Cagatay Dursun worked for several years in Turkey’s private and public sectors, including for the Turkish Aerospace Industries Company. He’s now excited about combining this real-world experience with what he learned in the classroom as a Master’s at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy and, concurrently, a PhD candidate in Science and Technology Policy at the Middle East Technical University in Turkey.

“I want to combine my graduate education with my public sector experience to contribute to the science and technology policy field,” said Dursun, a 2016 summer Bartlett Fellow for EPIC.

At EPIC, Dursun assisted Visiting Assistant Professor Ashley Vissing on a project that explored different ways of modeling firm and landowner interactions when landowners sign leases that transfer rights to firms extracting natural gas. Dursun added to data that describes the specific legal contents of the privately negotiated leases, he explained. The project also involved “figuring out ways to more cleanly identify the externalities between landowners signing leases across an urban area in Texas.”

Dursun’s current interest in energy policy developed throughout his PhD education. As a student of science and technology, he understands the importance of energy policy. “Science and technology policies can be used to solve energy problems and also energy policies can be used to develop science and technology policies such as innovation, technological change and entrepreneurship,” he said.

This interest in energy further increased during his first year at Harris. Learning about energy subjects, like the social cost of carbon, in the Energy Policy Practicum taught by Robert Rosner and Robert Topel motivated Dursun to increase his knowledge on energy policy. Rosner and Topel also inspired him to “get experience on energy and environmental policy studies by coping with the challenges related to different areas of energy and environmental policy,” he said.

This advice led to an interest in nuclear and renewable energy topics because of their close importance to the question of climate change. “The accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can cause irreversible changes in the world climate,” said Dursun. “Nuclear and renewable energy sources can be a sustainable and viable solution for this important problem by providing carbon free energy.”

As a Bartlett fellow, Dursun was most excited to learn more about cutting-edge energy policy and topics. “I will have the chance to work closely with really distinguished researchers on these exciting energy policy fields,” he said. “This will be an exciting experience for me.”