Nutrition Futures 2021 - Conference overview

Published online: 23 September 2021

Careers Panel at the Nutrition Futures 2021 conference

And just like that another Nutrition Futures conference is over. The Society’s first hybrid conference was hosted over two days from sunny London. Imperial College London hosted the event at the Cavendish Conference Centre and provided a diverse programme for attendees.  

We, as organisers, were delighted to be able to not only welcome students in person, but also welcome students online from anywhere in the world this year. The hybrid format enabled us to livestream the lectures and workshops to reach people from over 14 countries. Consequently, we had a record number of attendees at our conference and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for coming.  

Day One

The conference started with a warm welcome from the Society’s President, Professor Julie Lovegrove, along with Dr Aaron Lett and Professor Gary Frost from Imperial College, and the Student Section Chair, Kiu Sum. This was followed by a career’s talk from the Julie Wallace award winner Dr Elaine McCarthy. Dr McCarthy spoke of her research career and her research on the first 1000 days of life. She shared some great tips for researchers-to-be including engaging in continual learning. Delegates were then given a motivating talk from Simon Bucknall on public speaking and how essential it is to use ‘you’ to engage the audience rather than ‘I’. The Original Communication sessions allowed 32 individuals to present their original research in lightning 5-minute sessions. During three parallel sessions, delegates heard from in person and online presenters on an extensive range of topics. It was inspiring to see the passion of the speakers and I personally wish you all the best in your future research.  

After a well-deserved lunch break, Dr Sarah Berry from King’s College London, fascinated delegates with findings from the ZOE COVID Symptom Study on the nutritional impacts from Covid.  A very important take home message was the importance of looking at individual changes as well as population changes. Our next workshop by Charlotte Turner RNutr gave insightful tips on becoming a freelance nutritionist. Charlotte gave a really balanced view on the topic, explaining everything it takes and how much is involved. In the last session of day one, we heard from Loughborough University’s Andrew Shepherd and Harriet Bates on supporting the dual career athlete as an applied nutritionist. It amazed me how much nutrition varies in different types of sport.  

At the end of day one, delegates that attended in person were welcomed to a brilliant evening social at the Hard Rock Café. This was a much needed chance for everyone to network following months of lockdown and social distancing restrictions.   

Day Two

Delegates were eased into day two with a morning yoga and meditation session organised by volunteers from Imperial College London. The first plenary lecture of the day discussed how to manage our food choices.  Dr Lourdes Santos-Merx, De Montfort University, showed how children learn ideas on body image from a young age and this often stays with them until adulthood. Our next workshop gave an informative overview on top tips for publishing, for all those budding early researchers out there.  Professor Jayne Woodside Honorary Publications Officer, and Katie Henderson, Cambridge University Press, stressed the importance of making a clear decision on the journal you are publishing in, and paying close attention to the author guidelines.  Professor Louise Thomas, University of Westminster, then spoke on Precision Phenotyping and the changing face of nutrition. An excellent talk which gave insight into the advances of MRI in discovering underlying health conditions. 

The lunch break allowed online delegates another networking opportunity through the conference platform, Remo, and lively conversations continued in the lunchroom between those that attended in person.  The popular Career Panel closed the conference with panellist joining in person and online. The panellists were from a range of nutrition professions, including sports nutrition, food industry and research, answered delegate questions and told us about their career journey’s. The Student Section chair, Kiu Sum closed the conference in high spirits and we all said our farewells. 

Thank you again to the Nutrition Society, Imperial College London, Cavendish EventsQuornOatly and Visit Britian for supporting this conference; and most importantly, the delegates for attending. This conference will be my last as the Nutrition Futures Representative for the Student Section and I hope you enjoyed the programme as much as myself and Kiu enjoyed organising it.  

Rachel Moon

View the conference photos