Risk Institute Away Day

Kicking off the new Academic year, the Institute for Risk & Uncertainty hosted their first official away day at Hollywood House in Derbyshire. The stylish large house transports you to another era, with all the comfort and sophistication of modern day living and sixteen celebrity themed bedrooms. Surprisingly, the cheese factor was warmly received! The trip was the perfect ice-breaker for the CDT’s new cohort of PhD students and was a great opportunity for existing lecturers and students get to know their peers, brainstorm ideas and apply the stochastic methods we’ve learnt over the year.

The first day was smooth sailing. Arriving at our destination, all forty of us decided to capitalise on the sunny weather. We strolled through the local town to a local pub to get lunch and get talking to the new cohort. It seems that Derbyshire does surprisingly good crispy lamb belly wraps, who would have thought?! The sporty amongst us (there weren’t many) when on a little hike to explore the beautiful woodlands surrounding us. The majority of us went straight back to get our much needed power naps and relax! Not soon afterwards, everyone introduces themselves and we get to hear a snapshot of their projects before getting to the important business – FOOD. BBQ time had already come, and we all migrated to the BBQ hut to get the burgers, jerk chicken and halloumi cookin’ (it was good). Needless to say, after a few drinks the hot tubs were very welcoming and full…

Thankfully we made the most of our time outdoors, as the next day was raining cats and dogs. A delicious full English breakfast puts everyone in a good mood, topped with coffee too energise us into an intense session of problem solving and conceptualising software for our Risk Institute’s new Smarter Mobility project. As the institute looks to develop an app to improve traffic, transport and safety, 40 minds workshopping ideas provided excellent feedback and suggestions to pave the way for future development. Many hours later of unshakeable concentration which has built up a strong appetite amongst us all, the caterer came and served us an exceptional meal – I must say the cheesecake was to die for. The most important part of the trip had arrived, working hard on stochastic methods – gambling our hard-earned money on roulette and blackjack… kidding - us risk-averse academics played with only with the fake money that our two professional croupiers had brought. After I successfully made a small fortune winning on two numbers on roulette, I quickly self-destructed and lost everything. The night lead onto playing pool, Uno and the infamous MAFIA – It was chaotic: friendships were formed and broken, people murdered, Oscars won, doctors selfishly saved themselves… The roleplaying game definitely made an unforgettable evening.

After a few intense days, everyone was delighted at how well the away day had panned out. We ended with breakfast before having an elevator pitch competition amongst everyone to learn a little bit more about everyone’s research and why it’s important. Excellent way to get an insight into the work that is being undertaken here at the institute – turns out we’re saving lives, making billions, making holidays cheaper and ensuring a well-fed population!

Thanks to the organisers, Caroline and Dominic for an excellent little trip away! I’m sure I can speak on behalf of everyone to say it was a lot of fun and can’t wait for next years!