Collaboration in research is more and more important as the funding models shift towards topics which sit across disciplines and to problems on a scale which require a multi-partner approach. A challenge for researchers is to find potential partners with complementary expertise, an open-minded approach and a curiosity which stretches beyond their own field. Perhaps even more importantly, they also need to be people that you feel energised by and want to spend time with.

crucible-logoResearchers at Edinburgh who are senior postdoctoral fellows, academic fellows or in the early years of a lectureship are eligible to apply for Scottish Crucible – a programme which aims to connect you with a network of potential collaborators, but also offers far more.

The Crucible programme has run across the UK for around 15 years and been particularly successful in Scotland where it launched in 2009. Since then almost 250 researchers have discovered what you can do “when you put your heads together”.

Crucible is one of those programmes which is hard to describe without it sounding a tiny bit like a sinister cult (“it will change the way you think about research”, “it changed my life”, “the people were the best thing about it”) but in short it is designed to create a community of high achieving and innovative researchers who are open to the idea of collaboration and interested in considering their research in a wider societal context.

I’ve been involved since 2005 as a facilitator and I’ll be there this year at the second lab (as they call each residential workshop) in Stirling. Of all the programmes I’ve worked on over the years, Crucible has been one of the most inspiring and prompted me to build my expertise in researcher development for research collaboration.

Applications for Scottish Crucible are open until the end of the month and if you are intrigued by what you read and want to know more, please get in touch – I’d be happy to talk to you about the programme and your application.

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