Future Human Academia-Industry Sandpit

£15,000 seedcorn funding available to support academia-industry teams formed at the Future Human Industry-Academia Sandpit

We are pleased to invite participants to attend a face-to-face ‘sandpit’ on the use of Human Augmentation (HA) tools, techniques, and technologies to optimise, enhance, or restore human function in the areas of health, everyday life, work, and elite/occupational performance.

The sandpit is funded by the University of Kent’s Future Human Signature Research Theme.

Participants from academia (from the University of Kent) and industry, Third Sector and healthcare that represent a diverse range of domains/fields are encouraged to apply. The sandpit will include inputs from a variety of sources and will seek innovative propositions for the use of HA in different areas of life/society.

The two-day multi-disciplinary sandpit event will bring together 30-35 participants who represent a variety of disciplines underpinning HA.

Dates: Wednesday 1st March – Thursday 2nd March 2023.

Location: University of Kent, Canterbury Campus, CT2 7NZ .

Meals and refreshments will be provided for sandpit participants. Accommodation for overnight stays on the 28th and 1st can be arranged if required. Participants will need to fund their own travel to and from the sandpit.

Funding will be made available to support research/implementation of projects arising from this sandpit. A total funding pot of £15,000 is available, for which teams formed at the sandpit can apply for. Attendance of the sandpit does not guarantee funding. Where funding is received, it must be spent by July 31st 2023.


Expressions of interest (EOI) to attend should be submitted on the digital form found on this link – https://kentsspssr.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2lWRUdErScDZwb4


The deadline for EOIs to be submitted is 4pm on Monday 23rd January 2023.

EOIs will be taken to indicate participant availability and commitment to attend the sandpit if short-listed.


What we’re looking for

Future Human is one of Kent’s three Signature Research Themes (SRTs), which were officially launched in September 2021. Future Human is about research and innovation that concerns Human Augmentation – the application of science and technology to improve human performance or function either temporarily or permanently. Human Augmentation is usually thought of in terms of pushing the boundaries of performance, but it can also involve restoration of impaired function. For example, a method or technology that alleviates tiredness or reduces the speed at which it occurs. Further details about Future Human can be found on the separate ‘Sandpit Overview’ document.

The sandpit will be held Wednesday 1st March – Thursday 2nd March 2023. The sandpit will be an intensive, interactive, and free-thinking environment. A diverse group of participants from a range of disciplines and backgrounds will get together for two days, away from their everyday worlds, to immerse themselves in collaborative thinking processes.

The sandpit will be led by the Future Human Theme Leads. Their role will be to assist participants in defining and exploring challenges in this area.

Participants should be able to apply their knowledge, skills, and experience across disciplines. We welcome participants representing any discipline that has the potential to contribute to ideas that address opportunities relating to human augmentation in different spheres of human life/society.

We encourage people from diverse backgrounds to apply for the sandpit.


How to apply

Applying to participate in the sandpit will be done by completing the expression of interest (EOI) form on the following link – https://kentsspssr.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2lWRUdErScDZwb4

An application will be taken to indicate participant availability for the sandpit dates and their commitment to attend if short-listed. Please be advised attendance for the full two days is mandatory.

Applicants will be selected to attend by a panel that includes the Future Human Leadership team. Your answers to the questions on the EOI form will be used to assess your application and convince a panel that you have the suitable skills and attitude to participate in this sandpit. No further documentation will be accepted.

Deadline for applications is 4pm on Monday 23rd January 2023. Please note that late submissions will not be considered. We will confirm selected participants and the sandpit schedule by Monday 30th January 2023. Those selected to attend will be invited to a further online briefing event in week commencing 13th February.


How we will assess your application

Applications to attend the sandpit will be assessed by a selection panel consisting of the Future Human Leadership Team and University of Kent Research Managers.

As a sandpit is predicated on an ethos of innovative collaborative working, applicants must demonstrate both enthusiasm and appropriate personal attributes for cross-disciplinary collaborative research. Furthermore, the ability to develop and pursue a new approach will also be a key criterion in selecting attendees. The panel with also ensure that participants at the sandpit represent a diverse range of expertise, knowledge and experience.

Please note that because of the large number of applications expected, we will not be able to give individual feedback to unsuccessful applicants.


For more information about how the sandpit works and what the Future Human Signature Research Theme is, please see the pdf document link below.

Sandpit overview_Final