Sipping wine to the strains of Barry White in a room bedecked with heart-shaped balloons, about 50 scientists gathered at Manchester University on Valentine's Day in search of the perfect partner, writes Tony Tysome.
There was little time for first-meeting nerves as each person was allotted a series of three-minute sessions with others seeking the right match. But this was not university lonely hearts on a speed-dating trial - academic collaboration, not cohabitation, was the aim.
Manchester's first "speed-collaborating" exercise was organised by Simon Merrywest, a research business manager in the university's faculty of life sciences. He said it was a fun way to get academics together to chat about their research and find areas where they could collaborate.
He said: "We thought just throwing people together in a room might not work, so we adopted the speed-dating idea, giving them lots of three-minute sessions with people they might otherwise not have spoken to.
"People were a bit apprehensive to begin with. But once they started bumping into people who had an interest in their research, they got into the swing of things."
A straw poll taken after the meeting found that almost everyone had found someone with whom they could build a collaborative relationship. Whether any other kind of relationships blossomed is unknown.
Register to continue
Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.
Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:
- Sign up for the editor's highlights
- Receive World University Rankings news first
- Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
- Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Or subscribe for unlimited access to:
- Unlimited access to news, views, insights & reviews
- Digital editions
- Digital access to THE’s university and college rankings analysis
Already registered or a current subscriber?Sign in now