At lunch, the participants seemed lighter, relieved. Their 10-minute final pitches for funding behind them, the weight of the week’s work had been shed. There was nothing to do but wait for the assessment team to finish their deliberations and in the meantime get a bite to eat and socialise with the others in the group, new colleagues who just four days ago were perfect strangers. This is what Fridays are like at a Sandpit.
Last week, 27 people assembled at a conference hotel in Bath Spa, UK, to try their luck at getting funding to do research on user-centered design for energy efficiency in buildings. Their backgrounds were varied; a deliberate attempt was made to invite participants from a broad spectrum of academic and business backgrounds. Participants applied to attend, which means they were prepared to clear a five full days from their schedules and throw their lots in with a group of people they didn’t know, but with whom they’d have to partner in order to get funded. The amount of money on the table: up to 2 million sterling. Keep reading »