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C-DICE Sandpit Success: Winning Team Publishes Research Paper

C-DICE Sandpit Success: Winning Team Publishes Research Paper

We are delighted to announce the successful publication of a research paper authored by Dr Marianna Coulentianos (Lecturer in Responsible Design, Loughborough School of Design and Creative Arts) and Dr Will Ward (Teaching Fellow, School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Leicester), who participated in the C-DICE research sandpit “maximising progress towards net-zero in cities and infrastructure industries while promoting convergence to a circular economy” – which focused on net-zero solutions that are compatible with promoting circular economy convergence. 

A research sandpit enables postdoctoral researchers to create collaborative and novel research ideas that are developed via seedcorn funding. Research sandpits have been a core part of the C-DICE programme, with nine individual events hosted so far, each focusing on a key area from the C-DICE themes. The winning team from each of these research sandpits is awarded up to £30k in funding to carry out their research proposal. Along with the funding, winning teams get to manage their own research, including contracting, finance, recruitment as a fully-fledged team.  

The paper, titled ‘An Expert View on Data and Modelling for Planning Domestic Retrofit’ – investigates the experiences and perceptions of data and modelling from professionals working in the planning stages of domestic retrofit, serving as a needs-finding exercise driving retrofit planning. The team was attracted to apply for a C-DICE sandpit as it was a unique opportunity to create networks and pursue their own research independence. They also saw an interesting opportunity to collaborate and work outside of their existing projects.   

Principle Investigator, Dr Will Ward said that the sandpit has enabled a valuable insight into the practical aspects of grant management, such as finances and contracts. The C-DICE award also enabled the team to hire a research assistant, PhD student Danielle Abbey, using the grant funding. 

Speaking about the project, which was her first experience leading a research project as co-I, Dr Marianna said, “I am quite proud of our publication which has stayed true to our interdisciplinary approach and makes a meaningful contribution to the field of retrofit”.  

Professor David Saal (C-DICE Impact Hub Director), stated that the publication resulting from the sandpit is truly gratifying. “Our aim is to foster the development of independent researchers, and we are succeeding in that endeavour.” 

It is a proud moment for C-DICE that we have our first publication from a sandpit, and demonstrates to funders and researcher developers that through carefully moderated opportunities such as sandpits, there is a great deal of value in affording postdoctoral researchers with leadership experience in funded projects in their own right.  

Well done to the team on being our first sandpit publication! 

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