I am a graduate student who is currently working on a project with another student and some professors which will soon lead to the publication of a paper with my name on it. As someone who would like to become an academic, I am obviously very happy about both the opportunity and the paper.
Unfortunately, these professors' area of interest, and the topic of the project, are not something I want to specialize in long-term. While I was happy to work on the project, I would like to somehow pivot to working on projects with other professors in the same department whose areas of interest are more interesting to me.
If possible, I would like to know what other professors in the department are working on and if they are interested in collaborators. If not, I'm interested in what one specific professor is working on since his area of expertise is what I am interested in. We spoke last on friendly terms, but this was more than a year ago, and I do not know what projects he is working on, or if he is looking for collaborators. I am currently studying at a different university and cannot talk to any of them in person.
Is there a way to ask the professors I am collaborating with about who else in their department is looking for collaborators on a project without coming across as rude, ungrateful, or as if I do not value their collaboration, and ideally without jeopardizing my position on future projects with them in the event that I still have time to do so or do not find a project I am more interested in to collaborate on? I have no complaints about working with them: this question is purely a matter of my personal interests.