New project helps Turkish university boost its research capacity and raise its profile in Europe

Press Release -

Launched in October, the GEMSTONE project will strengthen collaboration with a high-level European academic institution (Lund University) in Sweden, a non-profit organisation (ICONS Innovation Strategies) in Italy and Acıbadem Mehmet Ali Aydınlar University (ACU) in Turkey. With a budget of nearly €1.5m in EU funding, it will help transfer knowledge and best practices in research and research management.

Lund University will provide ACU with scientific knowledge and technical skills related to state-of-the-art techniques for investigating neurodevelopmental alterations that lead to neurological disorders, a research topic of common interest.
We will help ACU improve the soft skills of researchers and provide support in research management and communication.

GEMSTONE will include capacity-building activities such as short-term visits, mentoring, training workshops and dissemination events.
The overall aim is to create the ideal conditions, knowledge, and skills to realise the full potential of the ACU. This will enable researchers to publish in high-impact journals, lead and participate in international research projects, attract funding, raise their profile in the European and global neuroscience community, and enhance their networking capacity.
Prof. Filiz Onat, project coordinator, stated, “I have believed in the importance of international collaborations, scientific networks, multidisciplinary approaches and strategies throughout my academic life. Science thrives on interaction and translational scientific perspectives. I wanted to show that it is possible to create a European network that can broaden the horizons of young researchers.”

Acıbadem Mehmet Ali Aydınlar University (ACU), located in Istanbul, is the largest thematic university in the field of health in Turkey. Its mission is to be a model academic institution for Turkey and a reference in the world.
Although the ACU brand is appreciated in the Balkan countries and in Turkey, the university still needs to do more in order to compete with the leading European universities.
In terms of excellence, Turkey is currently one of the worst performing countries compared to the EU.
According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) in Turkey amounted to €6.87b in 2020, which is equivalent to 1.09% of gross domestic product (GDP).
Turkey has one of the lowest R&D intensities and one of the lowest numbers of scientific publications compared to EU countries. Low performance indicators also characterize participation in EU research programs such as FP7 and H2020 and the success rate.

The project is EU-funded under the Horizon Europe research programme. It is one of 103 projects approved under the Twinning programme, selected from 388 proposals evaluated.
“Twinning” is one of the funding actions under the work programme “Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area”. The aim is to strengthen the scientific and technological capacities of the institutions, especially those in the Widening countries, and to improve the research profile of the institutions and their research staff.

“Thanks to its vast experience in managing research and innovation projects, ICONS will provide both ACU researchers and administrators with tools and methods to improve their research performance, through training courses and specific mentoring activities.”

(Serena Cogoni, ICONS’ Project Manager responsible for the GEMSTONE project)


To know more about GEMSTONE contact Serena Cogoni – Communication and Press Office