Meeting of Minds at Top Research Event as Experts Pool Knowledge to Help Wider World; Welsh Crucible Is a Programme of Personal, Professional and Leadership Development Which Brings Together 30 of Wales' Most Promising Researchers to Encourage the Development of Novel and Sustainable Multi-Disciplinary Ideas and Collaborations. Here, Prof Peter Halligan and Dr Sara Williams Outline the Programme's Objectives

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WHAT do you get if you put a physicist in a room with a psychologist, an engineer with a lawyer, or a microbiologist with a statistician? This summer, for the second year, Welsh Crucible took thirty of Wales's up-and-coming research stars and asked them to start thinking of ways they could work together to use their research to improve our health, our economy and the environment we live in.

Welsh Crucible provides participants with the opportunity to get to know about the work and academic disciplines of others.

The success of last year's Welsh Crucible made it clear that this is an effective way of getting researchers to work together on projects that will ultimately benefit Wales and the wider world.

As previously reported in the Western Mail, participants on the 2011 programme are now working together on a wide range of projects.

These include tackling obesity in Wales, harvesting energy from the sea, modelling the effects of climate change, engaging with young people who are not in employment, education or training and looking at how laboratories can reduce their waste to developing a 'smart pill' that will send out information to doctors about a patient's digestive system.

As well as providing an environment for researchers from different backgrounds to work together, Welsh Crucible encourages participants to think about who and what their research is for, and helps them to improve the skills that make them effective researchers.

An independent study of the 2011 programme showed a significant change in the attitudes of the participants after taking part, with the majority of participants reporting an improvement in their capacity to innovate and collaborate. The 2011 Welsh Crucible made it clear that there is a large number of talented researchers in Wales looking to work with researchers from other subject areas.

There is a great deal of exciting and innovative research taking place across Wales, research that is notable for both its depth and its breadth.

In its first year the programme received 80 high-quality applications for 30 places - that's almost three applications for each place. …