Heriot-Watt Crucible IV champions interdisciplinary collaboration

The fourth Heriot-Watt Crucible programme to run in the past two years ended last month with the promise of a wealth of new interdisciplinary collaborations being forged between researchers from the four Edinburgh-based research centres specially chosen to take part.

Heriot-Watt Crucible IV

Early career stage academics from Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh were joined by colleagues from the Moredun Research Institute and industry partner, SELEX Galileo on Heriot-Watt Crucible IV - an intensive academic leadership development programme for "research leaders of the future". Following their initial meeting in October 2012, the HW Crucible IV participants undertook a series of workshops hosted by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Scottish Parliament, the British Council, Heriot-Watt's School of Textiles and Design, Edinburgh Zoo, Our Dynamic Earth and the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh. Engaging with numerous experts from academia, industry, media and government, the group explored building collaborations that would maximise their interdisciplinarity, innovation and impact.

At the end of the 3 month programme, participants were challenged to formulate novel proposals for interdisciplinary projects which they went on to pitch to a high-level panel including the Principal of Heriot-Watt University, Professor Steve Chapman, BBC Radio 4 broadcaster, Mr Quentin Cooper, and PGS  and Royal Academy of Engineering Research Professor of Petroleum Geoscience, Professor Anton Ziolkowski of Edinburgh University.

The winning team

The winning team of 'Cruciblists' at the final event - Heriot-Watt University researchers, Dr Jonathan Leach, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences and Dr Alan Lindsay, School of Mathematical  and Computer Sciences and University of Edinburgh researchers, Dr Adam Kirrander, School of Chemistry and Dr Andrew Turner of EPCC - aimed to combine quantum physics, probability theory and high powered computing to create a 'quantum camera', a single pixel camera capable of imaging quantum states. Dr Kirrander, a newly appointed Edinburgh University 'Chancellor's Fellow' from Harvard, USA commented that Heriot-Watt Crucible provided "a really good introduction to everything that makes Scotland tick, which was very helpful for a newcomer like me".


Heriot-Watt Crucible aims to help participants develop skills knowledge and connections to enhance their innovative research capacity and impact through interdisciplinary collaborations and knowledge transfer. It is designed by Dr Ruth Neiland, Head of Academic Enhancement and Professor Alan Miller, Deputy Principal, Research and KT, Heriot-Watt University and based on their award-winning Scottish Crucible programme. Heriot-Watt Crucible is principally funded via Heriot-Watt's 'Converge' initiative, and Heriot-Watt Crucible V will be launched at the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 24 January 2013.