A workshop looking at future opportunities for the collaboration between Moredun and University of Glasgow was held in Dunkeld on 7-8th December 2009. A group of 30 scientists from a wide range of different disciplines across the two organisations participated in the workshop which was enthusiastically facilitated by Professor Miles Padgett.
The concept for the workshop was based on a “sandpit” model which encourages free thinking, sharing of ideas, cross disciplinary approaches and innovation. The objectives were to develop new interdisciplinary research groupings between the 2 organisations that would lead to innovative cross cutting research projects.
An initial “speed-dating” session helped break the ice and allowed the participants to meet each other and get a feel for the wide diversity of research interests represented. There then followed several break -out sessions where groups could pursue their chosen areas of collective interest and then report back to the whole workshop for further discussion and re-working of initial ideas. People were encouraged to move around the different groupings and to comment freely on research ideas and discussions continued well into the evening over dinner and a few drinks in the hotel bar.
The various “groups” then developed and refined their ideas for a final presentation to the whole workshop and to review outcomes and decide on the next steps to progress the ideas generated.
Several innovative project areas are currently being developed as a result of the workshop bringing together new groups of researchers between the two organisations. Many of the participants were very positive about the experience:
“I really enjoyed having the time to discuss ideas and get a fresh perspective”.
“We are all so busy these days just keeping up with emails and admin and we rarely get an opportunity to spend time just talking about science and ideas for new research projects. I found the whole experience very inspiring.”
“I found the input from the non-biologists, really interesting as it brought a new dimension and widened the scope of the potential research areas”.