The ‘Research Derby’: A pressure cooker for creative and collaborative science

Brett Favaro, Douglas C Braun, Earth2Ocean Research Derby


Ecology and evolution research benefits when scientists engage in meaningful collaborations. However, making time for such efforts is difficult, particularly for early-career graduate students who are often focused on an independent and self-driven research program. Here, we introduce the concept of the Research Derby, a collaborative and semi-competitive workshop where teams are given 24 hours to complete a research project. This ‘pressure-cooker’ environment is designed to give scientists a fun and short-term opportunity to conduct research outside their primary field, promote skills exchange within the research group, and ultimately produce high-quality scientific publications. In this manuscript we outline the goals of the Research Derby, explain how to set up such an event, and recount our experiences running a Derby within our research group at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., Canada. We argue that Research Derbies have the potential to achieve creative and collaborative high-impact science, and are a fun and productive research activity.


Research methods; working group; skills development; graduate training; education

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