We are just about to launch our new Crucible scheme – where we get a whole load of researchers together and see what sparks fly.
Our new programme is called Carbon Crucible and focuses on sustainable eneregy. The project is a collaboraiton with the
UK Energy Research Centre(UKERC) to foster interdisciplinary collaboration onthe big issues in energy research, such as demand reduction and environmentalsustainability.
The new programme differs from NESTAs own Crucible programme in that it has a focus on a particular topic rather than just looking for new innovation and knowledge from a serendipidous meeting of minds.
We have been thinking about the difference between the two programme as comparable to the difference between ‘work’ and ‘play’. Carbon Crucible is the ‘work’ model, with its focused topic. It will, we hope, provide a serious mechanism for projects to be created across disciplines in areas of research that are calling out for cross-disciplinary collaboration.
NESTA Crucible on the other hand, can seem more like ‘play’ as any collaborations formed are a result of ideas that are developed within a totally open framework with no particular research agenda. It will be very interesting to see how these differences affect the outcomes. I am wondering whether a structure based on play could in the end provide more of those precious creative sparks that arise out of diversity.