Fellow Feature: Funda Yildirim 

Every year, the Netherlands eScience Center shares a call for applications for our Fellowship Programme. The Programme is aimed at members of the academic research community who are passionate about acting as ambassadors for the use of research software. It is for individuals who have the ambition to promote or improve the use of research software within their organization or discipline. Our 2023 fellows are currently halfway through their fellowship year. What better time to showcase their progress over the course of their programme.  

We will present you with interviews with each of 14 Fellows. From creating tutorials to organizing interactive seminars, our Fellows are at the forefront of shaping the landscape of research software practices. 

In our third interview, we are excited to share with you Assistant Professor at the University of Twente, Funda Yildirim’s experience as an eScience Center Fellow. Funda is working on a project called “Advancing Technology Literacy in Behavioral and Social Sciences: A Proposal for Software Training and Project Development”. 

Q: Could you tell me what role research software plays in your daily activities?  

A: Research software usually helps me figure out multidimensional data that has a complex structure, such as functional imaging 4D data or data with high spatial variety. It also enables me to create customized visualization. I use software applications to collect and store data from various IoT sensors simultaneously.  

Q: What initially inspired you to apply to the Fellowship Programme at the eScience Center?  

A: I was very intrigued to be involved in an environment where multidisciplinary thinkers, problem solvers, and people who constantly work on collaborative projects work together. It is not common for scientists to communicate with other professionals who understand research problems, have similar perspectives, and can think along with them. The eScience Center has a very unique working capacity in this sense.  

Q: How is your fellowship helping you to promote the use of research software in your own community?  

A: I contacted many researchers and conducted some preliminary research in my faculty, which is behavioral and social sciences, and learned about researchers’ needs and the software technologies that they already integrate or plan to integrate in their research. It was surprising to learn about the creative ideas that led many researchers to get accustomed to customized software technologies.   

Q: What have you enjoyed, thus far, during your fellowship at the eScience Center?   

A: I find our Fellowship Days very inspiring because we have amazing workshop sessions and get to follow up on each Fellows’ project progress, which allows me to learn from each Fellow’s experience as if it were my own. 

Q: What are some challenges that you have faced throughout your project thus far? How have you overcome these obstacles?  

A: Our Fellowship projects are, in fact, research grants that require us to navigate through various aspects. I had to get out of my comfort zone and manage the project in collaboration with the scientific staff, social and science communication experts, financial managers and engineers. I cannot say that I have overcome these obstacles yet, but let’s say that I am learning every day.  

Q: Keeping this project in mind, what do you hope to do after your fellowship?  

A: I plan to continue advocating for accessible and open research. I will contribute to the dissemination of this cause in any way that I can, including taking on roles in relevant organizations, pursuing further projects, and maintaining the desired standards in my lab’s work.  

Q: What do you hope will change in the use of research software in your community after your fellowship?  

A: I aspire to increase awareness among researchers at any level regarding the potential and advantages of transforming any valuable research pipeline into a research software technology. I hope that they will consider the potential benefits for others and actively strive to make their research more accessible. 

Who are we?  

The eScience Center is a research organization dedicated to applying research software to answer research questions in any scientific domain through project collaborations. It has the largest concentration of dedicated, high-level research software expertise in the Netherlands. The eScience Center also has a fellowship programme and makes all of its software and training materials openly available online. For more information about what we offer, visit esciencecenter.nl.