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Public Engagement

Why engage?

Stem cell research has, and will, impact large parts of society, and consequently receives a large amount of public interest and scrutiny. As research leaders in this area, we believe our scientists play an important role in engagement with a wide variety of voices. We believe such encounters enhance the quality of the scientific questions we ask and help us build trust in research.

Read this piece by scientist Hans Clevers on the importance of communicating stem cell science.

Engagement strategy and activities

To ensure that public engagement remains a core part of our research culture, the Institute has developed a Public Engagement Strategy. The strategy directs our annual public engagement programme of centrally coordinated events, activities and training. It also lays out our strategic priorities, target communities and measures of success.

We are currently refreshing our strategy and compiling a new annual report. These will be available online in late 2019.

CSCI PE Strategy cover    CSCI Annual Report 2017 cover 

Public Engagement team

Dr Rebecca Jones, