Discours Ouverture des French-Turkish Innovation Days Monday 4 December 2017

Mr Rector of ITÜ University, dear Mehmet Karaca,
Dear participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to be with you this morning here in Istanbul and to open the French-Turkish Innovation Days 2017. The first Innovation Days took place at ITÜ two years ago. Today, I am glad to launch with you, Dear Rector, this second session. This project could not have been achieved without the support of Istanbul Technical University and its Teknokent, one of the best innovative centers of Turkey.

The theme chosen for this year is “smart cities”. This is not by coincidence. France and Turkey are joining forces to use their resources to deal with the complex challenges of sustainable and inclusive urban growth. We must find innovative solutions to better exploit our natural assets and manage growing urbanization. We need to rely on digital technologies to make our communities, our cities, our countries more liveable, more sustainable, safer and more attractive to the citizens of the future.

In 2015 during our last Innovation Days, our two countries encouraged associated universities and businesses to work together. This year we want to go further in this partnership. We are at the dawn of a technological revolution of a magnitude greater than that of the mobile phone. Artificial intelligence, big data, 3D printing, smart grids will modify our relations, our economic activities, our ways of doing things. Our two countries need to be aware of this new paradigm. Academics, companies, municipalities, ministries must work together to create new models adapted to technological innovation.

The potential is great considering what our two countries have already developed together.
France and Turkey have benefited from many bilateral and European programs. In total, in the last five years, 526 research projects have been conjointly led, leading to more than 3600 joint scientific publications. This shows the tremendous potential of our cooperation.

I would like to mention specific examples applied to smart cities :
In the field of energy, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) works with Hacettepe University and METU to create new innovative scientific approaches. In the last years, the French company Bouygues has developed a successful project with Istanbul municipality to manage the public lights through a database program. The French Development Agency AFD provides funding for sustainable energy transformation of municipalities and companies. In last 10 years, 230 projects have been supported, saving around 2 million tons of carbon dioxide. The smart grids applications will benefit from the French expertise of the Ecole Polytechnique whose representative is here today.

In the field of Environment, the chemistry Laboratory of Dijon University starts cooperation with the Research Center of Gebze on air pollutants. New technologies are explored with Lille research team working with Sabanci University in the sector of construction to create a new and less polluting cement. Today, we will have the opportunity to hear about experiences from the pilot smart campus in Lille and experiences in different cities such as Lyon.

In the field of transportation, France and Turkey have a long term partnership, as Alstom and Thales are working on the high speed train. The French agency AFD is funding the metro in Istanbul and the tram in Izmir. In the automotive sector, Renault, the 1st car producer in Turkey, will present its project on electric car and connected car.

To meet these challenges requires people with innovative capacity. So I invite all researchers to cooperate and engage in projects with France. French exchange programs at the master’s and PhD level exist. On top of that, the French Embassy and ITU have signed an agreement to co-finance postdoctoral studies. I hope you will consider these interesting opportunities.

I also invite companies, in particular their R & D departments, to propose research topics to universities and municipalities. University-Industry joint PhD programs are feasible in France and are open to Turkish students and academics.

Finally, I trust the younger generation to create start-up companies. Young foreign entrepreneurs are welcome to France, thanks to the French Tech Initiative and the French Tech Ticket, which create a favorable environment for start-ups and enable them to settle in France with financial support. We have linked this French-Turkish Innovation Days with Hello Tomorrow, the conference held at the Zorlu Centre that promotes young entrepreneurs from all around the world and aims at connecting them with key business players and developers.

All of us, public officials or civil servants, heads of industry, creators of start-ups, we all face the same challenge, which is our ability to adapt. I strongly believe that the international cooperation is a necessary pillar for more innovation.

I hope that these French-Turkish Innovation Days will inspire you and will facilitate the development of new projects between France and Turkey.
I wish you a very productive conference, Thank you very much for your attention./.

Dernière modification : 04/12/2017

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