Career development workshop builds strong networks



A three day residential workshop for animal nutritionists discussed the challenges to progression for early career researchers. The joint event between the AAVN and ESVCN gave a special opportunity for scientists across the world to meet and build their networks in this small, but important scientific field.

Recently WALTHAM sponsored a career development workshop for animal nutritionists. The event was a partnership between the American and European veterinary nutrition societies (European Society of Veterinary Comparative Nutrition, ESVCN and American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition, AAVN) and WALTHAM.

Over three days, members from both societies discussed career challenges, heard from those who have faced similar struggles and reflected on their own motivations. The residential workshop gave an unique opportunity to build a strong and close network with others from around the world, all passionate about research in animal nutrition.

The workshop was supported by WALTHAM, ESVCN and AAVN so that only minimal travel costs were funded by the successful applicants. This was in recognition that establishing yourself as a research group leader is increasingly fraught with challenges. Sometimes it may feel like you are the only one in your situation, especially in a small scientific field such as animal nutrition. That’s why, after the success of the first workshop in 2017 for ESVCN members, the event was expanded to include AAVN members, invite more attendees and taken across to the US.

The agenda was very similar to the first workshop. The first day was spent discussing career options and, as well as how to approach collaborations and supervising students. The second day focused on emotional intelligence. This involved a lot of self-reflection and feedback from others in order to better understand the way in which we, and others, behave in different situations. The final day involved group work to create research proposals for some of the hot topics in animal nutrition today.

As with the previous workshop, the group created a fantastic atmosphere with some long lasting friendships and networks forged. We are excited to see how those networks grow, careers develop and whether the research project ideas result in successful grant applications.