Rules of engagement

July 23, 2009

Echoing The Poppletonian (9 July), the first rule of sandpit is communicate; the second rule is re-read the first rule. As a veteran of four sandpits, this communication can vary from competitive group-based work to collaborative team-based approaches.

Cross-disciplinary language can be daunting. At the Angiogenesis Sandpit, "matrix" was a mathematical array, a physico-chemical substrate, a biological extracellular medium, a technological audio-decoder, a management style and a Keanu Reeves film. With one word interpreted in so many ways, imagine trying to put it into context across diverse disciplines. Hopefully, those quoted in Times Higher Education will attempt to do so rather than communicate without context.

And yes, the first rule works. My fellow sandpitters are now long-term colleagues, drawn together from wide-ranging fields by the process.

Beverley Randle, Visiting senior lecturer, King's College London.

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