. It is calculated that technologies that prevent corrosion will save between 400 and 800 billion dollars per year. Therefore, as Borçelik, we are not just a steel producer; We are eager to find an answer to the question of what could be the innovative solutions that will reduce this cost. We came together when the same appetite reigned in the Turkish-German university team. Our goal is to be a 200-year-old company. We believe we will grow as our customers grow. In doing so, it is very important to use the world’s resources efficiently, to be sustainable and to contribute to employment. That is why we aim to make new inventions and develop patented products with joint work at UYAM.
The light in the eyes of the three engineers is incredible!
Director of UYAM Dr. According to Çağatay Elibol, to talk about true university-industry cooperation in Turkey, one has to break traditional university codes. Citing the example of institutes in Europe and America for this, Elibol said, “As a researcher, I also teach 28 hours a week. It is kneading work. We have close to 400 industry stakeholders here. We are conducting research with 10 companies active within UYAM. We have protocols with many industrial organizations from ERDEMİR to Ford, from Mercedes to ASSAN. The concept of free here had a big impact on my return from Germany. You have to spread it,” he said.
Stating that three female students will actively work in the project conducted with Borçelik, Elibol also pointed out that brain drain can be avoided with such research. Elibol said, “The light in my students’ eyes as they come to a conclusion is amazing. The brain drain can only be avoided by such studies. These students should be included in projects that create added value.