By Gokhan Ergocun
Turkey's central government spent 10.7 billion Turkish liras ($2.93 billion) to support research and development (R&D) activities in 2017, Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) announced on Thursday.
The country's R&D expenditures jumped by 17.5 percent in the year, versus 2016, according to a statement issued by TurkStat.
"According to this result, central government budget expenditures on R&D accounted for 0.34 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 1.4 percent of the central government budget expenditure in 2017," the statement said.
The country's indirect support for R&D activities also increased by 35 percent to 2.9 billion liras ($786.6 million).
The largest share of expenditures -- 41.2 percent -- on R&D was used by general university funds, while defense (28.5 percent) and industrial production and technology (7.7 percent) followed them.
"According to provisional results based on initial budget appropriations, Turkey has allocated 12.95 billion liras ($3.53 billion) on R&D for the budgetary year 2018.
"This covers not only government-financed R&D performed in government establishments, but also government-financed R&D in the other three national sectors (business enterprise, private non-profit, higher education) as well as abroad (including international organizations)," the statement said.
Turkey has 942 R&D centers, and they employ over 49,000 R&D personnel involved in more than 25,000 projects, according to the technology ministry data.
Research and development centers which work to develop technology with staffs of 15 or more are supported by the government with tax exemptions and incentives.
The country also has around 230 design centers that work to develop, improve, and diversify private sector products to boost the country's international competitive edge.
Similarly, design centers with more than 10 staffers are also supported by the government.