BBSRC new investigator and Chancellor’s Fellow

 Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh

I participated Scottish Crucible in 2016, met the brilliant crucible peers, and learned further about science communication and collaboration through the 3 workshops/labs. It was a positive experience with intellectual rewards and challenges. The challenges came from recognising the barriers for promoting and simplifying complex research concepts and building collaboration with widely diverse research fields. The rewards came after the barriers were taken down little by little.

With Drs Sandy Brownlee, Suk-Jun Kim, and Stella Chan from the Crucible, we built a truly inter-disciplinary collaboration, encompassing computer science, acoustic art, psychology, and brain science. The project was funded by the Crucible award which also provided training opportunities for PhD and undergraduate students. Results were presented (title: Crowd-sourcing the aural identities of places by evolutionary optimisation) in the Crucible Forum.

A second collaboration stemmed from discussion with Drs Linda Ferrington, Melanie Stefan, and Karen Meyer. New ideas were developed to combine games and advanced research in cognitive science to improve learning difficult concepts in higher education. The collaboration was showcased in British Psychological Society and the Society of Experimental Biology conferences.

My research also benefits from the Scottish Crucible experience. I have since secured a BBSRC new investigator grant (£480k), a BBSRC international partnership grant (£25k), and a prestigious senior research fellowship (£420k) from Alzheimer’s Research UK. More recently, my participation with the Dementia Buddy Scheme, initiated by Dr Chris Henstridge (2018 Crucible) and Edinburgh Dementia Research Institute, was reported by Mr Ken Macdonald (Crucible speaker), aired in BBC News and published online (

Finally, I would like to thank Prof Alan Miller, Dr Ruth Neiland, the Crucible team, and the funders for organising and supporting this wonderful programme.