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Research Sandpits

What is a C-DICE research sandpit?

A research sandpit is an interactive workshop, creating teams of postdoctoral researchers to develop a collaborative research proposal – with an opportunity to win up to £30k in funding.

A sandpit creates networks of exclusively postdoctoral researchers to generate collaborative research ideas that can be further developed via seedcorn funding. Awards of up to £30K are available for the best proposals developed during each sandpit. By participating, postdocs can learn how to create high quality research proposals as part of an interdisciplinary team.

It is an exciting new way of solving real-world problems and developing research ideas and solutions. The C-DICE sandpit also provides a unique opportunity for postdoctoral researchers to acquire multidisciplinary and cross-sector skills and expertise; learn how to shape a tractable and fundable research project; work collaboratively, and write and develop a funding proposal.

C-DICE will be running at least 8 individual sandpits with themes to progress towards a net zero-carbon society around infrastructure, cities, and energy. If you want to know more about what happens during a sandpit, read our blog that explains the typical process!

Current Sandpits

There are currently no sandpits accepting applications. Sign up for the C-DICE Newsletter to stay updated with the latest opportunities.

Ongoing Sandpits

Why you should participate

Sandpits are an opportunity for postdoctoral researchers to learn how to create high quality research proposals that will be able to receive further seedcorn funding. As C-DICE sandpits offer the opportunity to shape the research question for each sandpit, there is no requirement for the researcher to be an expert in the subject area of the sandpit topic. In addition to working with other postdoctoral researchers to develop a proposal, a sandpit also includes expert guidance and mentoring from C-DICE colleagues and industry partners.

The objectives of the C-DICE sandpit are to:

  • Enable researchers to develop interdisciplinary, creative and innovative solutions to a problem.
  • Develop in teams a proposal for using the seedcorn funding.
  • Propose topics, deliver plans and/or a final product, and plan for future direction.
  • Provide developmental opportunities for postdoctoral researchers whilst addressing ‘real-world’ problems and leading to ‘real-world’ outcomes.
  • Benefit from peer-review to develop the quality of the projects.
  • Develop participants’ research skills, in particular project development, collaboration and applying for funding.

Create a Sandpit

Industry/academics who would like to get involved

Do you have an interesting research problem that could be investigated by the best of the UK’s research talent? Is there an issue that you don’t have the capacity to investigate but could unlock or resolve an industrial problem? The C-DICE sandpit is proving to be a novel and exciting new way of solving problems and developing research ideas and solutions.

C-DICE are currently seeking industrial collaborators with research problems for forthcoming sandpits in 2023 and 2024. If you have an idea for a sandpit, contact us for further information on how to get involved.

There are also opportunities for academics and project leaders to join in the C-DICE sandpits as mentors, stakeholders and peer reviewers. Contact us if you would like to find out more.

Support for Participants

If you are interested in participating in a research sandpit, C-DICE can support you through our travel grant and caring support fund. There are also additional recommended online webinars for participants that are essential for the process of creating their research proposal. Find out more below: