Two Town Meetings have been held:

  • Imperial College, London (22nd April 2016)
  • Cockcroft Institute, Warrington, Cheshire (27th April 2016).

In total, 130 people attended across the two events, with about one third coming from the clinical community.

As well as a mix of keynote lectures from the STFC and clincial communities, these meetings also provided an opportunity for the community to decide on the subjects for the subsequent ‘Grand Challenge Sandpit events‘. The Grand Challenge Sandpits are designed to pump-prime collaborations between the STFC and the clinical community.  Collaborative projects from the selected Sandpits will be supported by a small amount of funding (each Sandpit will have about £100k to distribute).

Those with ideas for potential sandpits were invited to give a 2 minute elevator pitch at the Town meetings . Thirteen elevator pitches were presented.  Attendees at the meetings were asked to vote for the pitch they considered addressed an area which had a research need and a clinical pull. There were two clear winners. There were four other ideas which are competing for the 3rd sandpit meeting and we will give these £2k to organise a meeting and bring together a community. They will then pitch their ideas at a future Network+ meeting and the community will decide the outcome.

With many thanks to all the presenters and attendees for making the Town Meetings a success. There seemed to be a general desire to get to know each other, to share and discuss ideas and identify ways to collaborate. The elevator pitches for potential sandpits seemed to work well and a number of people commented that they liked the way the Network+ was seeking to engage its communities and involve them in the way the money was spent.