Global Academy Crucible Programme

The Global Academy Crucible Programme brings together researchers from different Universities and disciplines to collaborate beyond their current networks and develop their skills and ideas.

Throughout the process, participants are encouraged to engage with each other, in small groups and one-to-one, to encounter new ideas, ways of thinking and different approaches, and to develop new research directions.

In addition to spending up to a week at another university, participants can apply for pump-priming funding to take newly developed ideas to the next stage.

Please note: this programme is currently only available to researchers in the following institutions:

  • University of Leeds
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • University of Pretoria
  • University of Ghana
  • Universität Hamburg
  • The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

What is the Crucible Programme?

The Crucible Programme is designed to bring together participants from different disciplines to allow networking with other academics, building a strong network, development of ideas and new research directions and improve the visibility of their profile and research.

The Programme consists of three sets of meetings (called labs) over a six-month period, geared towards helping you develop interdisciplinary skills and approaches, and innovative interdisciplinary ideas, with the opportunity to apply for pump priming. The first and last labs are held online and the second lab brings everyone together for a week at University of Leeds. Participants are expected to attend all three labs.

The labs offer a mix of activities such as talks, facilitated sessions and dedicated collaboration opportunities. They have been designed to provide participants with the time and space, away from their usual work, to explore new ways of thinking about their research, consider research perspectives from different disciplines and the opportunity to meet similarly motivated researchers. A key part of the Crucible Programme is the opportunity for participants to spend a week at another university, in order to meet new researchers and build their networks. For non-University of Leeds participants this is a week at University of Leeds in January 2025 as part of lab 2. For University of Leeds participants this will be from March 2025 onwards at the university of another participant in the programme.

At the end of the programme participants can expect to have developed their understanding of interdisciplinary research, will have built confidence in engaging with researchers from different disciplines while expanding their network, and will have new perspectives and ideas to take forward.

Who is it for?

The Crucible Programme is open to academics and researchers across early and mid-career stages* who want to build their professional networks, work with researchers in other disciplines and explore interdisciplinary approaches to their research.

To be eligible to apply you should:

  • have at least three years post-doctoral experience,
  • be employed by your host university until July 2025,
  • be able to attend all three of the labs (exact dates are provided in the following ‘What Happens’ section)

We define an early-career academic as someone who is either:

  • Within eight years of their PhD award, or equivalent professional training,
  • Within six years of their first academic appointment (the first full or part time paid employment contract that lists research or teaching as the primary functions)

We define a mid-career academic as someone who is either:

  • Within 15 years of their PhD award, or equivalent professional training
  • Within 15 years of their first academic appointment)

What happens?

The Crucible Programme runs over three dates in a mix of online and in person labs.

  • Lab 1 (online): Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 September 2024
  • Lab 2 (in person, in Leeds): Tuesday 14 to Friday 17 January 2025
    • In addition to the core Crucible Programme lab activities, additional activities are planned throughout the week that participants will be expected to take part in.
    • Visiting participants are given tours of University of Leeds facilities, and meetings can also be organised with University of Leeds academics who are not part of the Crucible Programme to broaden networks further.
    • Visiting participants will arrive in Leeds on Monday 13 January and depart on Tuesday 21 January 2025
    • University of Leeds participants will be provided with hotel accommodation for the nights of Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 January for the core parts of the lab when all participants are together.
  • Lab 3 (online): Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 March 2024

Participants should attend all three of the labs. Please do not apply to the Crucible Programme if you cannot attend all three labs as places are limited and attending all three ensures maximum benefit to all participants.

Researcher Mobility

As part of the Crucible Programme all participants have the opportunity to spend one working week (between 7 and 10 days) at another university to meet new researchers and build networks.

For participants in the Crucible Programme from outside the University of Leeds:

  • You will spend a minimum of one working week, and up to 10 days at the University of Leeds. During this time, you will attend the second Crucible Programme Lab in Leeds (13-21 January 2025).
  • As part of the Programme, you must also be willing to host* an academic from the University of Leeds for a minimum of one working week following the third Crucible Programme lab in March 2025. (*their accommodation will be provided)

For participants in the Crucible Programme from the University of Leeds:

  • You will have the opportunity to spend at least one working week at another university, hosted by the person you have been matched with following the third Crucible Programme lab in March 2025.

There may be further opportunities to travel, and opportunities to exchange for a longer duration if colleagues make strong connections across the programme.

What are the costs?

The Horizons Institute will cover the following travel and subsistence expenses for all participants:

  • Economy-class flight fare / train fare
  • Local transport costs including train fares
  • Accommodation for up to 10 days (for non-University of Leeds participants this will be in Leeds at lab 2 in January 2025, for University of Leeds participants this will be at a partner university from March 2025 onwards)
  • Costs associated with visa applications
  • Travel Insurance
  • A pre-paid soldo card to cover costs of food not provided with accommodation, and local transport such as taxis

The benefits of taking part

In addition to the opportunity to travel and meet new researchers while building their network, participants can expect to:

  • Strengthen their understanding of interdisciplinary research
  • Develop new insights into different research areas and new approaches to research
  • Develop new ideas and directions for their research, and potentially win pump-priming funding to develop these to the next stage.

Previous participants have also reported the following benefits from participation:

  • Increased confidence in talking about their research with non-experts and those from other disciplines,
  • New collaborations and connections – both in their own institution and others taking part in the Crucible Programme,
  • New ideas and increased confidence about running workshops as a research methodology or to generate ideas,
  • Improved communication skills,
  • New ideas for group working, collaboration and to accommodate different working styles,
  • The value of dedicated time and space to explore issues in more depth and discuss methods and approaches.

Watch videos of participants in previous years talking about their experience of the Global Academy Crucible Programme on YouTube

What other opportunities are part of the Global Academy Crucible Programme?

All participants can apply to the Horizons Institute’s Mentoring Programme after lab 3 of the Crucible Programme. This is based upon an award-winning mentoring scheme and provides mentoring over a period of 12-15 months.

As part of our ongoing network building, there will be continued contact with the Horizons Institute and previous and future cohorts of Crucible Participants.

We are currently developing a new programme to compliment the Crucible Programme that will provide an opportunity for further links with researchers at different universities, with different disciplines and additional future interdisciplinary funding opportunities. More information about this will be provided to Crucible Programme Participants as they become available.

More information and how to apply

In addition to the information provided here, you can attend an online information session, via Zoom, to find out more about the Crucible Programme and ask any questions you may have.

There are two possible dates for you to attend (please click the respective links to take you to the Zoom meeting):
Thursday 25 April, 11am – 12pm (BST)  
Wednesday 1 May, 14.00 – 15.00 (BST)

If you have any further questions, please contact Horizons Institute team via 

To apply to become a Crucible Programme participant, please contact Horizons Institute via to request an application form.

All applications forms will be reviewed by a panel and selections will be made to ensure a balanced mix of disciplines and experience and to ensure those taking part will get most benefit from taking part. The Horizons Institute are looking for early to mid-career researchers with an interest in interdisciplinary research. Reciprocal and mutual learning are essential to the Crucible Programme. Participants must be open to leaving their research at the door and to transforming their discipline and ways of working through collaboration with academics from outside their discipline. We’re looking for participants who are interested in developing their research leadership and collaboration skills and who are enthusiastic about developing novel research by integrating methods, approaches, and datasets in new and innovative ways.

Please complete and submit the application form to Horizons Institute by Friday 31 May 2024.