New partnerships are an essential part of the CGIAR. The ISPC recognizes that these partnerships need to involve not only leading scientists and specialists, but also provide an opportunity for early career scientists (ECS) to participate in the discussion on innovative and forward-looking approaches.

To encourage and recognize the contributions of early career scientists, the ISPC supported the participation of 23 ECS at SF16. The ECS were allocated mentors to introduce them to some of the well-known senior scientists attending the SF and encourage them to participate in the discussions, particularly in the smaller breakout sessions where there were more opportunities for engagement. Most ECS also presented posters at the Knowledge Share Fair and all submitted a report to the ISPC describing their experiences and thoughts.

Following the Forum, there was an opportunity for the ECS to submit a research proposal to the ISPC, which for five resulted in an award to support exchange visits to visit a new partner, with the aim of either writing a paper or a proposal for a joint research project to be submitted to funding bodies.