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Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute


We aim to create an open and engaged research culture.

Current initiatives

Steering committee

Our steering committee provides academic oversight of our public engagement programme and allows us to respond to the needs and the interests of our scientific and external communities. The PESC meets four times a year to discuss current and future public engagement plans and pioneer ways to further embed public engagement at the Institute.

Seed fund

Our Public Engagement Seed Fund aims to support staff and students in developing new ways of engaging the public with stem cell research. All Institute members and affiliates may apply either as individuals or as a group. 

Funding: £500 - £2000

To discuss a potential idea and request an application form email the team at

Want some inspiration? Check out previous seed fund projects:

Project                             Year     Awardees Group
Stem Cell Robots 2015     Elisa Laurenti Laurenti
Stem Cell Beer 2017 Dan Bode and Tim Lohoff Wellcome PhD programme
Stem Cell Exchanges 2017 Mariana Alves and Katie Tremble Silva
4L Rally, Morocco 2019 Marion Perrin and Dan Bode Vallier and Kent
#blackgirlinscience 2019 Oluwaseun Ogundele Hendrich
Stem Cell Beer II 2020 Jamie McGinn, Ross McGinn, Nefeli-Skoufou Papoutsaki    Alcolea, Franze*, Winton*
Patient-led conference 2020 Alan Warren Warren*
Cord blood consultation 2020 Emily Calderbank Laurenti
Girl Guides STEM Day 2020 June Park Lee
Code for a Change 2021 Mariana Quiroga Londoño Göttgens
What would you become? 2022 Nicola Wilson Göttgens

* Affiliate Groups


Need advice on planning, delivering and evaluating public engagement activities? The MRC have created a helpful guide on PE.

Want to involve the public or patients in your research? Check examples of Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) from the NIHR. 

Recent highlights

Cambridge Stem Cell Institute group leader Dr Elisa Laurenti was awarded a University of Cambridge Public Engagement with Research Award in 2017 for her Stem Cell Robots project. Elisa received a £1,000 prize presented by the Vice-Chancellor in an award ceremony at the the Old Schools.

Institute Public Engagement Prizes

Our Director presents a set of annual prizes for public engagement at our Institute Retreat to recognise i) an individual who has made an outstanding commitment to public engagement and ii) an excellent engagement project or programme. Previous winners are listed below.

Year Prize 


Director's remarks

2018 Personal Justyna Rak

'A stalwart presence at Institute PE events, Justyna has volunteered at every large public event we have done this year, including Cambridge Science Festival and BRAINFest, and has given numerous hours of time to engaging families, children and adults with stem cell science. In particular though, Justyna has been integral to the re-development of the Stem Cell Robots, working closely with Elisa Laurenti to come up with an exciting new blood stem cell board. She even took the robots home at Christmas so she could work on the new coding with her husband Jean-Charles! Through her work Justyna has helped the Institute reach out to new communities in Cherry Hinton where she resides, including a Saturday morning story session at the local Library (photo), and the Institute’s first contribution to Cherry Hinton Festival.'

  Project Dan Bode and Tim Lohoff

'Regenerator, our stem cell brew, has been a sell-out success this year, as an exciting new partnership with Mark and Simon from Moonshine Brewery, who are here with us this evening. Driven by Tim and Dan’s love of beer and desire to reach a ‘non-traditional’ science crowd, the project launched at Cambridge Beer Festival in May 2017 and has now engaged over 500 people in face to face conversations, the majority of which with people who would never usually choose to attend science events. Countless more have drunk our ale and collected our beer matts and in the process, learnt about the science we do. The project continues to grow with the ongoing Regenerator on tour series touring Cambridgeshire pubs with science cafes, quizzes and comedy, and a potential new brew on the cards. We’re excited to see where this great partnership will go next!'

2019 Personal

Green Lab


For contributions to LifeLab in Peterborough

Cedric Ghevaert


For his charity concert in Newmarket
2020 Personal

Oluwaseun Ogundele

For digital engagement and content creation for #blackgirlinscience

Franklin Lab

For the A Pattern for Progress project
2021 Commitment Shaline Fazal For outstanding contribution to work with patient and community groups, and ongoing support to create an engaged research culture at the Institute.

Mariana Quiroga Londoño

For new and novel approaches to engagement over the past year, including launching the Code for a Change platform, partipating in the Unknown Unknowns project, and reaching new audiences across social media.
  Partners Anna Brownsted, David Cain, Harold Offeh, Julie Stevens For enabling exceptional interactions with patient and community groups, as valued partners to our Institute public engagement team.

Our strategic approach


  • Delivery of our other aims is reliant on the proactive involvement of our research community. The public and the science benefit most when it is the researchers who lead engagement.
  • Engagement should be recognised as an integral part of researchers’ work so that they can dedicate time and expertise to excelling.
  • Staff and students must be confident and supported to engage the public effectively.


  • We will run a varied and challenging engagement programme to provide a testing ground for researchers to build their experience and confidence.
  • We will offer advice, support and training to develop researcher-led engagement projects, including applications for funding and seed funds.
  • We will create a lab champion network to inform and share our engagement approach and build a community of practice.
  • We will celebrate success through annual engagement awards and support efforts for wider accreditation for engagement at a University-level.
  • Our academic champion will chair our Public Engagement Steering Committee, with appropriate principal investigators to ensure embedded academic oversight of engagement.