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5 Reasons Why Postdocs Should Participate in a Research Sandpit

5 Reasons Why Postdocs Should Participate in a Research Sandpit

A C-DICE research sandpit is an opportunity for postdoctoral researchers to learn how to create high quality research proposals with expert guidance, and then apply what they have learnt to create a research proposal as part of an interdisciplinary team. At the end of each sandpit, the team with the best research proposal can win up to £30k in funding to pursue the research independently. 

Because research sandpits are a significant investment of time, you might be wondering why you should take time out from your research to participate in one. Here are five reasons why: 

  1. Learn how to create a quality research proposal 

The initial sessions of a research sandpit are interactive, classroom style sessions that introduce sandpit participants to the essentials of creating a research proposal, how funding bodies operate – and how you can best use this information to your advantage when applying for funding. 

You can read more about the individual sessions that take place in our blog explaining how sandpits are run. 

  1. Demonstrate your research independence 

Demonstrating that you can work independently on your own research is CV gold if you are seeking an academic position. Winning a C-DICE sandpit will provide evidence that you can secure funding and run a project as a PI/Co-I and not just a researcher. A number of previous sandpit winners have credited their sandpit experience in securing academic roles and fellowships.  

  1. Net zero needs a multidisciplinary approach 

Transitioning to net zero carbon is one of the biggest challenges today and many solutions will not be from single disciplines but will be multidisciplinary. As such, creating and working in multidisciplinary teams will be a key skill that can be developed and evidenced by participating in a C-DICE sandpit – an absolutely essential skill in all large funded projects.

  1. Pivot your research toward the Net Zero Agenda 

As mentioned previously, achieving net zero carbon will require multidisciplinary teams to find solutions. Teams will include economists, engineers, geographers, sociologists, chemists, modellers, programmers, meteorologists, and so on! Your current research may not be in net zero, but your skills may well be applicable. A C-DICE sandpit enables researchers to widen their portfolio enabling more ways to apply your skills.  

  1. The odds of winning funding are in your favour 

As a postdoc there are very few places where you can get research funding and the C-DICE sandpit is exclusively for postdocs. As such, the number of eligible participants is considerably smaller compared to the average UKRI funding call, this means a higher chance for you to win.  

Therefore, participating in a research sandpit can be a transformative experience for postdocs, offering opportunities for collaboration, and professional growth. Postdoctoral researchers from all different backgrounds are welcome – expertise in the sandpit theme is not important, your skills are. 

We are currently accepting applications for the final two C-DICE research sandpits – so this is the last chance to secure funding! Find out all the details about the Towards Net Zero in the Water Industry Sandpit and the Small Modular Reactors in Communities Sandpit here. If you’re interested in participating and still have more questions, you can join our upcoming information webinar to ask questions about how a research sandpit can benefit your postdoc journey or contact us directly at enquiries@cdice.ac.uk 

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