21 - 22nd November 2022

Royce PhD Research Sandpit 2022

Date :
21 November 2022 - 22 November 2022
Time :
9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Location :
Royce Hub Buildiing
Event Type :
Research Sandpit

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From 21 – 22 November, the Henry Royce Institute (Royce) will host a PhD Student Research Sandpit at its flagship Royce Hub building at the University of Manchester.

The event will provide a chance for PhD students to connect with peers working in materials science disciplines and experience a ‘sandpit’ format often used by research councils and funders to stimulate new lines of thinking for tackling complex research challenges. Participants will be tasked with exploring a set scientific topic, working within a team to identify the challenges faced within the application area, and then exercising their own expertise to devise novel proposals and solutions. These intensive proposal-forming environments encourage the creation of new collaborations, identification of barriers to success and mitigation of conflicting approaches.

This event offers a chance for PhD students to experience the research sandpit format, meet with their peers from the materials science community and work together on solving a challenging problem that exists within the discipline.

This PhD Sandpit is presented in collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). The event will focus on the topic of metrology within materials science. Throughout the sandpit, participants will work on a “Grand Challenge”, drawing on their own expertise to apply the science of measurement to a real-world problem. Whilst the broad theme is metrology, the actual challenge posed will be revealed at the event to encourage innovative thought, open-minded solutions, and drawing on knowledge from across a range of materials science disciplines.

Participants will work in small groups, learning how to tackle the challenge as a team in order to respond to the Grand Challenge. At the end of the sandpit, groups will have devised a proposal which summaries their work in the research challenge. This will be presented to a panel of expert judges who will appraise the ideas and offer feedback on the proposal.

Read more about a previous Royce Virtual Research Sandpit event here.


Applicants will be current PhD students from across the UK materials science community. Students will bring a broad range of skills and scientific expertise to the event, allowing them to challenge their own knowledge and develop new perspectives in collaboration with their peers. Previous events have seen participants from backgrounds in physics, chemistry, maths, biology and healthcare, electronic and mechanical engineering, and textiles design attend and work together on a diverse range of materials science problems.


During the event participants will:

· Explore a real life “Grand Challenge” in materials science

· Work in teams and across disciplines to broaden their research horizons

· Develop new systematic approaches to thinking and problem solving

· Receive mentoring and guidance from Royce and NPL staff, as well as experts from the Grand Challenge field


There are a total of 25 places available at the event.

Please complete the online application form. Participants will be selected on the quality of their written statement and to ensure a mix of scientific backgrounds and host institution. Applications will close at 00:00pm, Sunday 6th November 2022. Responses will be sent out at/or before 14:00 on Monday 7th November.

Apply now

Please contact engagement@royce.ac.uk with any enquiries.