WHAT WE DO
We are a non-profit research and development organisation based in the UK (Cornwall and Sheffield). We like making complex stuff easier to access or understand. We care about the world, and we only work with other people who care about the world.
We try to make knowledge more equitably distributed in lots of ways, whether that’s by designing a new piece of open source research equipment, making a game to understand a complex scientific concept or solve a research question, building an app to give people access to previously inaccessible data and help them make decisions, or running workshops to help people work better together across boundaries.
All our work is open source, and much of it is rooted in rural issues, rather than being city-centric. We're used to designing for unusual or difficult situations, and have built things for places with no power or internet, where hardware might be trampled by elephants or fall in the sea. We hear about people using our work all around the world because it’s all freely available to use and modify.
Some buzzwords you might recognise are: citizen science, participatory science and technology, public engagement, impact and civic involvement. This is what we do.
You can also check out our 2022 annual review.
HOW WE WORK / HOW TO WORK WITH US
Drop us an email if you'd like to talk about working together. If you have ideas that don't fit into the categories below, just let us know!
- Research Projects We run our own research and development projects, usually grant funded, and are registered to lead and join consortiums for EU funded projects as a research organisation (PIC 925548878). We often collaborate on other people's research (and other) projects, helping to improve the funding bids, embedding 'impact' and 'public engagement' in ways that truly benefit the research itself and those involved, or leading sections/work packages of the research. Projects where we are included as collaborators tend to have a high success rate.
- Fellowships We host UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships. No university is necessary for this, Then Try This can be the sole host. This offers a very different research experience, with no publication metrics or teaching load, just... research. We are also happy to share hosting of fellowships with other organisations/institutions.
- Other Project Bids We also lead and collaborate on projects that aren't research based, for example for Arts Council and National Lottery calls, and can support people to put their bids in.
- Commissions We regularly take commissions from clients, and routinely work on large scale projects with some of the world's most famous organisations, like the Deutsches Museum (Munich), Natural History Museum (London), and Eden Project (Cornwall), as well as for funders and numerous universities.
- Teaching & Workshops Guest teaching and workshops are things we do a lot of. We teach for universities all around the world, on citizen science, critical technology, programming and electronics, and all sorts of other things. We're also often asked to develop participatory workshops, either for an organisation's own staff or to bring together lots of different types of participants.
USING OUR THINGS
We have some equipment, tools, and event items that can be borrowed or used in our studio by local organisations or community groups. There is a list available which we keep updated.
If you'd like to use any of our online things for your own purposes (like teaching or museum exhibitions), you're absolutely free to. It's really nice if you can let us know if you do this as it helps us prove to funders that we're doing useful stuff. If you'd like us to modify something we've made to make it work for a specific purpose, just get in touch.
We’re a non-profit, which means we have no shareholders to keep wealthy. We have a board of non-executive directors who keep an eye on how we do things. We make everything open source and open access so it’s freely available for anyone to use for their own purposes. If it’s public funded, it should be available to all. We use the concept of appropriate technology in our work, which means we make things that are understandable, fixable, and can be repurposed, and - critically - we make things that are really reliable. Wherever possible, the people who the projects are for are directly involved in the design process. We see co-design as entirely integral to how we work.
Every decision we make is grounded in the reality that climate and ecological breakdown are changing everything, and 'business as usual' is for the history books. We have a no-flights policy, work in a carbon negative building, use ethical banking and an ethical pension scheme, run our website and projects on renewable energy powered servers, only cater events using small local businesses and always vegan, and have e-cargo bikes for local work-related transport.
We also take privacy very seriously, which is an integral for climate action and justice. We use end-to-end encryption for internal communications and are happy to use it with anyone who is ready to.
You can find our more recent code on GitLab and our older projects on GitHub, and you can find our all company documents online: Companies House, Articles of Association, Policy Documents and Health and Safety (feel free to use these for setting up your own organisation).