Diffusing the Penetration of R&D Culture in Society

Another important aspect of raising awareness of R&D culture in society is to foster science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education starting from early ages. STEM education is an area that receives high focus in many countries. One of the examples is the US, which supports science fairs by many government agencies. Recently, the US has further initiated a Science Fair Program under the auspices of the US President's 'Educate to Innovate' policy. The White House Science Fair featured over 100 students from more than 30 states, representing more than 40 different STEM competitions and organizations that recognize the talents of next-generation scientists, engineers, inventors, and innovators. Approximately 30 student teams had the opportunity to exhibit their projects as part of the fair. The President viewed student work exhibits in person, ranging from breakthrough basic research to new inventions, and delivered remarks to an audience of students, science educators, and business leaders on the importance of STEM education to the country's economic future [42].

Raising public awareness of science can be another area of priority as a means of diffusing the penetration of R&D culture in society. One of the best practice examples is the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, which is an initiative of the European Commission. Within the Framework Programs for Research and Technological Development, and the European Research Area (ERA), science and societal activities aim to build an increasingly harmonious relationship between scientific endeavors and European society at large. In this context, the contest promotes the ideals of cooperation and interchange between young scientists. Young scientists also have the chance to meet others with similar abilities and interests and to be guided by some of the most prominent European scientists. The EU Contest has been the annual showcase of the best of European student scientific achievement since it was initiated as a Europe-wide student science fair in 1989. It attracts widespread media interest while giving students the opportunity to compete with the best of their contemporaries at the European level. The 25th contest in 2013 brought together 85 projects from 37 countries with 126 promising young scientists aged 14 to 21. Winners shared $74,000 in prize money and other prizes, such as science trips [43].

Serving the same objective, the USA Science & Engineering Festival is another best practice. The mission of the festival is to stimulate and sustain the interest of youth in STEM. In addition to top-level support, festivals include hands-on activities and live performances by science celebrities, explorers, best-selling authors, entrepreneurs, and world-renowned experts.

As another example of large-scale public effort to diffuse science in society, the newly established support program in Turkey aims to create awareness of science and technology issues and to promote scientific culture among young people through science fairs at public schools. Based on the Science Fairs Support Program [44], public schools across the country are given monetary support to hold science fairs for students in Grades 5–12 in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. In the first year of the program, 1092 schools were funded. The fairs were attended by approximately one million visitors and 30,000 projects were exhibited by 64,000 students in consultation with more than 15,000 teachers.

In addition to periodic large-scale events, such as science fairs, other examples are the Science Centers that remain at the service of the public on a continuous basis. In Turkey, the SCST resolved that a science center is to be opened in every Turkish province by the year 2023, starting with the metropolitan municipalities. The Science Centers [44] will be venues for the interactive sharing of scientific knowledge with the public as well as a means of enhancing scientific culture and increasing the rate

of scientific literacy in society. In line with these developments, TÜB˙ITAK launched the Science Centers Development Support Program that is initially being used to support exhibits in metropolitan municipalities in a local partnership model.

Following the SCST's decision, contracts have been signed with four metropolitan municipalities. The Konya Science Center has recently been opened with the Prime Minister's participation in an opening ceremony. The other two science centers are expected to be opened in 2016. All centers are located in modern structures with stateof-the-art facilities. For example, the Konya Science Center is 25 thousand square meters including exhibition areas, training sections, conference halls, and libraries. It is constructed over an area of 100 thousand square meters. The Konya Science Center aims to be one of the three best science centers in the world. Currently, 235 exhibitions are designed internationally and 40 are implemented in the newly opened center. One of the forthcoming exhibitions is “Sultans of Science,” which includes 50 exhibition units regarding contributions of scientists and inventors to astronomy, math, architecture, and medical sciences that were transferred to Europe as the scientific advances that laid the foundation for the European Renaissance.

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