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The sandpit event – process and people

A sandpit is an intensive, interactive and free-thinking environment, where a diverse group of participants from a range of disciplines and backgrounds get together – away from their everyday worlds – to immerse themselves in collaborative thinking processes in order to construct innovative approaches.

The process can be broken down into several stages:

  • Defining the scope of the challenges.
  • Evolving common languages and terminologies amongst people from a diverse range of backgrounds and disciplines.
  • Sharing understanding of the challenges, and the expertise brought by the participants to the sandpit.
  • Taking part in break-out sessions focused on the challenges, using creative thinking techniques.
  • Capturing the outputs in the form of highly innovative research projects.
  • A funding decision on those projects at the sandpit using “real-time” peer review.

“Who do you think you are?” will be an intensive event which will include inputs from a variety of sources. For the well-being of participants, the venue offers opportunities for relaxation, and the timetable will include networking and other activities as a break from the detailed technical discussions.

The sandpit will be split into two stages, separated by a week. In the first three-day session participants will develop background knowledge and identify potential research challenges. Following a short break to allow participants a chance to gather further relevant information, in the second three-day session participants will build up thoughts on how the challenges may be addressed and develop their innovative ideas and activities into research projects.

Professor Chris Hankin, Director of the Institute for Security Science and Technology at Imperial College London, will be the sandpit's Director. As Director he will assist in defining the topics and help to facilitate discussions at the event. The Director will be joined by a small number of Mentors who will have a similarly active role in the sandpit. The Director and Mentors will act as impartial peer reviewers in the process and will not be eligible to receive research funding.



Alex Hulkes