Koç University News & Announcements Bulletin

November 2018


The month of November is the last month in Fall where October colors of red and orange fade away, leading to a grayer, colder hue, a foreshadow of winter to come.

Nevertheless, November has in the last three years been quite a colorful and exciting month for our University. Since 2016, Koç University Rahmi M. Koç Medal of Science has been the flagship marker of our commitment to science and research at our university, with the recipients giving us hope, pride and joy. The Medal program was created to celebrate and encourage relatively young scientists, and is given one year in Science, Engineering and Medicine and the subsequent year in Social and Administrative Sciences, Humanities and Law. The program also celebrates the contributions to our institution of our Honorary Chairman Rahmi M. Koç, while also recognizing the outstanding position that Koç University has now attained as a comprehensive ‘Research University’, and as a beacon of excellence in education and scientific research in our region.

It is surely one of the most memorable times of the year for our university and each recipient has been so worthy of this accolade. The Awardee this year was again no different, an extraordinary man of science and a wonderful, positive person.

The third Koç University Rahmi M. Koç Medal of Science was presented to Prof. Metin Sitti from Max Plank Institute at a very nice ceremony held on November 21st.

The most significant innovations of the future will emerge at the intersection of humanities, natural sciences, engineering and medicine. The emphasis at Koç University on interdisciplinary work, on greater collaboration, diversity, and global connectedness, and the associated de-emphasis of hierarchy and established norms represents a huge shift away from how universities used to operate just 30-40 years ago. But these changes may pale in comparison with upcoming revolutions in scientific understanding that have started to be measured not in centuries and decades but in years and months. New disciplines are born by the day and old ones resurface in unexpected new partnerships and fields.

Professor Metin Sitti has opened up new horizons with his work on the improvement of human health at the very intersection of sciences and engineering and technology. In this context, Koç University Rahmi M. Koç Medal of Science was presented to him for his outstanding and pioneering contributions to micro and nanoscale robotics for biomedical applications. As I warmly congratulate Professor Sitti, I am also very happy to announce that he now spends 20% of his time at our university, teaching and working on research projects. This collaboration between his laboratory at Max Planck Institute and Koç University creates and harbors tremendous opportunities for both sides and everyone involved, in terms of exchanges & joint supervision of PhD students or joint projects of our College of Engineering and School of Medicine, or simply exchanges of know-how, thus greatly improving our research portfolio in these critical areas.

One of the other great things about the Rahmi M. Koç Medal award ceremony is the fact that many more people get exposed to scientists and Turkish success stories, which are inspiring to all of us. Our recipients are typically already highly accomplished scientists who have been somewhat celebrities in their own fields; however, this award gives them access to a wider audience, and especially young people who aspire to achieve great things in their own lives. It is for this reason that we have our Medal recipients present a seminar at the university the day after the ceremony where they share their research and projects with students and faculty.

Another joyful event this month was the first ever Koç University Seniority Awards. For many years, we have had the practice of presenting plaques to those who have worked at our university for 10 and 20 years at our annual end-of-year dinner events in a rather formal setting. Our new ceremony, on the other hand, was designed to be more intimate with all there feeling the excitement. Celebrating a significant anniversary of employment at an institution marks an important milestone for both the individual and the institution. The success of our institution is very much dependent on having devoted and capable members and I wish our awardees of this year many more years at our wonderful university. Our ceremony was indeed a special occasion for our staff and faculty and I congratulate our Human Resources team for putting this program together. We definitely started another new tradition that will enrich the lives of our employees for many years to come.

One of the most important areas of focus for me is the relationship and collaboration opportunities between businesses and the universities. When such liaisons, connections do succeed, highly effective and innovative ecosystems are created, bearing extraordinary results. It is thus very appropriate for Koç University to be the academic partner of Deloitte’s Best Managed Companies program in Turkey, which is a global initiative to identify and recognize private companies with advanced management ideas and excellent business performance. I enjoyed serving on the jury together with some of the prominent members of our business community. I would like to thank our Dean of the Faculty of Administrative Sciences and Economics and Director of the Graduate School of Business Zeynep Gürhan Canlı and faculty members Eda Aksoy and Tuba Toksöz for their involvement in and support of the program. In my brief address to the guests at the Awards Gala Dinner, I touched upon a few notions, planted seeds so to say - no pun intended - about the value of university-industry collaborations. I was also delighted to see some of our Anatolian Scholarship program donors/partners as winners of the 2018 Deloitte Best Managed Company Awards.

