Unlocking the Power of Research Failures


In a ground-breaking endeavour to address the often-overlooked side of research, Séverine Toussaert is spearheading an incubator project focused on understanding and learning from research failures. The initiative aims to shed light on the trial-and-error process of innovation, offering valuable insights for academia, industry, and policy-making.

The incubator, supported by a team of research collaborators and partners, will delve into the research process, investigating why it sometimes fails and how such failures can be transformed into learning opportunities. By following innovators across various sectors and providing support through knowledge exchange activities, the incubator seeks to generate foundational research while assisting project development.

To further augment the incubator's impact, an exciting collaboration is being pursued with The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT). BIT, renowned for its application of behavioural science in public policy, will play a crucial role as both a participant and coordinator of research within the incubator. The partnership promises substantial benefits, including extensive knowledge exchange opportunities, access to unique project data, and a bridge between Oxford and BIT through Co-Investigator Hubert Wu.

The initial phase of collaboration involves observing and studying live and historical projects undertaken by BIT. This exploration aims to establish a strong foundation for a comprehensive and wide-ranging research collaboration, while also expanding the incubator's activities to other businesses and organizations.

The expected deliverables from this collaboration encompass a case study publication in a prominent outlet, the development of a taxonomy of research failures, and the formulation of a protocol for observing research projects in the incubator.

This pioneering partnership between Oxford University and The Behavioural Insights Team holds significant promise for advancing our understanding of research failures and harnessing them as catalysts for future success. The collaboration will not only benefit the academic and policy spheres but will also provide valuable insights for researchers in academia and industry alike.



The project is funded by the Social Sciences Division under Business Engagement Seed Fund