Why we need early-career researchers to join the conversation on plant genetic resources

January 5, 2023

Are you a postgrad student or early-career researcher? We are currently looking for people like you to submit opinion pieces for publication in our regular eNewsletter, DivSeek Connect.

The community represented by DivSeek International Network is as diverse as the plant biodiversity we seek to protect. Our network encompasses academics, gene bank managers, software developers, policy experts and many more.

The beauty of this diversity is that we get to share perspectives and expertise from across the many disciplines involved in the utilisation and conservation of plant genetic resources (PGR). For example, our upcoming PAG 30 workshop features presentations from experts in crop genomics (Sarah Dyer, EMBL-EBI), gene bank information systems (Matija Obreza, Crop Trust), and bioinformatics software development (Paul Shaw, James Hutton Institute).

Encouraging knowledge-sharing across disciplines is a great way to build a more holistic picture of the PGR pipeline. It enables conversations that not only help to identify gaps and possible solutions, but also opportunities to collaborate and to develop those solutions.

But what we really need now is to elevate the voices of our early-career researchers.

Junior academics are an invaluable asset in any research community. They are the engine house of R&D, and can offer a hands-on perspective and fresh insights.

What’s more, they represent the generation(s) that will have to live with the consequences of global challenges: climate change, food insecurity, population growth, and depleted natural resources.

Encouraging early-career researchers to join the conversation about evolving the PGR pipeline not only benefits the scientific community, but of course, the researchers themselves.

If you are a postgrad student or post-doc, publishing an opinion piece in a scientific community newsletter, like DivSeek Connect, is an excellent way to get your name out there. It’s also a great way to network and find potential future collaborators and even employers.

Some ‘seeds’ of ideas on potential topics (but no need to limit yourself to these!):

  • Practical constraints on traceability relating to PGR accessions (seed, data)
  • Day to day experiences of interoperability between data systems
  • How to make gene bank research more appreciated in the wider community
  • How to ensure your project data will be FAIR for future generations
  • Different global perspectives on Access & Benefit Sharing (ABS)

Whatever your field of study, we encourage all early-career researchers dealing with PGR to think creatively and critically, and to submit their opinion pieces (500 to 1000 words) to DivSeek Connect. Get in touch with us at [email protected].