Scholarship Stories


Sinan Açıkgöz


I graduated from the Department of Civil Engineering at the Middle East Technical University in 2010. I was granted scholarship from the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation to study for a Ph.D. at Cambridge University in the UK between 2010 and 2013. I started my Ph.D. studies in October 2010 and finished in June 2014. Since then, I have been working at the same university as a research assistant.

In my doctoral education, I examined constructions that are particularly at risk during earthquakes. I explored this topic with theoretical and experimental studies, as well as practical applications. I presented the results of my research to various international conferences and published them in academic journals. The findings that came out of my studies helped the development of economic and resistant earthquake seismic isolation technologies and furthered the understanding of the dynamic load capacity of historical structures.

Had I not been supported with the scholarship by the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation, I would not have been able to conduct my Ph.D. studies. In particular, the one year that I spent in Christchurch, New Zealand, which was destroyed after an earthquake, allowed me to witness how destructive an earthquake can be, even in developed countries, and to realize the constraints in our approach to earthquake engineering.

Since I came back to the UK, I have been speaking about the contents and importance of earthquake engineering at science centers and fairs. I also develop my research with the classes I give at the university and with the students of whom I am the thesis supervisor. In the project that I started after finishing my Ph.D. studies, I have been researching about the use of new technologies developed in optics and computers to examine how historical structures are affected during the renovation of an old train station in London. With this project, I aim to examine an important problem that awaits us in the next century, i.e., how to monitor the structural health of an ageing city infrastructure.

I believe that my research will be useful for society in the future. However, I am aware that my studies comprise a very small part of what needs to be done to meet the needs of the society. The Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation is making a concrete and significant contribution to the development of the society with their repeated support for students over the years. I feel honored to be part of the Foundation’s scholarship program.