The day was opened by Felix Schottroff, head of the Young EFFoST Council, who emphasized the important role of networking for young scientists and early-stage industry professionals, before handing over to the chair of the opening session, Prof. Kevin O'Connor, who introduced the topic "Shaping the Production of Sustainable, Healthy Foods for the Future".
Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO of the Food Safety Authority Ireland, gave the keynote. Pamela gave an inspirational talk, highlighting the importance of the young generation in shaping future sustainable food systems and the importance of their scientific works to provide a database for decisions by regulating bodies. The presentation was followed by a networking opportunity, where young as well as established participants had the chance to meet and introduce each other and to make new contacts in the form of a "speed dating" activity.
Following an energetic coffee break, where new professional relationships continued to flourish, the second session was chaired by Tara Hughes, career consultant for University College Dublin (UCD). Tara was joined by a panel of speakers to discuss their varied career journeys through Food Science and Technology and offer their advice to a new generation of researchers. Dr Aoife Marie Murphy, Sustainable Nutrition Manager at Kerry, gave a whistle-stop tour of how she transitioned from academic research to a leading role within one of the biggest food ingredients companies. Aoife Marie spoke about taking opportunities and building connections along the way, shaping your own future as you go. This message was further emphasized by Dr Nessa Noronha, from Food for Health Ireland, whose key takeaways focused on building transferable skill sets and leveraging your strengths to carve out the career path that you want.
Of course, in building our own career, luck can always play its part. Prof. Alan Kelly, from University College Cork, gave his appreciation for the moments of luck that landed him in the right place at the right time as he progressed through his career in academia. While admitting the food industry was not the place for him, Alan highlighted the invaluable skills that are gained along the PhD path that can launch excellent careers in the food industry. Dr Ciaran Forde, Professor of Sensory Science at Wageningen University, continued the discussion of transferable skills as he took us on the global journey of his career through sensory science and eating behavior across industry and academic settings. The speakers were joined on stage by Tara to lead the panel in a conversation about the future careers that are available for our new generation of researchers. Our enthusiastic delegates put their questions to the panel and took in the advice offered. The session, and YED 2022, were brought to a close with high energy as our young researchers were ready to dive into all that EFFoST 2022 had to offer them.