Facilitating collaboration, driving innovation

Our main networking events, which aim to help potential partners meet in person and begin to work together, will be held in Newcastle at the Catalyst Building on 27th February and at the Digital Catapult in London on 6th March. These are all-day ‘sandpit’ events designed to bring together partners from across the Not-Equal network, to facilitate collaborations, drive innovation and lay the foundations for potential research projects.

What is a sandpit?

Sandpits are interactive workshops involving 20-30 participants: the director, a team of expert mentors, and a number of independent stakeholders. Sandpits have a highly multidisciplinary mix of participants – some active researchers and other potential users of research outcomes – to drive lateral thinking and radical approaches in order to address research challenges. The director defines the topic and facilitates discussions at the event.

A Sandpit is an intensive discussion forum where free thinking is encouraged, allowing the stakeholders to delve into the problems on the agenda to uncover innovative solutions. Due to group dynamics and continual evaluation, it is not possible to ‘dip in and out’ of the process and participants should stay for the whole duration of the event.

Usually a sandpit is a five-day event. However for our purposes, the process is abridged to one day, although it will follow the same guiding principles:

  • Defining the scope of the issue
  • Agreeing a common language and terminology amongst diverse backgrounds and disciplines.
  • Sharing understanding of the problem using participants’ expertise.
  • Using creative and innovative thinking techniques in break-out sessions to focus on a problem.
  • Turning Sandpit outputs into research projects

Possible outcomes

Outcomes are not pre-determined, but are defined during the sandpit.

Although it is hoped that some of the Sandpit outputs will become research proposals based on Not-Equal’s challenge areas and themes, it may be that they lead to events run through our Open Events programme, or to other collaborative projects.

Sign up here!

Newcastle Not-Equal Sandpit,
London Not-Equal Sandpit

Travel and accommodation can be provided on a first come first served basis for non-academics, early career researchers and post-docs. To make arrangements please email notequal@newcastle.ac.uk