On November 28th, we were honored to host at our university Sir Dominick Chilcott, British Ambassador to Turkey. We had fruitful discussions about potential collaborations under the auspices of UK programs such as the Newton Program, as well as direct relationships with individual UK companies. Especially after Brexit, there are unusual opportunities for R&D partnerships between our two countries and a university such as ours is well positioned to take the lead.

November also comes with a most important solemn observance and remembrance. On November 10th, we mourned the Founder of our Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who passed away 80 years ago. This year, we were once again very much inspired and touched by the wonderful message of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Koç University, Mr. Ömer M. Koç, that he issued in his additional capacity as the Chairman of the Board of Koç Holding. For the past thirteen years, Koç Group has been issuing a tribute to the lasting legacy of Atatürk on this day of mourning, widely seen and shared throughout Turkey on many television channels and other news outlets. The theme this year was many people from different cities, men, women, children from different walks of life saluting Atatürk in their own so very special ways. I do not think there is another country in the world where life literally stops for that one minute of silence when the siren calls play at 09:05 am on November 10th.

My own experience with November 10th is that ever since I realized my own 57th birthday, I have pondered how our country would have been had Atatürk lived longer than his 57 years and overseen the full development of his young Republic. Aside from his military genius, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was one of the most revered statesmen as well as a true intellectual who spoke several languages, having read profusely in many languages and having written nine books, one of which is on geometry. I am certain that he would have given so much more to the development and elevation of our country, in almost every walk of life, had he lived longer. Alas, we are forever thankful for the clear direction he has pointed for us in his short life, which we at Koç University do and shall follow with unrelenting determination.

Our month ended with our General Faculty/Staff meeting on November 30th, at which we review the ‘State of the University’ and also present our annual ‘Outstanding Faculty Awards’. These awards recognize those among our faculty who have emerged as outstanding researchers, always presenting us with difficult choices from among many qualified candidates. We are so very blessed to have truly outstanding colleagues all around us at this great institution.

Now onto December, as we reach the end of 2018 and look forward to 2019, life and time going by all of us amazingly fast, much too much so for any of us to really have the time to do all the things that we would like to do . . .

Best wishes and regards to you all,

Umran Inan



Professor Metin Sitti is the new Recipient of the Koç University Rahmi M. Koç Medal of Science

Koç University Rahmi M. Koç Medal of Science, in its third year, was presented on November 21 in the fields of “Science, Engineering, and Health Sciences” to Professor Metin Sitti for his outstanding and pioneering contributions to micro and nanoscale robotics for biomedical applications’. Prof. Sitti also presented an enlightening seminar on “Small Scale Mobile Robots for Medical Applications”, the following day at SGKM.

AKMED’s First Exhibition

The first-ever AKMED (Suna & İnan Kıraç Research Center for Mediterranean Civilizations) exhibition, “The Charm of the Market: Shopping in the Mediterranean World throughout History” is now open in Antalya. Within the exhibition, ancient coins, scales and weights will be presented.

Koç University Press Bookstore is now Open in Beyoglu

The first bookstore of KUP opened its doors to booklovers on the ground floor of Merkez Han on Istiklal Street, Beyoğlu. All the titles of KUP together with the works of Koç University's research centers ANAMED, VEKAM, AKMED, and Sadberk Hanım and Pera Museums will be available in the store. The bookstore has more than 200 titles with special discounts up to 50%.

Koç University Seniority Awards

Koç University faculty and staff were presented with 10, 15, 20 and 25 year pins at the Seniority Awards Ceremony, held on November 30, at Founders Hall.

Outstanding Faculty Awards

The recipients of the Outstanding Faculty & President Awards 2017-2018, were announced at the General Faculty and Staff Meeting on November 30. Our sincerest congratulations once more to everyone.

New ANAMED exhibitions on campus

ANAMED exhibitions from 2015, ‘John Garstang's Footsteps Across Anatolia’ and ‘The Forgotten Kingdom - Archaeology and Photography at Ancient Alalakh’ from 2014, are now adorning the walls of Semahat & Dr. Nusret Arsel Science & Technology Building, respectively.