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Press release

  • 5 December 2007

Would like to meet . . . wise men and women with bright ideas

University of Sussex: Stocking up on ideas

University of Sussex: Stocking up on ideas

Matchmakers at the University of Sussex are looking to pair up perfect partners who can create exciting new research projects for 2008.

More than 250 academics at the University have signed up for a festive get-together next week (Tuesday 11 December), when they will be able to speed-date their perfect research mates in other subjects.

The evening, described as a Christmas Stocking event, aims to encourage collaboration between different departments that could lead to exciting new innovations or projects.

To help researchers make that first move, the University is offering four prizes of £4,000 each to the best collaborative research proposals that spring from the event. True to the interdisciplinary spirit of Sussex, however, it is expected that the evening will lead to far more new and novel joint research projects.

Researchers were invited to fill in an online form outlining their areas of research interest and expertise and then given the opportunity to select potential 'dates' from the list of other invitees. The researchers cover areas as diverse as cancer, climate change, child development, space exploration, terrorism, conservation and poverty.

As well as meeting some of their choices in speed-dating sessions held during the evening, researchers may also be able to "blind date" other invitees. There will also be the chance to follow up others after the event by placing contact stickers on a "lonely hearts" board of all the researchers taking part.

The event is being organised by sociologist Dr Adam Hedgecoe, biologist Dr Fergus Massey and cell-biologist Sarah Newbury from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, in conjunction with the University's Regional Development Office. It is backed by Professor Bob Allison, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for research at the University.

Professor Allison said: "We hope the event will be hugely enjoyable for all involved on the night. The aim is to raise awareness of the breadth and depth of research in all subject areas across campus and explore how fellow academics in sciences and the arts might work together. We hope to see some meaningful new relationships blossoming across campus in 2008."

Participants will have until 20 January 2008 to present their ideas, which must satisfy three criteria to be considered for a prize. They are:

  • Research excellence;
  • Involvement of researchers from two or more University schools;
  • Potential for grant applications for multi-disciplinary research grants.

The winners will also be expected to produce a progress report after one year.

Notes for editors

The Research Christmas Stocking event is on Tuesday, 11 December, from 5.30pm to 8pm at the Conference Centre, Bramber House, at the University of Sussex campus in Falmer.

For further information, see:

If you would like to know more about research at Sussex, see research

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune or Jacqui Bealing. Tel: 01273 678 888 or email



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