Empowering Future Researchers

OnFoods' Early Career Scientists in the New Mentorship Program

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OnFoods is emerging and evolving as a highly collaborative project involving over 600 participants, spread across 26 organizations, including universities, research centers, and companies, all dedicated to research and promoting sustainable development in the fields of food and nutrition.

The OnFoods project has already welcomed more than 100 young scientists, including RTDA researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and doctoral candidates, making a significant investment in young talents.

To nurture the professional development of these early career scientists, OnFoods has encouraged young researchers at each Spoke to create a Mentorship Program dedicated to offering advanced training opportunities, not only in their specific scientific fields but also in essential cross-disciplinary skills. Each mentorship program, therefore, encompasses both the specific research areas of each Spoke and  areas such as project management, scientific communication, and the complexities of grant proposal writing, all of which are essential for a successful research career.

The Mentorship Program will have a notable impact on ECS careers. Exchanges between ECSs will be crucial in building a multidisciplinary hub to support their professional and personal growth and foster long-term collaborations. Furthermore, we aim to promote networks of collaboration between academic institutions, research centers, and industry, enabling early-career scientists to build professional relationships that can be valuable for their future. (Claudia Favari, University of Parma, Spoke 4, representative of the Early Career Scientists group).

Knowledge exchange and transdisciplinary collaboration

Each Spoke’s Mentorship Program is designed and implemented by young researchers, based on their needs and preferences in terms of activities and topics they wish to explore in depth. This bottom-up approach aims to begin with the needs of researchers in order to reach the definition of shared solutions.

The Mentorship Program is also crucial for promoting more participatory training methods, necessary for co-designing solutions that are transdisciplinary, innovative and sustainable. A mentorship program tailored for early career scientists is not just a training ground where one individual imparts knowledge to others. Instead, it serves as an exchange platform where experiences and expertise are integrated in a transdisciplinary manner to contribute to the co-construction of shared knowledge. This process is similar to building a scaffolding framework for both personal and professional growth within the OnFoods project, fostering a collaborative environment where individuals collectively enhance their skills and understanding. (Sonia Massari, University of Pisa, Spoke 1).