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Virtual Event | Part-time | 29 November - 8 December

PhD Student Research Sandpit

Date :
29 November 2021 - 08 December 2021
Time :
All Day
Event Type :
Research Sandpit

The PhD Research Sandpit offers doctoral students the chance to experience the ‘Research Sandpit’ format often used by research councils and funders to stimulate and support new lines of thinking for tackling complex research challenges.

The Royce Student Sandpit experience is a reflection of the Research Sandpit format typically used to design and fund large-scale proposals, where academics are brought together in an intensive proposal-creating environment. Alongside giving an insight into the Sandpit format, the workshop also gives participants first-hand experience of the opportunities and challenges that arise during the process of establishing a new research collaboration, plus the need to manage conflicting priorities. This is a great opportunity to meet and work with students from across the materials science community on a genuinely challenging problem.

Delegates will work in teams of students from across the materials community to develop new ideas for addressing a Grand Challenge in Materials Science, ending with a short written proposal. This event’s Grand Challenge will be revealed at the beginning of the event to encourage innovative thought and an open minded approach.

The event will take place virtually and part-time, with limited scheduled events, and can easily be managed alongside a doctoral research workload.

At the end of the workshop, each team will submit a short written proposal capturing their ideas for tackling the Challenge, and then present their ideas to a distinguished review panel who will give detailed feedback.

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




Delegates will be doctoral candidates from across the UK materials science community, bringing together a broad range of skills to create fresh perspectives. Previous participants have been students from subjects such as physics, chemistry, maths, electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, materials, and textiles design.


  • Tackle a real Grand Challenge in Materials Science
  • Work in teams, across disciplines to broaden students’ research horizons and thinking skills
  • Learn new systematic approaches to problem solving
  • Receive mentoring from Royce staff and expert stakeholders from the Grand Challenge field.
  • Glowing student feedback from previous sandpit events

There are 24 places available at the Royce PhD Research Sandpit.

To apply, please complete the application form and send it to

Applicants will be selected based on the quality of their application and so as to achieve a blend of disciplines and backgrounds for the event.

Your application makes you eligible to be selected for further events of this kind as different challenge areas are chosen. We will keep your information and contact you as they arise.

Applications must be received by 00:00, 7 November 2021.

To enquire about the PhD Research Sandpit, please contact