Innovative Research Practices: Empowering Early Career Scientists in Global Sustainability

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Published: June 13, 2024
Multidisciplinary research on food and nutrition plays a key role in supporting the sustainable development of agri-food supply chains because it can guide policies based on evidence and data and ultimately measure their outcomes. However, the impact of research will be truly effective only if it employs transdisciplinary approaches and participatory methods that directly involve local stakeholders.

Only in this way can the relevance and responsiveness of R&I (Research and Innovation) be enhanced, ensuring alignment with the needs, values, and expectations of society.

In the face of scepticism towards science from a segment of the population, it is necessary to promote open and responsible R&I that is conducted transparently and adheres to the highest standards of integrity and ethical conduct by researchers.

To implement a participatory approach to research, young researchers need to adopt attitudes and working methods based on listening, empathy, iteration, and the rapid prototyping of ideas.

It is on these foundations that the Tenuta Lab was established: a work programme at the Suvignano farm from 17 to 20 June 2024. Four days of study, research, and co-creation involving the community of PhD students, researchers, and professors from Spoke 1 of OnFoods.

The programme is designed to encourage participatory training and the attitude towards co-designing innovative and transdisciplinary solutions. It aims to facilitate teamwork using research methodologies and tools, activating actors and resources in the field. It seeks to create a cohesive research group capable of independently supporting co-creation and innovation projects.

The Suvignano Estate, in the province of Siena, is a true symbol of the State’s reclamation efforts against the Mafia; a place where new social and environmental wealth can be generated, and a venue for social, agricultural, and quality tourism initiatives.


🗓️  Monday, 17 June

Arrival of participants at Siena station and organised transfer from the station to the farm agritourism.

12:30 - 15:00
Lunch and meeting with the owner of a local agritourism business.
Presentation and introduction of the farm and its activities.

15:30 - 19:30
Meetings dedicated to covering the quadruple helix actors in the Suvignano area.
Objective: to better understand the territory through the actors that make up the network and local ecosystems (from production to distribution, including hospitality and tourism).

Visit to the Mezzadria Museum to understand the importance of the past in the future of the food world.

Arrival at the Estate and check-in.
Ice-breaking activities for the group.
Meeting with the main actors of the Estate.

Dinner organised with local cooperatives.
Meeting with cooperative representatives for an open dialogue on challenges and opportunities in the area.

🗓️  Tuesday, 18 June

Breakfast and setting the day's agenda and work sessions.

09:00 - 11:00
Legal path tour with a visit to the Suvignano farm, in collaboration with the farm’s agronomist and Libera.

11:00 - 13:00
Teamwork activities.

13:00 - 15:00
Lunch with Cooking Team Building, aimed at participatory training.

15:00 - 18:00
Continuation of teamwork and participatory methodologies in the field.

18:00 - 19:30
Free time.

Interactive and discovery dinner concluding the day’s training.
Reflections and mapping of gathered skills.

🗓️  Wednesday, 19 June


09:00 - 13:00
Teamwork and use of various methodologies.

13:00 - 15:00
Lunch with team-building activities.

15:00 - 18:30
Session on sharing and disseminating acquired knowledge.
Preparation of presentations on the work done in Suvignano.
Sharing with an internal and external audience.

Social dinner themed Living Lab.

🗓️  Thursday, 20 June


09:00 - 11:00
Session on dissemination and public engagement tools.

11:00 - 12:00
Closing session and creation of a roadmap for participatory research and dissemination of Spoke 1.

Check-out and transfer to Siena.
Lunch at a unique and special place in Siena.
After lunch, the possibility to visit community gardens and explore Siena independently.
Return to the station for those departing.

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