Opening of our University 2020-2021 Academic Year was held on October 12, 2020, with the University Administration's visit to the Supreme Leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Anıtkabir. The official ceremony in the Culture and Convention Center was not held due to Pandemic. The message of our Rector, Prof. Mustafa Verşan Kök for the Academic Year Opening is as follows:
Dear METU members,
Since the day it was founded, METU has been an international university that symbolizes an understanding of education which cares about universal values and development, strives to develop an awareness of social responsibility, and fulfils a leading and pioneering role in the shaping of individuals who have the potential to create and sustain scientific, technological, cultural and environmental changes and follow the principle of lifelong learning.
Dear METU members,
Evaluating the last four years, our university was determined to be the most successful university in Education and Training according to the results of the YÖK 2018 Universities Annual Monitoring and Evaluation, the most successful Research University according to the results of the Research Universities Performance Evaluation in 2017 and 2018, and the most Entrepreneurial and Innovative University in Turkey according to the TÜBİTAK 2018 Entrepreneurial and Innovative University Index. Our university has also received the International Cooperation Awards in the "Corporate Award" category of the YÖK 2017 Outstanding Achievement Awards, and the University-Industry Cooperation Awards in the "Corporate Award" category of the 2019 Outstanding Achievement Awards.
Between 2016 and 2020, METU received support for 23 European Union projects (Horizon 2020) and 29 international projects. In addition to these achievements, our university, which is the only state university in Turkey to receive an ERC project, qualified for the second and third ERC projects between January 2017 and December 2019, with a total budget of 4 million Euros. Our university's "Center for Solar Energy Research and Applications (GÜNAM)" has received the first Twinning project among Turkish universities and Turkey's second Twinning project in the context of the Horizon2020 Twinning 2018 call.
Beyond these notable achievements, a total of 16 distinguished scientists, 5 of whom are international researchers, including a researcher from a Nobel Prize-winning group, have started their studies at our university as of 2020. Their participation in our community takes place within the scope of the TÜBİTAK BİDEB 2232 International Fellowship for Outstanding Researchers Programme.
During this same period, our university's "METU Digital Innovation Center" project proposal of 8 million Euros budget, and "Games, Wearable Technologies and Next Generation Movies: Economic Development and Creative Industries Mediation" project of 5 million Euros budget have been involved in 11 projects supported in Turkey general, supported in the Program of Competitive Industries, within the scope of Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) carried out by Ministry of Industry and Technology and co-financed by the European Union and the Republic of Turkey.
Our university ranked first in the number of 100/2000 doctoral scholarships per faculty member among all universities from the "100/2000 Doctoral Scholarship Project" initiated by YÖK, which was created considering the future needs and development areas of our country.
Beginning in 2019, we invited Nobel Prize-winning scientists to METU as part of the "Presidential Lecture Series". The first lecture organized in this context took place in October 2019 for high school and university students with Prof. Peter Agre, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry in 2003. Lectures planned within the Presidential Lecture Series scope were suspended due to the COVID-19 Pandemic but will resume in the post-pandemic period.
Within the scope of our mission to popularize and disseminate science throughout our country, we established our "Science Communication Office", which is a first among universities in Turkey. Over the last four years, we have reached millions of people with our science communication projects on TV, radio, and the social media. We met thousands of science enthusiasts of all ages off-campus with the METU Science Café events, which took place in different cities, and on-campus with our events such as "Bilimin Ev Hali (Science at Home)" and "Bilim ve Sanat Buluşuyor (Science Through Art)”.
Since 2017, "High School Summer Science Camps" have been organized by our university for 10th and 11th-grade high school students with a duration of 7-10 days. In these camps, courses such as Nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence, Food, Electronics, Environment, and Design are offered in practice, and professions are introduced to the high school students.
Recently, in January 2019, we opened the Yüksel Proje Lecture Hall, built and donated to our university by Yüksel Proje A.Ş., whose owner and founders are METU graduates. There are four halls and 17 classrooms in our new building, and 1,850 students can take classes simultaneously. With this building project, we have solved our university's need for classrooms for the next 15 years.
Today, approximately 28,000 students are studying at the campus of our university, which is designed for 14,000 students. In this context, we will commence construction of a new study building (co-working area), which we think is very necessary for our students, in November, again with donor support. We aim to finish the construction by the end of the 2020-2021 Academic Year Spring semester at the latest.
Similarly, our negotiations with İşbank (Türkiye İş Bankası A.Ş.) and Rönesans Holding, of which the executives are our graduates, continue regarding the donation of a new cafeteria building for our students.
