TEKPOL @ METU (1997 - ongoing)

About the logo

The logo of METU-TEKPOL symbolises an alert owl. The western cultures associate owls with wisdom. The goddess of the Athens in the Ancient Greek, Athena had the owl as a symbol. Back in the Indo-European cultures the owl symbolised dignity, wisdom and dedication. The logo was inspired by...Read more

Essay Map

I. Beginnings

II. Conditions

III. Infrastructures

IV. Events

V. Frameworks

VI. People, Projects, and Products

VII. Education

VIII. Engagement

STS Across Borders Shared Questions

STS Across Borders digital collections are focused through ten shared questions that can be asked across all STS formations so as to enable comparative insight.

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STS Across Borders In Brief

STS Across Borders is a special exhibit organized by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) to showcase how the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) has developed in different times, places...Read more


The graduate program in Science and Technology Policy Studies was launched in the academic year 1997-1998 at the Middle East Technical University (METU). The research center linked to this educational program was founded in 1998. The archival documents show that during the establishment process of this center, different names suggested, including, "Science, Technology, and Development Research and Application Center" and "Centre for Science Policy Studies." The center got named as "Research Center for Science and Technology Policies" (TEKPOL)

To write a story about the beginnings of the research center TEKPOL, we selected two letters from the TEKPOL Archive. These letters were written by the founding members of the center, in which they provide justifications for the establishment of a research center for science and technology policy studies at METU. One letter was penned by the sociologist Hasan Ünal Nalbantoğlu and the other by the economist Yakup Kepenek. Though these letters note a couple of similar statements for justification, they differ from each other in their focus. By underlying these different imaginations regarding why such a center was a need in Turkey, we want to draw attention to the plurality of stories that can be narrated about the beginnings of this center as well as inviting TEKPOL members to reflect on the ways the vision of this center has transformed in time, if so.

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Justification note by Hasan Ünal Nalbantoğlu

A note written by the sociologist Hasan Ünal Nalbantoğlu regarding why the center for science and technology policies needs to be established at the Middle East Technical University (27 October 1995) [text marked by Duygu Kaşdoğan].

This document is included in the analysis of the...Read more

Justification note by Yakup Kepenek

A note written by the economist Yakup Kepenek regarding why the center needs to be established (Before 1997) [text marked by Duygu Kaşdoğan].Read more


1990s in the World and in Turkey

The following developments highlighted below shed light on the external conditions affecting the establishment of TEKPOL through the end of the 1990s:

  • In one of the documents from TEKPOL Archive, there is an emphasis on the establishment of World Trade Organization in 1995 after the Uruguay Round. It acknowledges that this new system will be affecting the technology transfer process. By underlying industrial developments since the 1960s in Turkey, this document notes that Turkey has yet to produce "national technologies" in a sufficient manner. 

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Justification for the establishment of Tekpol

A document that notes "the condition" in the world and in Turkey as a rationale behind the establishment of a research center for science and technology policies at Middle East Technical University in Turkey.

This document is included in the analysis of the establishment of...Read more


Why METU? 

The reasons behind the selection of the Middle East Technical University as a home to Turkey's first research center for science and technology policies were stated in a number of documents prepared during the center's establishment process. Here are the English translations of selected quotes from these archival documents:

  • It would be hard to establish a research-education center that necessitates multi-disciplinary academic environment in a public institution such TÜBİTAK [The Scientific and Technological Research Council in Turkey] though it is an independent organization in legal terms. A university, preferably the one that undertakes research and educational activities in English, is a natural place for such a center. Middle East Technical University was agreed on by taking into account METU’s relations with, and closeness to TÜBİTAK as well as previous collaboration examples (e.g., Operational Research Unit and Ankara Electronic Research and Development Institute) - In a report by Ergun Türkcan

