Hi, my name is Irina Delidovich and I am 29 years old. Currently I work as a research fellow and group leader in the ITMC (Institut für Technische und Makromolekulare Chemie) RWTH Aachen University. I was born in Balkhash, a small town in Kazakhstan.
At the age of 15, I moved to Novosibirsk, Russia, where I spent a year in a boarding school for physics and math. Then I studied chemistry at Novosibirsk State University and earned my PhD in chemistry from the Boreskov Institute of Catalysis, Novosibirsk. After receiving my PhD degree, I wanted to experience a new academic environment. Since Germany is very famous for its advancements in the natural sciences and engineering, as well as for great opportunities for obtaining funding for research projects, I applied to institutions in Germany and got a one-year contract as a post-doctoral researcher at RWTH Aachen University.
In 2012, shortly after arriving in Germany, I applied for an Alexander von Humboldt Scholarship and luckily got it. After a time, I received a letter from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, asking if I would like to participate in a new joint fellowship program of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Bayer Science & Education Foundation. I was very curious to learn more about Bayer and agreed without hesitation.
The opportunities the scholarship offers
The greatest advantage of a scholarship is the peace of mind it gives you. A post-doctoral position is very important to your academic career because it is your first chance to start your own research project. Before that, the goals (and sometimes the means) of a research project are defined by your supervisor. By contrast, a post-doctoral researcher has a great deal of freedom to make deliberate choices. This kind of freedom raises many questions, such as: What will I do? Where will I do it? Who will sponsor my research? Getting a scholarship provides an answer to the last question and helps researchers tremendously, enabling them to focus exclusively on their research work. I received a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Bayer Science & Education Foundation for two years (2013-2014) and it was a time of great professional development for me. I did not have to worry about funding, and could focus exclusively on science.
Opportunities of a Bayer fellow
I was one of ten post-doctoral researchers who received a joint fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Bayer Science & Education Foundation for the first time. From the very beginning, we were invited to participate in a number of events, networking meetings, and trainings organized by Bayer. Fortunately, I became a fellow of the Bayer Science & Education Foundation in 2013, the year of Bayer’s 150th anniversary, and was able to take part in the celebration in Leverkusen and Cologne. After these events, I was very inspired by the great achievements of Bayer and Covestro. The Bayer team prepared a number of surprises for the scholarship recipients. For instance, a special guided tour was organized for us of the BayArena football stadium in Leverkusen. Pretty exciting, isn’t it?!
Attending training programs organized by Bayer was another great opportunity to develop useful skills. For example, I recall a public speaking class, which took place at “Grosse Ledder,” a charming place to be and attend training. For two days, we were coached on how to be convincing and, most importantly, we discussed real communication challenges we face every day. It was a truly high-quality training course with an individual approach. I regularly use the advice I got there.
As you can see, receiving a scholarship from Bayer gives you a lot of opportunities. For me, the opportunity to meet people working at Bayer was the most precious of them all. All the people I met at Bayer are professional, friendly, and open-minded. It was a great pleasure and a source of inspiration to work with such people. I am still in contact with some of them today. I am very glad that the Bayer Foundation continues to collaborate with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. I hope that all the new post-doctoral researchers working on scholarship have a lot of fun at Bayer!
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