Selvican Türkdoğan

PhD candidate in Geomechanics & Geothermal Energy, RWTH Aachen and ETH Zürich (2021–present)

IDEA League EASYGO-ITN Fellowship

“The EASYGO programme allows you to contribute to science with an open heart and an open mind.”

I am Selvican Türkdoğan, a doctoral researcher in the EASYGO programme, which is part of IDEA League. Supported by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie scholarship, I am now in the third year of my PhD, doing a dual degree in Geomechanics and Geothermal Energy with RWTH Aachen and ETH Zurich.

After completing my master’s degree at the Faculty of Geophysical Engineering at Istanbul Technical University, I decided to pursue a PhD abroad. I was already aware that IDEA League was unique in its offering of joint degree programmes from some of the most prestigious universities in the world. I applied and had the privilege to be accepted. During my time with IDEA League, I discovered that it places a high value on education and scientific research. The researchers with whom I worked affirmed the significance of scientific rigour and the importance of professional and personal development.

The EASYGO programme’s best feature is the inspirational network of academics and research institutes to which you have access. I had the opportunity to visit different universities and talk to a lot of professors and experts in our field. I learned so much from them. There are no barriers or boundaries to sharing scientific knowledge or pursuing personal growth, and everyone was eager to offer both professional and personal support.

And that is what makes EASYGO so unique. It offers much more than a deep dive into a particular area of technical expertise. Of course, you learn and develop as an academic, but EASYGO goes beyond that: I learned many other skills in addition to networking that I will use for the rest of my life. Transferable skills like effective communication, managing my mental health, exerting influence — the list goes on. Being part of the programme has already had a significant impact on my personal development. I had the chance to get to know myself and understand what makes me tick.

One aspect of this involves representing myself as a woman in the academic community, which is very important to me.

I want to become an example for young girls who aspire to be a scientist. In our field, particularly, the number of female professors remains low

Women often opt out of an academic career, especially during the postdoctoral stage when personal life transitions and professional goals collide. I want to help fix this ‘leaky pipeline’. We can be the next generation of geoscience professors, but it is important to have role models to show that it is possible. I want to be one of those role models.

IDEA League’s positive and encouraging environment champions initiatives like this. To make a difference, you need strong connections, and establishing relationships and networks is exactly what the EASYGO programme facilitates. I have met all kinds of interesting people from diverse backgrounds, made some great friends from all over the world and experienced lots of cultures. But we all had one thing in common: an open mind, which allowed us to connect and experience such an enriching environment.

So, to anyone considering doing a PhD with IDEA League, I would like to say: do it! If you want to experience education at its best, get involved. Come champion the next generation of scientists. The EASYGO programme provides such a well-rounded opportunity to connect and grow, allowing you to contribute to science with an open heart and an open mind.

If you want to know more, please do get in touch!