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Report by Ergun Türkcan

This report was prepared by Ergun Turkcan during the establishment of TEKPOL at METU, and discusses the possibilities for collaboration with Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at Sussex University. It includes detailed notes of visit to the SPRU (28 September 1995). [text marked by Duygu...Read more


First Brochure of TEKPOL

This first brochure provides a sense about the initial frameworks of the center:

  • Doing interdisciplinary research
  • Doing collaboration
  • Providing research-based consultation
  • Monitoring developments in and compiling statistical information on science and
  • ...Read more

People, Projects, and Products


The first board of directors was constituted of five people coming from different disciplines. Prof. Dr. Yakup Kepenek, from the economics department, acted as the director. The assistant directors were Prof. Dr. Bülent Ertan (electrical and electronics engineering) and Prof. Dr. Hasan Ünal Nalbantoğlu (sociology). Prof. Dr. Metin Ger (civil engineering) and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Emel Aközer (architecture) were the other two members.

This first board of directors can be considered as having an interdisciplinary character, including two academics from the social sciences, namely, sociology and economics. When we look at the list of current faculty members (see below), it seems that the field of economics has come to the fore in time. This is just a quick observation, and the changing disciplinary character of the program needs to be further inquired.

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First Board of Directors Meeting

The list of attendance and contact information in handwriting (1998)Read more


METU-TEKPOL members have led a wide range of research projects funded by different institutions. On the basis of the available list of projects in between 2009 and 2016,* we see the projects are supported by various local, national and international funding agencies, including,  BAP-METU; METU Rectorate; Ankara Development Agency; Ankara Chamber of Industry; The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBİTAK); Undersecretariat of Defense (Turkey); Ministry of Development (Turkey);  Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology (Turkey);** British Council; European Commission; Directorate General INFOSOCEuropean Commission; Euro-Mediterranean Forum of Economic Institutes (FEMISE Network); International Investors Association (YASED).  


Based on the list of selected publications of full-time faculty members, METU-TEKPOL has a strong publication record. The publications are both in English and Turkish. What we want to bring to fore here is a recent Turkish book edited by TEKPOL members,*** and entitled "Bilim, Teknoloji ve Yenilik: Kavramlar, Kuramlar ve Politika" [Science, Technology, and Innovation: Concepts, Theories and Politics/Policies].

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M.Sc. Program in Science and Technology Policy Studies

The first postgraduate program in Science and Technology Policy Studies was launched in the 1997-1998 academic year at the Middle East Technical University. The research center TEKPOL was established following the launch of this educational program.

The design of the program speaks to the need to understand the knowledge-based society so as to deal with "economic, social, cultural and philosophical challenges of today’s knowledge-based economy and society." In this regard, the program endeavors to equip students with the necessary know-how in economic and social policy-making as well as theoretical approaches so as to understand technological change. Given the complexity of policy issues, the program adopts a multi-disciplinary approach.

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TEKPOL: The List of Courses (1998-1999)

This is the list of courses to be offered in the second term of the academic year 1998-1999 at METU TEKPOL. It was submitted to the Institute of Social Sciences in January 1999. The course titles are in English. Notes in handwriting also appear on this document, which seems to be taken to...Read more

Doctoral Program in Science and Technology Policy Studies

Understanding technological change entails developing a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach which is critical in designing and implementing appropriate science and technology policies.

Ph.D. Program in Science and Technology Policy Studies is an interdisciplinary program, which includes affiliated faculty members and instructors coming from different fields, such economics, administrative sciences, engineering, sociology, history, philosophy, communication and cultural studies. The program has a particular focus on scientific research and policy making in the fields of technological change and innovation processes. This is well reflected in the titles of completed dissertation projects (in between 2011-2016).*

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In the document entitled Corporate CV (2009-2017), the center's engagement with different institutions at national and international levels is listed as follows:

  •   European Commission, Brussels, Belgium 

  •   UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands 

  •   IPTS, The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Joint Research Center of the European Commission, Seville, Spain

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