Training young researchers to become highly-skilled leaders in developmental science is one of the major aims in SAPIENS. Our philosophy of ESR (Early Stage Researcher) training mirrors our scientific approach. ESRs will co-develop their expertise in the context of engagement in both research and training with their mentors, increasingly developing their independence and autonomy. This will prepare the ESRs for future work in diverse institutional environments (academia, SMEs, public service, NGOs) along a variety of career paths including basic research, clinical translation, applied technology, and public policy. Training in SAPIENS is provided on a local and network-wide level. On a local level, ESRs will benefit from individual supervision and local graduate training, focused on basic research skills and strengthened by cross-site supervision, where possible. Each ESR will compose a Career Development Plan, which will specify training within the three domains to the requirements of his or her research project. On a network-wide level multiple activities will be organized in which ESRs and experts collaboratively improve skills and generate new knowledge: regular training schools, monthy webinars, and secondments with SME and NGO partners to maximise the potential for effective communication and engagement of stakeholders.

I SAPIENS Training: Utrecht, November 2019

At the beginning of November, the 13 ESRs that had been recruited by that time gathered in Utrecht for their first training school. Topics included best practices for Open Science, and different approaches to studying the development of social interaction. The ESRs also participated in various social events to get to know each other.

II SAPIENS Training: Uppsala, June 2020 (Online)

In the second week of June 2020, all the 15 ESRs gathered again to do their second training school. The event which was scheduled to be held in Uppsala, Sweden had to be conducted online due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, the online marathon meeting proceeded quite intensively with courses and workshops covering various topics ranging from eye-tracking, to EEG, to parent-child interaction (PCI). At the end of the training school, a mid-year meeting with an EU Commissioner responsible to oversee the MSCA SAPIENS project was held, where the ESRs presented the progress
of their respective PhD work.

III SAPIENS Training: Warsaw, November 2020 (Online)

During the training school, the ESRs learned about advances analyses on longitudinal data and had a discussion with PI’s on general themes in academia/doing a PhD, and practiced presentation skills within the work-packages.

IV SAPIENS Training: Rome, May-June 2021 (Online)

The Rome training school was held online and focused on individual differences in social interaction. During the training school, the ESRS learned about developmental processes related to individual differences, with a focus on social, vocal, and motor development. ESRs received training in diagnosing children who differ substantially from others (e.g. those with ASD). They had a hands-on training on computational modelling and connecting multiple data sets and longitudinal analysis. They discussed the issues of co-morbidity; globalization; representation in research: how to generalize research across contexts; and validation of measures across populations.

V SAPIENS Training: London, November 2021 (Hybrid)

During the training school, the ESRs learned about about real-time and longitudinal analysis and modelling, and about research for the clinical and educational field. Furthermore, they discuss about their projects with their peers and PIs.

VI SAPIENS Training: Nijmegen, June 2022 (In Person)

The 6th and final training school took place in person at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. During the training school, the ESRs had the opportunity to present their prelminary results of their projects to work package leaders, to prepare themselves for their future careers in multiple workshops related to career development, and to learn more about public engagement in workshops organized by Babybrains.