For over thirty years, SCI has supported and recognised the excellence of early career scientists, by aiding their studies in the form of an SCI Scholarship.
Since 1985 over 80 scholarships have been awarded which have not only given the recipients financial assistance, but have enabled them to broaden their network, and strengthen their skills and knowledge. SCI Scholars receive access to publishing and mentoring opportunities and are given a platform to present their work amongst esteemed scientists and industrialists, raising their profile within the scientific community.
Francesca was awarded an SCI Scholarship in 2022. At the end of their first year, SCI Scholars present an end of year report to SCI. Read on to find out more about what she has done in her first year as an SCI Scholar.
'I am very grateful to the SCI for awarding me with this scholarship. During this first year as SCI scholar I had the opportunity to be involved in many SCI events and activities and to become part of SCI Scotland Group. I was invited to memorable events such as the Lister Memorial Lecture at the RSE in Edinburgh, and I was able to attend the inspiring talk of Andy Joynson from Innocent Drinks at the Seligman Lecture in London. I also took part in the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards in Dundee where I had the opportunity to represent SCI and award the three winners of the sponsored category. Being part of SCI has given me the chance to meet and network with a wide range of professionals, from early career researchers to entrepreneurs and academics. I can’t wait to attend the Annual General Meeting and the College of Scholar events which will be held in London this July.
Thanks to the financial support that the SCI Scholarship has given me I could focus on my studies, and I was able to continue my PhD on a full-time basis, which I am very grateful for. This year has also seen the publication of my first academic paper as first author, with a second manuscript being drafted to be submitted soon.
My research topic is a food contaminant, acrylamide, which is formed as part of the Maillard Reaction when foods are cooked at high temperatures. Over the past year I had the privilege of organising the 6th Young AGErs Symposium which we hosted at Abertay University in Dundee; next October I will attend the 7th Young AGErs conference in Maastricht. Young AGErs is a community of early career researchers in the field of the Maillard Reaction, each year organizes a two-day symposium in which all community members get the opportunity to present and discuss their work in an informal setting.
The current third year of my PhD is being dedicated to finding a suitable and reliable method to detect acrylamide in food in real time during manufacturing, using imaging technology. In order to achieve this, I am collaborating with Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in the Netherlands, which is one of the leading centres in food science and technology in the world. A research placement visit in Wageningen is planned for September, with the purpose of working with their imaging equipment and team of experts. I am really looking forward to this exciting experience and I would like to deeply thank SCI for making all of this possible.'
Francesca Bruno, Abertay University