Connecting for careers in Agri-Food

27 Jun 2016

SCI’s Agrisciences and Food Groups joined forces to stage a conference for PhD students and post-docs researching topics in the Agri-Food sector. Young Researchers in Agri-Food: Quality and Sustainability from plough to plate was held at the University of Reading on 12 May. Around 40 delegates came from universities and research institutes as far away as Belfast to present on a diverse, yet connected, range of topics as oral presentations, shorter flash presentations and posters.

Libby Good, Business Development Manager at the Food Advanced Training Partnership (ATP), opened the day. The Food ATP brings together the Universities of Reading and Birmingham, Leatherhead Food Research and Rothamsted Research as partners to further the education and training of young people working in the agri-food sector. Libby gave a view based on personal experience of the exciting careers available in the industry.

Later, Alexandra Carrick, Executive Commissioning Editor for SCI journals at John Wiley and Sons, SCI’s publishing partner, ran a workshop session on writing and submitting research papers to journals such as SCI’s Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. This was ideal timing for those nearing the end of their PhDs and getting ready to publish their results.

Young Researchers in Agri-Food Group photoThe event was kindly sponsored by SAB Millar and Syngenta. Sue James, SAB Millar’s R&D Director presented the prizes. These went to presentations on topics reflecting the ‘plough to plate’ theme, including crop-weed competition in wheat, phytochemicals in rocket and recovering functional ingredients in sweet corn cobs. SCI members Alexandra Holden and Jack Gillan, both at Royal Holloway, University of London, won the prizes for best poster and runner-up, respectively. Alexandra is researching biochemical mechanisms involved in post-harvest colour retention in chilli peppers and Jack is working on transcription factors involved in tomato ripening.

Feedback on the event was very pleasing, with 85% of delegates rating the event as being very good or excellent. There must be many other topic areas ripe for collaborations between Technical Interest Groups, perhaps to this proven successful format for young researchers.

Alan Baylis
Chair, SCI Agrisciences Group

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