Research Innovation Enterprise

Scottish Crucible | applications open | deadline 13 Feb

Applications are now open for the latest round of the Scottish Crucible.


Richard Kyle, Reader in SHSC

With the deadline of 5pm 13th February fast approaching, in this guest post Dr Richard Kyle, a Reader in our School of Health and Social Care, and a former ‘Cruciblist’ explains what’s involved and what he got out of the opportunity. Over to Richard….


What is Scottish Crucible?

On paper, Scottish Crucible is “a leadership and development programme for Scotland’s research leaders of the future”.  If you read that and think – “Me?! A future research leader? I just do what I do. Sure, I’m good at it, but I’m not a research leader” – then Scottish Crucible is for you!  You see, in reality, Scottish Crucible is a bunch of bright people (like you) all thinking exactly the same thing.  You’ll embark upon a process of learning like nothing else you have experienced.  You’ll be challenged to be creative to reach ideas you didn’t think you’d could grasp.  You will find a laser-sharp focus for your work.  And, most importantly, you will forge connections that will last for years.  Through a series of three ‘labs’ at universities across the country, taking in visits to industry and government en route, you will clarify your thinking through conversations and activities with others just like you, develop ideas that bridge disciplines to tackle the challenges our society faces, and find a renewed sense of your academic purpose and vision that will serve you for the rest of your career.  It’s an overused phrase, but Scottish Crucible is unlike any other “leadership and development programme” you have ever participate in.  You will be changed and challenged by the experience, and emerge confident that you are, indeed, a “research leader of the future” and that you know the steps you need to take to get there.

Why did you apply?

Like so many ‘Cruciblists’, I applied because I was encouraged to.  So often – especially among academics with our tendency to suffer from acute imposter syndrome – it is others who see potential in us with greater clarity than we can see it ourselves.  So, if someone has encouraged you to apply – and I am – I have just one word of advice: apply.  You won’t regret it.

What did you get out of it?

For me, Scottish Crucible gave me a clarity of purpose.  Before Scottish Crucible, I had a tendency to wander through my career.  The ‘lightbulb moment’ for me was when someone, helpfully, pointed out the dual meaning of that word: career.  Before Scottish Crucible I was careering wildly, speeding through my work, but swerving left and right as I did so, with little clear direction.  After Scottish Crucible, I had a focus for my work and decision-making that ensured I was moving forward – maybe no quicker than before – but because I was now going in the right direction I reached my goals much sooner.  Without Scottish Crucible, I doubt I’d be where I am now.  It has been that significant.

Any hints or tips to those thinking of applying?

My number one tip for those thinking of applying is to just go for it.  The fact that you are intrigued about Scottish Crucible and how that opportunity could change you is really important.  Curiosity is the raw ingredient of Scottish Crucible.  Which leads me to tip number two.  When drafting your application think curiously about the sorts of connections that you could forge at the Scottish Crucible.  How could you make connections with artists, industry, scientists, lawyers, nursing academics?  How could sociology, artificial intelligence, space science, physiotherapy link to what you do?  At Scottish Crucible, there is no box to think out of.  Consider who you would like to meet at Crucible and what sorts of connections could spring forth.  Remember, though, that the selection panel are looking to create a melting pot of people with diverse experiences that will spark novel ideas and interdisciplinary projects.  So, in your application you want to be sure to explain what you could offer the Crucible as well as what you hope to gain from it.

When is Scottish Crucible 2018?

Venues and dates for the 2018 Scottish Crucible Labs are:

  • 10 & 11 May 2018 – Heriot-Watt University, Royal Society of Edinburgh & Scottish Parliament
  • 7 & 8 June 2018 – University of Glasgow
  • 28 & 29 June 2018 – Abertay University, Dundee

What next?

If you are feeling inspired and want to put your own application together then have a look at the Scottish Crucible website for guidance on the application process, remembering to get your application in before 5pm 13th February.