Over the last five years, Turkey has recorded significant progress in R&D. Many companies in every sector have increased their R&D staff several fold and allocated a considerably larger share of their budgets to R&D. The incentives provided by the Industry Ministry and TÜBİTAK have played a major role in this rapid growth in the number of R&D personnel. Experts say that another important factor is that firms believe in innovation more than ever. An important indication of this is that in the last five years many companies have made large investments in R&D centers.
GLOBAL IMPACT DRIVING THE INCREASE
Experts say that the number of multinational companies who have established a presence in the country has been driving the recent rapid increases in companies’ R&D personnel. For example, Ford Otosan, which had the largest R&D department in the Turkish automotive sector in 2011, now has the third largest R&D center at Ford. The number of R&D personnel at Ford Otosan has increased from 307 in 2006 to 1,024 in 2011. BSH Türkiye has made considerable investments in this area and serves as a part of the company’s global markets’ R&D activities. BSH Türkiye CEO Norbert Klein says that this kind of intensive activity in R&D has made Turkey one of the most important players in the BSH Group’s global R&D network. Since 2008, the 254 personnel employed at Vodafone’s R&D center, which is called Oksijen, have been providing solutions not just for Vodafone Türkiye but for the entire Vodafone Group. Oksijen R&D General Manager Arda Özgün said that this has played an important role in the increase in the number of their personnel.
BUDGETS ARE GROWING
The rise in the number of R&D staff naturally results in an increase in the budgets allocated to this area. For example, in the last five years, Abdi İbrahim has increased its R&D budget by 500 per cent. The company, which allocates 5 per cent of its turnover to R&D every year, now has a R&D budget of TL 36 million. Ford Otosan has the highest R&D budget of any of the In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of R&D staff at the giant firms... The data from TÜİK support this view. The number of R&D personnel at commercial firms increased by 104 per cent from 22,413 in 2006 to 45,922 in 2010. There has been a striking increase in the R&D staffs at the leading players in different sectors. In the last five years, the number of R&D personnel at Turkcell has increased by 854 per cent to 440, at Ford Otosan by 350 per cent to 1,024, at Vodafone by 202 per cent to 254, and at Netaş by 148 per cent to 750. The incentives for R&D have played an important role in these rapid increases. companies in the automotive sector in Turkey. Ford Otosan Deputy General Manager for Product Development Ernur Mutlu says that the reason that their R&D expenditure grew five-fold between 2006 and 2011 was: “It was intensive R&D activities resulting from the new projects that we initiated on a global scale that led to this increase.” R&D investments at the Sanofi Group have increased every year. In 2010, the company invested $15 million, and last year the figure was TL 24 million. R&D budgets have been showing record increases in technology companies. AirTies, which allocates 47 per cent of its total budget to R&D, increased its R&D budget by 900 per cent in the period 2006-2011.