Yıldız Technical UniversityA spirit of innovation and collaboration at Yildiz Technical University

A spirit of innovation and collaboration at Yildiz Technical University

Yildiz Technical University graduates

With a century of experience in Turkey’s higher education sector, Yildiz Technical University is now thriving in the digital age. Collaboration is the key to its success

Founded in 1911, Yildiz Technical University (YTU) has a proud history as a leading institution in Turkey, renowned for its engineering prowess. Its 11 faculties, spread over two Istanbul-based campuses, host more than 250 undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, ranging from science and engineering to arts, social sciences and humanities.

Tamer Yilmaz was appointed rector of the university in August 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. He sees YTU’s research ecosystem as a key strength. “Students and faculty have access to more than 300 research laboratories assisted by 28 research and application centres…Faculty have strong links to industry through consultancies on local and global projects,” says Professor Yilmaz.

With more than 300 projects underway at YTU, Professor Yilmaz lauds two that demonstrate the university’s breadth. One is breaking new ground in 3D optical data storage, working with French, Belgian and Polish partners to store information on photoactive thin films that can be accessed with laser-based methods. Another highlights YTU’s focus on sustainability, designing a novel microbial fuel cell for biological electricity generated from waste materials, in collaboration with Indian and European partners. 

YTU works closely with the Turkish government and private sector, as well as other universities and international partners. Professor Yilmaz says: “Special attention is being paid to university-industry relations…and partnering with peers is an integral element.” One project, in collaboration with De Montfort University in the UK, is integrating wastewater infrastructure with renewable energy and safer sustainable reuse.

Another is developing micromobility vehicles to improve the quality of urban life, with support from Turkey’s Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure. A cooperation protocol with the Turkish aviation industry at YTU’s technology development zone seeks to upskill the industry’s workforce. Partnerships with international industry also abound. The university is working with Bosch engineers to teach students about the electric vehicle industry, a sector that is vital to creating a more sustainable world.

Central to YTU’s collaborations and its revenue base is the Yildiz Technopark, established in 2003, it is also one of the biggest technoparks in Turkey. The park is home to more than 8,500 research and development staff from many sectors and industry partners. Professor Yilmaz describes the Technopark as “adding value by using our extensive research infrastructure” to support start-ups at the Incubation Centre and create employment opportunities for students.

“Through the park, during 2020 we had cooperation on 130 projects, with 31 national and four international discoveries registered within the scope of the intellectual and industrial property rights,” Professor Yilmaz says.

Other YTU centres are broadening the university’s reach. These include the Scientific and Technological Application and Research Centre, which provides services to the government and private sector; the recently founded Satpark, which, Professor Yilmaz says, “will incorporate artistic and design-based programmes and provide the necessary technical background for the digital age”; and the Sosyopark, which “aims to apply innovative solutions to social problems”.

Going forward, YTU is preparing for a post-pandemic world. Despite facing challenges, distance education and online learning systems are running smoothly, and plans are afoot to develop further online and hybrid learning capabilities.

Professor Yilmaz says YTU is embracing an interdisciplinary approach, bringing departments together under thematic umbrellas: clean energy, defence technologies, sustainability and intelligent transportation systems, digital technologies and biotechnology. “We consider this a journey of innovation and transformation…With a harmonious combination of social and technical programmes and initiatives, Yildiz Technical University is thriving in the digital age [while] relying on a century-long standing.”

Find out more about YTU.

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