Research network co-hosts conference for early career researchers

The research network co-hosted the Wales Ecology & Evolution Network annual conference which promotes post-graduate research and provides a networking platform for early-career scientists at Welsh Universities.

During the conference the research network hosted a session on grant writing and careers with Rhys Bowley, Dr Eleanor Warren-Thomas, Dr Line Cordes, Dr Graeme Shannon all pitching in advice from across their very varied academic backgrounds. Framing the session with a theme of “there’s more than one way to climb the academic tree”, the panel covered career paths, funding sources, where to get help and all-important survival tactics for carving a path through academia.

This year’s event was the first in-person for 2 years due to the pandemic, and was held at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Mid-Wales. The event is branded as a by early-career-researchers for early-career-researchers event, proving a constructive environment for many of the attendees to participate in their first research conference and to experience the minutia of live events in a friendly environment.

“After moving to an online event last year due to the pandemic, the support of the research network was instrumental in allowing WEEN to re-launch as an in-person event in 2021 at the Centre for Alternative Technology. This kind of conference is a valuable experience for early career researchers, as it provides an opportunity to present their work in a supportive and relaxed environment, whilst promoting communication and collaboration throughout the ecology & evolution research communities in Wales. This year, the LCEERNW facilitated a grant writing workshop, which was a unique session for WEEN and provided useful insights for early career researchers when looking for their next funding opportunities in academia.”

Amy Gresham, Post Graduate Researcher at Bangor University and WEEN organising comittee
The compacted-earth walls of the the WISE (Wales Institute for Sustainable Education) lecture theatre building completed in 2009

For more than 45 years CAT has inspired people to achieve practical solutions for sustainability. Founded in 1973, it has a long history of research and innovation: from early experiments with wind power that helped with the development of modern wind turbines, to the creation of prototypes of solar-powered vaccine fridges that are now saving lives across the world. The team at CAT have experimented with new ways of producing compost and treating waste, innovative low-carbon building materials and methods, various types of renewable heat, and much more. Since 2007, CAT’s main research focus has been the centre’s Zero Carbon Britain project, which provides a model for how the UK could reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions using technology available today.

Investing in next generation of environmental researchers based in Wales is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to building on Welsh research strength, and ultimately increasing the research funding brought into Wales. Events like WEEN are helping to develop the next set of research leaders who will be dedicated to solving the greatest challenges facing ecosystems around the world.

WEEN21 Delegates inside the WISE lecture hall

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