Our team is not limited to the investigators and network members. We work with various stakeholders including patients and their families, clinicians, industry experts, policymakers, media and charity organisations from the project outset. We will discuss specific ideas and goals with them. We will receive feedback from them in workshops and co-creation events and through the development process of any products or services.
Sandpits and calls for collaborative research will provide researchers (academics, clinicians, industry) with the opportunity to create new partnerships and with some seed funding allow a feasibility study or translational work to take place. The funding for the Sandpits and calls will be flexible, supporting the proposals that directly promise practical and demonstrable innovations as well as those that pursue adventurous and ambitious research, that is high-risk and high reward. We will encourage the development of technical solutions, provocations or experimental explorations and prototype pre-clinical evaluation, which can provide a path to publication. We plan to hold Sandpit events in Years 1, 2 and 3 (2022, 2023 and 2024).
We will hold workshop(s) for early career researchers, these will introduce various soft but specialised skills, e.g., dealing with MHRA, ethics, end-user engagement, and methodology design. These skills traditionally have remained within larger laboratories with established researchers. To ensure the long-term sustainability of bionics research, it is crucially important that early career researchers have appropriate training opportunities. These events will foster research and innovation career paths including those at the academic/business and interdisciplinary boundaries and facilitate movement of people between sectors.
We will hold a Bionics+ flagship annual conference, this will be the primary vehicle to bring together all members of the community to have their voices heard, present new ideas, and update on progress We will work with learned societies for endorsement which will lead to larger numbers of delegates and greater dissemination. The revenue created by the annual conference will be reinvested into the network activities, ensuring long-term sustainability following the completion of this project. In tandem with this we propose a series of special issue publications in top international journals with a different bionics focus, annually.