The Future of Food & Nutrition Research: Public Health Showcase

Public Health Association Australia x Dr Courtney Thompson

I had the pleasure of speaking at a satellite event hosted by Public Health Association Australia on the future of food and nutrition research and advocacy in Australia. Alongside me was students and young professionals in the Public Health Committee, Kevin Mao, Sayal Prasad, Sarah Gandolfo and Alexandra Procter. As well as Cherie Russel the Food and Nutrition Special Interest Group Executive.

The showcase stemmed from the need to highlight and include students and young professionals in conversations about the future of food.  Events for students and young professionals are integral for promoting networking and opportunity sharing across research and advocacy for food systems transformation. While at conferences, networking opportunities have traditionally been available, but students and young professionals are less likely to attend them due to apprehension surrounding asking questions and engaging in discussions in a varied environment among more senior academics.

To read more about navigating a career in food systems, click HERE.


The speakers shared their best pieces of advice for navigating a career in the food systems sector.  These responses covered aspects applicable to undergraduate or postgraduate studies, and career opportunities.  Below is a collation of advice given at the showcase:

  • Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to ask for help or guidance when needed. Being brave enough to seek support can be crucial in navigating challenges.
  • Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself, especially when learning new skills or taking on more significant responsibilities. Acknowledge your efforts and give yourself grace during the learning process.
  • Network Building: Cultivate a network of supervisors, mentors, and peers who can support and advocate for you. These connections can offer valuable opportunities for growth and advancement.
  • Focus on Your Niche: Identify your area of interest within the food systems sector and concentrate your efforts on a few select opportunities. Quality over quantity can lead to more meaningful experiences and achievements.
  • Manage Expectations: Recognise that you can’t do everything and that it’s okay to prioritize your well-being. Resetting academic culture involves understanding your limitations and focusing on what truly matters to you.
  • Seize Opportunities Wisely: Embrace opportunities that align with your goals and interests while staying connected with relevant networks and resources.
  • Find Passion in Your Work: Pursue projects and research that ignite your passion. Enjoying what you do can make the journey more fulfilling and rewarding.
  • Keep a Long-Term Perspective: Stay engaged with advocacy efforts and grassroots issues in the community. Remembering the bigger picture can provide motivation and purpose throughout your career.
  • Seek Peer Support: Connect with peers, supervisors, and colleagues to share experiences and gain perspective. Knowing that others face similar challenges can be reassuring and help you stay focused on your goals.

These pieces of advice underscore the importance of seeking support, maintaining self-compassion, building networks, and pursuing meaningful opportunities in the food systems sector. Encouraging similar conversations among students and young professionals at future events can further enhance career development and professional growth in the field.

Want to know more? Explore our “For Organisation” Hub to discover the publications, case studies and media NPR Consulting has advised on.

Dr Courtney Stewart (RNutr, FHEA)

BNutrSc, BBiomedSc(Hons), PhD
Director, NPR Consulting

Join our mailing list for monthly health and nutrition insights