Wen Luo

PhD candidate in Geo-Engineering, TU Delft and RWTH Aachen (2021–present)

IDEA League ITN EASYGO Fellowship

“You get the chance to develop your networks in both academia and industry, and that helps your future career.”

I am now in the last year of my PhD at TU Delft. My research is related to DAPwell, a geothermal well project on the university campus. As part of the IDEA League EASYGO fellowship programme, I spent nine months on secondment at RWTH Aachen University. That was really nice. Each PhD student also does a secondment with industry partners to develop their network and gain practical experience. I did mine at Aardyn, a geothermal developer and producer, which is also involved in the DAPwell project.

The first thing I would like to mention from my experience of the EASYGO programme is networking because you get the chance to develop your networks in both academia and industry, and that helps your future career. If you remain in academia, for instance, you will already have contacts in industry, which can really help you.

The second thing is that IDEA League aims to provide us with interdisciplinary training. Sometimes, we want to be able to explain and understand things from different perspectives. For example, my work is related to subsurface cracking events due to geothermal operations. My background is mainly in geomechanics, so I am used to explaining things from that perspective, but we also need to understand cracking events in terms of geophysics. Yet, people, including myself, from geomechanics and people from geophysics do not always understand each other, even though we are actually talking about the same thing. IDEA League provides a unique opportunity to receive training in both topics.

Fortunately, I have great supervisors in both geomechanics and geophysics at TU Delft and RWTH Aachen, and they support me whenever I need it. Receiving training in two areas not only helps me to finish my project, but it also allows me to become a more competitive candidate in the future.
“And the experience with industry has given me greater insight into how my project can help in the real world with real challenges”.

For me, one of the best aspects of the EASYGO programme is the annual training week at different IDEA League universities. During that week, we receive training from both academia and industry experts, so you meet a lot of people and can develop your network. We also present our work to these experts, which is a great opportunity to practice your professional presentation skills and learn how to defend yourself, an important skill for defending your PhD thesis.

In addition, people who are interested in your work might reach out to you or provide interesting and useful information. It is really important and valuable to have space for communication and discussion while also having a unique opportunity to build long-lasting friendships with other students.

If you take full advantage of talking to others and learning from the experience, you will be able to better determine your future research area and advance your career.