The SWEET Summer School and annual consortium meeting were held in June 2022 in San Sebastian, Spain. Jacco Bastings, PhD student based at Maastricht University and a key contributor to SWEET Work Package 2, commented on the three-day event as a member of the SWEET New Investigators Group.

Jacco said: “In San Sebastian, the SWEET Summer School curriculum was delivered across three days and consisted of informative lectures focussed on a range of novel sweetener-related research generated by each SWEET Work Package. Each day, the Principle Investigators of SWEET Work Packages 1-6 showcased state-of-the-art research developed by each contributing research centre and study site involved in SWEET. The SWEET Summer School was attended online and in-person by SWEET partners, and also by external learners who were interested in different aspects of sweetener research, including the application of sweeteners within foodstuffs; the consumption of sweeteners at individual- and population-level; and the sustainability and environmental impact of different sweetener types.

After each day of the SWEET Summer School, the SWEET consortium convened for the first in-person annual meeting since January 2020. At this meeting, SWEET Work Package leaders presented detailed progress reports on SWEET-related research and attained deliverables to the wider SWEET consortium. Despite unavoidable delays to SWEET activities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, a fascinating body of progress made by the entire project since the last annual SWEET meeting held online in 2021 was showcased. As a young scientist at the beginning of my career, it made me proud to be a part of this team.

Aside from facilitating learning, the SWEET Summer School and accompanying consortium meetings were excellent opportunities to network and discuss findings with other European partners interested in sweeteners, working across both industry and research. Convening as a consortium in Spain was particularly valuable as it meant the SWEET New Investigators Group could assemble in-person for the first time after having monthly virtual meetings since 2021. I look forward to sharing updated research findings and learning from other experts in the field of sweetener research at our next annual consortium meeting.”

The next and last SWEET consortium meeting is scheduled for September 2023.