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Provided a platform for early career researchers to interact and develop collaborations for the future

SIANI has provided a platform for early career researchers to interact and collaborate.

Photo: Helena Lopes / Unsplash.

Since 2014 SIANI and SLU-Global have hosted workshops for early-career researchers, PhD students and post-docs to discuss challenges and opportunities around topics related to SDG 2, such as sustainable food systems, rural transformation and multifunctional landscapes. These workshops have provided a platform for cross-disciplinary discussions and networking, during which participants could share experiences from their past and current projects. Participants were also given feedback and guidance from senior peers, helping them to strengthen the relevance of their research to policy and society. Since inception more than 60 early-career researchers have participated in these biannual workshops.

”Participating in the workshop was a great opportunity to discuss the progress of my doctoral research, obtain relevant feedback and learn from the different perspectives other participants were following in their research,” says Jennifer Castañeda Navarrete, a participant of the 2018 workshop from Mexico.

We have already described how the participants of the workshop in June 2020 gained new networks with peers and senior experts from different countries. Following up with the early-career researchers a few months after the event shows how such networks have led to internships and other professional opportunities.

“The workshop was a networking opportunity I will never forget in my life. I met people whom we kept talking even after the workshop and our collaboration has been impactful up to date. I have gotten my academic internship as a result of my network of researchers we met there. Even many more opportunities that are coming across my way in professional life,” says Cedrick Leon Igiraneza, a participant of the 2020 workshop from Rwanda.

The workshops offer a platform and safe space to discuss one’s research ideas and papers with more senior colleagues. These opportunities have supported participants in developing and improving their work, which in turn facilitates sharing of their research with the wider research community.

“The workshop gave me exposure and insights on how to link my work to policy. In fact, the feedback I got from the workshop helped reshape my research paper and the paper was recently accepted for publication by Frontier in sustainable food system,” says Ogbonnaya Ukeh Oteh, a participant of the 2020 workshop from Nigeria.

The workshops provide input to the different stages of an early career researcher, allowing for participants to receive support relevant for their individual process. The participants were able to engage with invited mentors who helped push their research ideas forward. Some of the participants benefitted from final comments and finishing touches, as seen above, whilst others received guidance on how to design their research projects.

“The workshop providede me with a different perspective to the design of my doctoral research. Although it is still in work-in-progress, the workshop at the initial stage of the research design was of big help,” says Laura Rojas, a participant of the 2020 workshop from Colombia.

The mentors also provided feedback and guidance to the participants on how to strengthen the relevance of their future research to policy, allowing for their research to actually contribute to achieving SDG 2. As described by Didier Muyiramye, a participant of the 2020 workshop from Rwanda, the event enhanced the knowledge of “how to effectively share research findings with policymakers”.

We look forward to hosting future workshops for early-career researchers that generate new networks and knowledge that can contribute to the achievement of SDG 2.

Read more about the workshops conducted in 2016, 2018 and 2020.