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Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute


We aim to create an open and engaged research culture.


  • 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 supported and confident in engaging the public effectively.


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

Our 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 funding

Our Public Engagement Seed Fund aims to support staff and students in developing new ways of engaging the public with stem cell research. Institute members and affiliates who have received £500 to £2000 for previous seed fund projects include:

Project Year Awardees Group
You, Me & Us 2023 Kirsty Ferguson Philpott
Stem cell based embryo models 2023 Kathy Niakan and Christina Rozeik Niakan*
Patient and student engagement 2023 Jaana Bagri, Rebecca McDonald and Matthew McLoughlin Huntly, Ghevaert, Vassilliou
Understanding barriers to STEM careers 2022 Myriam Haltalli, Oluwaseun Ogundele and Nicola Wilson Göttgens and Hendrich
What would you become? 2022 Nicola Wilson Göttgens
Code for a Change 2021 Mariana Quiroga Londoño Göttgens
Girl Guides STEM day 2020 June Park Lee
Cord blood consultation 2020 Emily Calderbank Laurenti
Patient-led conference 2020 Alan Warren Warren*
#blackgirlinscience 2019 Oluwaseun Ogundele Hendrich
4L Rally, Morocco 2019 Marion Perrin and Dan Bode Vallier and Kent
Stem Cell Exchanges 2017 Mariana Alves and Katie Tremble Silva
Stem cell brew 2017 Dan Bode and Tim Lohoff Wellcome PhD programme
Stem cell robots 2015 Elisa Laurenti Laurenti

* Affiliate lab groups.


Our Director presents annual prizes at our Institute Retreat to recognise contributions to work with public, patient and community groups. Previous winners are listed below.

Year Prize 


Director's remarks

2023 Commitment Emily Calderbank For exceptional participation in our public and patient engagement programme over many years.
  Innovation Nicola Wilson For an innovative and inclusive approach to a seed fund project co-creating engagement activities with community groups.
  Partners Bob Bragger, Deborah Katznelson, Richard Milne For enabling valued interactions with patient and community groups.
2022 Commitment Roger Barker and Khalil Rawji For their long-term commitments to public and patient engagement at all levels. Awarded jointly.
  Innovation Zilbauer Lab For forging new connections with paediatric patients living with IBD and their families.
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 and participating in the Unknown Unknowns project.
  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.
2020 Personal

Oluwaseun Ogundele

For digital engagement and content creation with #BlackGirlInScience.

Franklin Lab

For Harold Offeh's A Pattern for Progress project
2019 Personal

Green Lab

For contributions to LifeLab in Peterborough.

Cedric Ghevaert

For their charity concert in Newmarket.
2018 Personal Justyna Rak

For contributions to almost every Institute engagement event this year, particularly with the stem cell robots and in their local area.

  Project Dan Bode and Tim Lohoff

For Regenerator, our stem cell brew developed in partnership with Moonshine Brewery, now touring local venues.