TGS Award for philosophy student Patricia Reyes

| Michaela Nesvarova

Patricia Reyes is the winner of this year’s Twente Graduate School (TGS) Award. In her PhD research, the UT philosophy student will explore how internet platforms shape activism related to climate change. Reyes accepted the prize today during the Opening of the Academic Year ceremony in the Waaier.

Photo by: FOKKE EENHOORN

TGS Award

The Twente Graduate School (TGS) award is an annual prize given to a future TGS student. The winner is selected out of excellent UT Master’s students who have the ambition to pursue a PhD degree. The award comes with a cheque of € 2,500 to be spent on the winner’s doctoral education.

The full title of Reyes’s upcoming PhD research is ‘Global Networks of Climate Action: Exploring how the Internet mediates the international response to climate change’. ‘In simple words I’m trying to understand how internet platforms influence political conflict around climate change,’ says the winner.

‘This is a project really close to my heart,’ says Reyes. ‘I feel it deals with the most relevant issue we are facing right now. We are at the point where everyone understands the urgency of environmental issues. The topics of climate change and sustainability are becoming mainstream, everyone is interested in it. However, what is missing from the discussion is how people get informed about these issues – which is largely internet platforms. As a philosopher, I know that these sources are not neutral. It is important to understand this new medium of communication and how it impacts the way we talk about environmental issues, so that we can properly address them.’

Receiving the TGS Award was ‘very reassuring’, says Reyes. ‘When you embark on a new research, you have doubts. Is the topic relevant enough? Will people find it interesting? Will they even understand it? Moreover, all my competitors were also working on good and relevant research ideas. So when I found out I won I was – first and foremost - very happy.’

The award comes with a cheque of €2,500, but Reyes doesn’t have any specific plans for the money yet. ‘But a big part of my research will be talking to environmental activists, so it might be a good idea to use the money for visiting them on site,’ says the soon-to-be PhD candidate. Reyes plans to start her doctoral research under the supervision of Professor Peter-Paul Verbeek at the Department of Philosophy within the next couple of months.