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Case study

University College London

London’s leading research university uses Dropbox and Dropbox Paper to speed up global collaboration.
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UCL’s Key Results

  • Seamless global collaboration
  • Secure sharing of sensitive research data
  • Simple version control

The challenge

Creating a secure collaboration platform capable of managing mountains of sensitive data

With 30,000 data points being collated per second, per neuron and each research project exceeding 4TB of data, UCL’s neuroscience research team at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre (SWC) was struggling to share results, thus slowing down the research process.

The original method for recording progress was confined to notes in notebooks and it was forcing teams to meet weekly for a verbal update on each project. 

This time-consuming way of working cost valuable time and drew teams away from important work in the lab.

The team needed to find a solution that accurately collected the vast quantities of data generated from experiments, and allowed them to work together securely from around the world.

Dropbox gives us a safe and secure platform to bring people and teams together on potentially life-changing research. The best and brightest minds are being focused on a particular challenge and we are seeing major strides being taken in a highly complex field of research.

Tiago Branco, Senior Research Fellow, UCL

The solution

A secure, unified workspace to speed up important research

UCL has been conducting valuable research for many years, but digital tools like Dropbox and Dropbox Paper mean it can up the pace. UCL’s neuroscience team at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre is now achieving in three years what would have taken considerably longer and it’s because, with Dropbox, it can test hypotheses much quicker than ever before.

When teams are working and producing data in the lab, other researchers can now monitor and provide feedback immediately via Dropbox Paper. This instant feedback loop helps augment research as it’s happening, even altering the direction of live experiments as something of interest is spotted in the results.

This powerful feature is shaving valuable time off research projects, allowing the team to use all its collective brainpower on experiments from anywhere in the world and accelerate efforts towards valuable conclusions.

Research projects are now planned with Dropbox Paper. Live documents bring everyone together into a unified workspace to plan, collaborate and analyse results. Everyone needed for the project can be brought in from the start and because it’s a mobile tool, teams can work from anywhere, at any time.

Dropbox Paper is the perfect tool for us because it is incredibly easy to use. The interface is simple, and most importantly, it provides real-time research updates. We like the flexibility of being able to drop in research information, in any format. Whether we are sharing images, videos, tables or hyperlinks to other documents, it handles it all effortlessly.

Tiago Branco, Senior Research Fellow, UCL

The results

An accelerated research process

Dropbox and Dropbox Paper are aiding the neuroscience research team at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre at UCL to accelerate the research process, meaning its research teams are able to move faster towards creating life-saving discoveries. It is these new digital tools that are breaking down the barriers to collaboration, enabling the secure flow of data, bringing the brightest minds together and helping UCL solve the puzzle of the human brain.

The work the team are doing right now is helping us understand how the brain represents and processes information. This is essential for our understanding of how the brain works, how we interpret the world and how we make decisions. That knowledge might help us treat mental health disorders such as addiction, depression or extreme anxiety.

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