UNAM Awarded IDB Science and Technology Prize

Bilkent University’s National Nanotechnology Research Center (UNAM) has been the recipient of an Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Prize for Science and Technology, given in honor of the institute’s contribution to the state-of-the-art in materials science and nanotechnology.

UNAM director Dr. Mehmet Bayindir attended the awards ceremony in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, and received the monetary award of $100,000 from President Filipe Nyusi.

Regarding the event, Dr. Bayindir has expressed his delight in receiving the award on behalf of Turkey, commenting that “[The international recognition of UNAM] is a testament to the country’s development in the field of nanotechnology”.

Noting that Turkey invests sufficiently for the advancement of science and technology, Bayindir also suggested that the lack of long-term sustainability is the major issue for the country’s progress, claiming that “Turkey, like other developed countries, should chart a road-map in science and technology for at least the following ten years, and implement the resolutions of this map in the fastest and most effective manner.”

Emphasizing the fact that investing in science and technology is the most critical action that the country can take to avoid the middle income trap, Bayindir remarked that the resulting increase in the production of value-added goods will contribute heavily to the local economy.

As for the prize, Bayindir suggested that the funds will be used to tighten the institute’s cooperation with Islamic countries, saying that “Our institute now hosts researchers from thirteen different countries, many of which are Islamic nations. We will endeavor to increase this number in the near future. We, as a country, were able to anticipate the nanotechnology revolution in time, but the lack of necessary investments prevents us from competing with developed countries. What we truly wish is for nanotechnology to be supported in Turkey as a high-priority area of research, as it is in countries such as the US, South Korea, Germany and Israel.”

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