General Network Discussion Meetings (GNDM): We will hold two GNDMs in the first year and one in year two and three of the proposal. All network members will be invited and each GNDM will be organised and held at a different node. These two-day meetings will allow us to refine and evolve the initial formulation of the challenges in this field and to assess the usefulness of various approaches to the broad studies of emergence and systems far from equilibrium. In order to facilitate this, at least half a day at each GNDM will be devoted to “Synergy Acceleration” sessions, based on the Ideas Factories / Sandpits run by the EPSRC. At the first two GNDMs we will hold brainstorming exercises in which a list of challenges will be generated in raw form, then, formulated in text fragments with subsequent clustering across different disciplines. Participants will then self-organise according to skills, experience and interest to form working groups, where the challenge areas will be developed further after each GNDM. The ideas and approaches generated by this process will be presented to the pool of all attendees at the third and fourth GNDM (years 2 and 3). Instant feedback on positive aspects, potential for further development, concerns and criticism combined with an iteration of the group sessions will help to channel, focus and refine ideas, ultimately leading to a process by which the key challenges, common interests and approaches can be defined and brought out. The GNDMs will also offer an opportunity to highlight recent research successes and to identify areas for new collaborations. As well as invited and contributed talks from network members, there would be several international invited speakers. Representatives of other UK and equivalent EU/US networks will be invited to each meeting. At least 25% of the time at each meeting will be offered to our industrial partners as a forum to present their work and views on the topic and engage the academic community.
Next General Diskussion Meeting in 2015: 14-15th September 2015: III General Network Discussion Meeting: St Hilda's College, Oxford