Between February 8 and 10, INGENIO hosted the 7th edition of its Eu-SPRI Early Career Conference, this time entitled “Addressing old and new social challenges: knowledge, policies, inclusion”. The event, which is organized entirely by PhD students for PhD students, gathered more than 60 early career researchers from 30 different academic institutions. Particularly strong representation was recorded from the host institution, but also Gran Sasso Science Institute and Politecnico di Milano in Italy. Over the span of three days, the participants had the chance to present their work in a friendly and welcoming environment, receive constructive feedback from senior researchers and briefly step into the shoes of reviewers by discussing each others’ written abstracts. Thematically, the 22 parallel sessions encompassed a wide range of issues - from sustainability transitions and green technologies to feminist organizational change, ethics, and gender-lens investing.
“I think this conference was very informative and heartwarming” – shared An Yu (University of Manchester) – “which is really fitting for early-career PhD students like myself. I’ve been encouraged by this experience and have more faith in my academic career.”
A notable highlight in the opening day of the conference was the keynote address of Professor Elisa Giuliani from the University of Pisa, whose research on the dark side of innovation captivated the attention of the young scholars and elicited a stimulating discussion on the need to prioritize early detection of harmful substances and company practices, before they reach the market. On the following day, Professor Lars Coenen from the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences delivered the second keynote address of the event, which highlighted both the opportunities and the challenges of implementing missions, transformations and experimentalist policy approaches on the ground.
“I would like to thank you again for the wonderful work that you did in organising uch a vibrant conference. I loved being part of it and I think it was one of the best conferences I have attended so far.” Knarik Poghosyan, TU-Dortmund
In addition, the program featured two highly interactive 1.5-hour workshops. The first one, structured as a round table with two panelists – Elisa Giuliani and Francesco Rentocchini – tackled the intricacies of the publishing process, and provided a safe space for students to ask what they’ve always wanted to know: what makes a good manuscript; what issues are important to editors; how to navigate the uncertainty, ethical questions, and more. In the second workshop, Elisabetta Marinelli, a Principal Consultant from Technopolis Group, started off assessing the expectations of the students in the room in real time before debunking some of the most common misconceptions about working in academia, policy-making or the intersection between the two.
The rigorous discussions indoors were accompanied by informal socializing during the coffee breaks on INGENIO´s (mostly) sunny terrace. The Gala Dinner, hosted in a traditional Valencian restaurant, also offered ample opportunities for networking between PhD students, senior researchers and external guest speakers. All in all, this year’s edition of the PhDays continued a strong tradition of successful and widely popular Eu-SPRI Early Career Conferences at INGENIO.