Articles

Speed Dating for Researchers Proves Successful for Exchange of Ideas

By Keith Morelli

Researcher speed dating

TAMPA (September 11, 2018) -- Speed dating for those looking significant others and speed dating for researchers looking for answers have a lot in common. Both seek collaboration through engaging pitches of what each has to offer.

The dean's boardroom recently was the scene of a research speed dating forum. But dinners and movies weren't the goal. Instead, it was to have professors sit for a few minutes across from other professors and talk about their research. The exchange of ideas would, ideally, lead to meetings of the minds that could further interdisciplinary research into various related fields.

"The event is to promote collaborative research that cuts across departments/colleges, given that top journals and grant sponsors value multidisciplinary research approaches," said Peggy Allen, unit research administrator with the Muma College of Business. "Participants have the opportunity to meet and share their research interest with colleagues from other departments and colleges over wine and cheese."

Business professors met and chatted with each other and researchers from other colleges around campus. They had to discuss their research in a timed session, which could help them when they are pitching for grants or work, she said.

To introduce participants to researchers within the business college and participating researchers from other colleges, a list with the researchers' profiles (included research domain and research methodology) was distributed prior to the event, she said. They also received a list of interdisciplinary funding opportunities from various sponsors to support their research ideas.

During the event, the 31 researchers were divided into eight groups.

"They collaborated – each group sharing his or her research ideas – with a different group for 20 minutes before rotating to a different group," she said. "There were four rotation rounds; the first three rounds were collaborative with the groups rotating together. The fourth round consisted of individuals meeting with whomever they choose to go into greater details in regards to their research."

Follow-up meetings with researchers soliciting feedback were planned as well as handing out information about possible grant opportunities to support each participant's research interest.

The annual event fosters partnerships and gets researchers out of their silos, said Associate Dean Kaushal Chari, who welcomed professors, both familiar and unfamiliar, at the event.

"The purpose of this exercise is to create partnerships for research, to break out of your respective departments a little bit," he said, "and to find out what other researchers are doing. All this may result in grants, papers, etc."