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The E3i Club

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The E3i Club

The E3i Club

As mentioned previously, during the first year of the EnvEast DTP, the E3i club was formed. The E3i club is a student lead body, looking to combine innovation with modern day scientific industry on a number of different fronts. Headed up by Natasha Senior, The E3i Club is constantly on the lookout for new members. Committee meetings occur roughly every month, with a healthy amount of notice to ensure that all can attend. Recent topics of discussion have included organising excursions to Plymouth, for cross DTP training partnerships to grow, as well as organisation of fresh initiatives for the now current academic year.

E3i, or to give it’s full title, EnvEast Enterprise and Innovation, have introduced new initiatives with the fresh academic year. These initiatives are available not just to E3i Club members, but the wider PGR, Early Career Researchers and other attendees of the university.


Perhaps E3i’s greatest achievement to date has been the organisation of a seminar series, due to take place in late 2015. This seminar series, is based around one of the fastest growing industries in modern business, and an industry that holds massive potential for scientific research. The industry I’m talking about, is of course Apps. To put this industry growth into perspective, in 2008, Apple launched the first version of it’s App Store alongside it’s – at the time – latest edition of the iPhone. Since then, Apps have somewhat taken over the world, with the App Store boasting over one and a half million apps, with over a billion downloads and hundreds of millions of dollars paid to out to the developers.

E3i -more specifically Creative Director Philip Lamb – have recognised the potential for science within the App industry, and have decided to do something about it. The first of these ‘somethings’ is the organistion of the aforementioned semiar series. This series will bring to UEA researchers who have successfully implement apps into their science, to talk about how they did it, how it works and why it’s important for science to keep up with the digital times.

The first of these speakers is Dr. Tom August, of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, giving a talk entitled ‘Hacking For Nature – Technologies for Grassroots Conservation’. Tom describes himself as a Computational Ecologist, and has worked extensively with statistical experts to develop methods for analysing species occurrence data and to make these methods available to other academics and practioners. Tom’s talk is due to take place at UEA, at 4PM on 11th November 2015.

The second confirmed talk comes from Dr. Paul Jepson from the University of Oxford, and is titled ‘Nature Apps – Waiting for the Revolution’. Paul is the course director of Oxford’s MSc in Biodiversity, Conversation and Management, and is one of the first researchers to actively intergrate the opportunities offered by new technologies and media into both his teaching and research. Paul’s talk is due to take place at UEA, at 4PM on 25th November 2015.

In addition to the seminar series – who’s third and final speaker is yet to be confirmed – the E3i club have also put plans in motion to offer an app development course. This is likely to be an online based course, starting in 2016, with further details to be released closer to the time. It’s is aimed to be accessible to all, by using simple software to develop the apps, therefore no coding experience is necessary.

The E3i Grant Scheme

Introducing people to the world of apps and app development in science was not enough for the E3i club. Always striving to do more, E3i are pleased to annouce that 2015-16 will be the first academic year offering the E3i Innovation Grant. This grant is availble to early career NERC-facing researchers, and offers awards of up to £500 to fund specific activites to develop either their professional skills or those of others, widen the impact of their research and/or build partnerships between researchers and the non-academic community. The one caveat is that this activities must also demonstrate a benefit for PhD students with the EnvEast DTP.

Up to £1000 across the projects will be awarded through a competitive process that closes on the 8th of January 2016. 

The application window opens on the 26th October 2015. To apply, simply submit a written proposal by midnight of January 8th, of no more than 1000 words to, with the subject line ‘E3i Innovation Grant’. The proposal should clearly cover a description of the activity/project, the amount requested and a breakdown of how this will be used, identification of how the eligibility criteria and scope is met and a timeline of when you expect of incur and claim expenses.

A Little Extra For Students

The E3i club look to include as many people as possible in their work. However, as it is a student led body, it’s fair to say that they really go the extra mile for PGR students. For all EnvEast PGRs, the E3i Club offer free business cards for distribution at conferences to improve networking. In addition to this, a GoPro is also available for hire to take on field work, which has already been implemented successfully on multiple occasions.

The best way to both summaries and describe the E3i Club, if you are still unconvinced or undecided, is through the words of current committee member Beth Williams:

‘E3i is an opportunity for PhD students to look outside of their own research, forming the partnerships and networks needed to create impact, develop CV-building skills, and receive training bot usually offered in their courses. We want to be a voice for enterprising students, toa id them in the development of innovative ideas for academia and the wider community’

A worthy cause, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Posted by Seth Thomas on Mon, 30 Oct 2017

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