The seventh Heriot-Watt Crucible programme designed and led by the Centre for Academic Leadership & Development (ALD) has ended this month with a wealth of new interdisciplinary research collaborations set to flourish between researchers from the five Edinburgh-based research centres specially nominated to take part.
Heriot-Watt Crucible VII
Academic researchers from Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh were joined by colleagues from the British Geological Survey, Moredun Research Institute and high–tech company, Selex ES on Heriot-Watt Crucible VII – an intensive leadership and development programme for “research leaders of the future”.
Following their initial meeting in January 2015, Heriot-Watt Crucible VII participants undertook a series of workshops hosted by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Scottish Parliament, Heriot-Watt’s School of Textiles & Design, Moredun Research Institute, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, and Our Dynamic Earth. Engaging with numerous experts from academia, industry, media and government, the group explored building diverse collaborations to address cross-disciplinary research questions and maximise their innovative potential.
Interdisciplinary research projects
At the end of the three-month programme, participants were challenged to formulate novel proposals for interdisciplinary research projects which they went on to pitch to a high-level panel including Professor Alan Miller, former Deputy Principal for Research & KT, and Professor Umit Bititci, Professor of Business Performance, Heriot-Watt University; Professor Ian Underwood, Head of the Institute of Integrated Micro and Nano Systems, University of Edinburgh; and Principal Scientist and Director of Communications, Professor Lee Innes MBE, Moredun Research Institute. The panel was chaired by BBC Radio 4 science broadcaster, Quentin Cooper.
The winning Crucible team brought together researchers from Heriot-Watt University (Dr Jessica Chen-Burger, School of Mathematical & Computer Sciences and Dr Catherine Porter, School of Management & Languages), University of Edinburgh (Dr Bryne Ngwenya, School of Geosciences) and Moredun Research Institute (Dr Beth Wells). Their project comprised a new methodology to detect and destroy waterborne parasite, Cryptosporidium, which has the potential to significantly reduce levels of childhood mortality in developing countries. Commenting on the winning Crucible project, Professor Lee Innes said; “The panel were greatly impressed with this project due to the potential impact of finding a practical solution to help combat cryptosporidiosis which is a significant global public health issue. We also appreciated the inter-disciplinarity of the project team bringing together diverse skills and approaches”.
The successful completion of Heriot-Watt Crucible VII was celebrated with a networking reception at the Tropical Rain Forest gallery in Our Dynamic Earth. Participants were joined by guests including the outgoing Heriot-Watt University Principal, Professor Steve Chapman and the new Scientific Director of Our Dynamic Earth, Dr Hermione Cockburn as well as by Alumni from previous Heriot-Watt Crucible programmes.
Dr Ruth Neiland, Head of the Centre for Academic Leadership & Development said, “The Heriot-Watt Crucible VII participants now join a growing Crucible Alumni Network of over 200 researchers from Heriot-Watt University and our institutional research partners, all of whom have demonstrated their creativity and ambition in developing new interdisciplinary research collaborations. We anticipate that many more sustainable research programmes will emerge from these researchers and their new networks in the future.”
More information about Heriot-Watt Crucible can be found here.