It’s like a science family




As researchers well know, learning and producing new information takes place in a collaboration between scientists. The University offers an encouraging work environment for encounters between young doctoral candidates.


One of the most well-known research groups in the University of Turku is the

Molecular Plant Biology Unit that researches photosynthesising organisms. The

doctoral candidates come from different parts of the world providing several

different views and productive exchange of ideas for the group. The Unit has

strong team spirit.


"When I came here, I immediately felt that there is a connection between

the people working in the Unit. The atmosphere is very energetic and friendly –

it’s like a science family, describes Steffen Grebe from

Germany", who joined the group only recently.


"We’re a big research group so there’s a great deal of exchange of

thoughts between people with different techniques. Many have worked here for a

long time so wisdom has accumulated over the years", says Marjaana

Rantala who completed also her Master's degree in the University of



University Staff Take the Candidates Strengths into



In addition to receiving help from one another, the doctoral candidates can

rely on the staff's support. According to the Finnish Doctoral Candidate

Lauri Nikkanen, the strength of the research group is that the

staff takes the students into account.


"I have plenty of creative freedom and it really suits me. Some others

like to have more structure", which is also provided here.


Interacting with the staff or other research groups is easy.

Veronica Carbonell from Spain and Hariharan Dandapani

from India are impressed with the equality within the Unit.


"Co-operation is easy and our communication is very open. Instead of

having a strict hierarchy like in some other countries, you can have a free and

open discussion with a superior, which really facilitates the learning process",

explains Carbonell enthusiastically.


"There are no egos, so ideas are welcomed instead of being considered as

challenging an authority. It’s not that common in other universities that

instruments, ideas and knowledge can be shared in a large unit or a department

as freely as here in Turku", adds Dandapani.


Leisure Activities within an Easy Reach


In addition to the atmosphere at University, the doctoral candidates

appreciate the city as a welcoming environment. Luca Bersanini

from Italy was impressed with the research articles written at the

University of Turku and applied to study in Turku. During his time in the city,

he has found several ways to adapt to his new home town.


"The University has many services and activities, for example, the

University Sports have an extensive and versatile sports schedule. Furthermore,

many student groups and organisations provide different activities. So the

University really offers a chance to feel at home here", says Bersanini who is

currently finishing his doctoral dissertation.


Turku is also a great fit for students arriving from larger cities and

countries. Steffen Grebe remembers how he was looking for a more peaceful place

after living in noisy Berlin. Gayathri Murukesan from India

appreciates that different places and services are so easy to reach in



"I came to Turku six years ago. I have previously lived in India and the

Middle East and travelled in many European countries. I’m very confident to say

that I have found my comfort zone here in Turku. The city's size is perfect for

me. More than that, I love that people are very honest. I have gotten lost many

times and always received help from strangers", Murukesan



Read more about Molecular Plant Biology


Text and photo: Ilkka Hemmilä