The European Research Council (ERC), which provides Europe’s most prestigious scientific research support, found only four researchers from Turkey worthy of Starting Grant this year. We congratulate our Faculty Members, who are the owners of these projects, all of which were prepared under the aegis of Koç University, for their significant achievements.

Assist Prof. Barış Yıldız

Assist Prof. Barış Yıldız from the Department of Industrial Engineering was entitled to receive ERC Starting Grant. “GoodMobility: A New Perspective on City Logistics: Concepts, Theory, and Models for Designing and Managing Logistics as a Service” project developed by Dr. Yıldız to design the future urban logistics systems and to design the necessary theories, concepts, and models for the realization of these systems has been the first ERC project focused on logistics. GoodMobility, which defines urban logistics not as a business problem but as a social need, aims to realize new transportation technologies and business models that have not been considered before, in a way that will maximize social benefit, with public-private partnerships. The project aims to deliver products and services that will increase the innovation capacity and quality of life of cities to the residents in a much faster, more economical, and environmentally friendly manner.

Assoc. Prof. Elif Nur Fırat Karalar

The European Research Council (ERC) which encourages the best researchers in Europe and their groundbreaking projects, found worthy of supporting the project named “SatelliteHomeostasis: Spatiotemporal Regulation of Centriolar Satellite Homeostasis”, which will be developed by Assoc. Prof. Elif Nur Fırat Karalar from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. In 2015, Dr. Fırat Karalar was entitled to receive ERC Starting Grant for the first time with her project “Dissecting the Function and Regulation of Centriolar Satellites: Key Regulators of the Centrosome/Cilium Complex – CentSatRegFunc”. She is the first researcher to receive this support twice in life sciences. Dr. Fırat Karalar’s project aims to understand the evolutionary processes of the complex organization of mammalian cells, thus developing new diagnostic and treatment methods for diseases such as developmental disorders or cancer.

Assoc. Prof. Selim Erdem Aytaç

Assoc. Prof. Selim Erdem Aytaç from the Department of International Relations was entitled to receive ERC Starting Grant. Dr. Aytaç with the “Affective Polarization and Democratic Attitudes- DEPOLARIZE” project aims to examine how the emotional polarization created by the antipathy, insecurity, and negative feelings developed by citizens in many countries against the supporters of political parties, which they see as opposed to their own views, affects people’s democratic attitudes. Although emotional polarization is a much-studied topic, this project is different from others because it will produce data that can be compared from many countries. While doing this, it will use the most advanced research methods that will allow for making causal inferences. The project will reveal whether emotional polarization plays a corrosive role in democracy by having a negative impact on citizens’ democratic attitudes.

Dr. Erkan Aydın (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology)

Dr. Erkan Aydın was entitled to receive ERC, Starting Grant, with the “INPERSPACE” project by Koç University hosting. Dr. Aydın and his team aim to develop highly efficient yet cost-effective solar cells, which have become a necessity in the “new space age”. In this context, multi-joint (tandem) and high-efficiency perovskite thin-film solar cells will be designed, manufactured, and tested in real space conditions to operate in the harsh conditions of space. It is expected that the outputs of the project will have great advantages in using space activities for the benefit of humanity in this period of exciting developments in the space economy. While INPERSPACE is the first project in Turkey to receive an ERC fund in the field of photovoltaic technologies, Dr. Erkan Aydın is the first researcher to be awarded this project by writing a joint project with Turkey from abroad.