We will be opening the largest wind tunnel (RÜZGEM) in our country this year to support our country in reaching its national targets in wind energy, to minimize dependence on external technology while reaching these targets, and to contribute to overall competence in the world wind energy market.
The construction of a new research center built by TUSAŞ to improve our research in Gear and Power Transmission Systems at our university started in November 2019. The research center will be in service in June 2021.
In 2022, we are planning to open the Marine Ecosystem and Climate Research Center (DEKOSIM) built on the Mersin / Erdemli Campus, in order to increase the long-term and continuous observation capacity in our country's seas and to use the data obtained from them in climate and ecosystem research.
The Research Park Building, which was built to meet the increasing space needs of our Application and Research Centers and to continue their activities more effectively, has a total area of 22.665 m2. It has laboratories and research areas suitable for today's technology, multi-purpose halls, meeting rooms, and exhibition areas. We will open the first section of our New Research Park building in 2022.
Dear METU members,
One of our top priorities over the next four years is to ensure that the area of 70 hectares in the Taşpınar Locality of Ankara’s Gölbaşı District be declared as a Specialized Technology Development Zone and to establish an Aviation and Space Specialization Technopark in this region. Turkey Space Agency, along with private and public R&D centers and test infrastructures (TÜBİTAK Uzay, TUSAŞ, Türksat, UYDU A.Ş, etc.) conducting space research, will be in this new Technopark area. As we have already established the first and the most successful Technopark in its category in our country, we are excited to now launch this new technopark. It is foreseen that there will be incubation, office, and partial production infrastructures that allow start-ups, SMEs, national and international companies working in the space and aviation fields to carry out their strategic projects in this new zone. The efforts for the site to be declared as a Specialized Technology Development Zone will begin this month.
For the 2020-2024 period, as well, an R&D building targeting companies working in the fields of life sciences, artificial intelligence, and robotics was designed in our METU Teknokent main campus, and its construction is planned to start in 2021.
Dear METU members,
In the rankings of QS and THE, the world's leading international ranking organizations, our university is in the 400-800 band, like other leading universities in our country, due to the increase in the number of universities in the world and the exclusion of CERN publications and citations. Every year, in the QS rankings, our university is ranked 1st among Research Universities, and has been ranked 2nd and 3rd among Research Universities in THE rankings over the last four years. In the CWUR ranking – another ranking institution – METU is the only university in the top 600 among all universities in our country.
The target we have set is to be in the first 500 in the next two years and the first 300 in the following period. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that METU is consistently ranked among the top 100 in the rankings. In this regard, we carried out a very comprehensive study in the last six months and determined the success areas and target levels that we need to achieve. In this context, after sharing the regulations regarding a wide range of processes from appointment-promotion criteria to publication and citation support incentives with our university in a short time, we will start to implement them as of January 2021.
Dear Newcomer Students,
I congratulate all of you for your determination and devoted work that brought you to METU as a result of long years of effort. METU is a university where only the best students meet with the most successful academics in their fields in Turkey and globally. This meeting is also supported by many science, culture, art, and sports activities that will accelerate your personal development. We expect you to participate in various social and intellectual activities such as seminars, concerts, theaters, movies, and talks held every day at many points of the campus, after the pandemic period. We believe that you will continue your education life with this perspective of our university, where education and research activities are carried out in harmony and with the firm tradition of learning from each other at the forefront, and you will always keep these features alive inside and outside METU.
As the stakeholders of the universities, which have essential responsibilities in the establishment of democracy in a country, and as individuals who will manage and direct the future, you should embrace your university, protect the environment of freedom and democracy created by it, and avoid actions that harm educational activities and the environment you live in.
You should not only embody the value of democracy and freedom in your words but set an example for society by putting it into practice. It should not be forgotten that the ability to respect each other's rights and freedoms and act responsibly are essential elements in creating and maintaining a democratic society. I ask you to frame your way of expressing yourself, listen to others, and resolve conflicts within the framework of "nonviolent and constructive communication", acting with awareness and consciousness of this.
I would like to express here, once again our belief that as the administration, we will solve all our problems in communication with our students, faculty members, and all our staff without any external intervention; and to emphasize especially the meaning, importance and necessity of our students' common sense and support to achieve this.
Dear METU members,
Middle East Technical University will continue to work with all our strength to sustain, develop, and strengthen our Republic, entrusted to us by our great leader, Mustafa Kemal ATATÜRK.
I would like to share a short film with you that summarizes the projects that stand out from the accomplishments of our first period, which I was honored to be the Rector of, and wish all the successes to all of us in the 2020-2021 Academic Year.
Prof. Mustafa Verşan KÖK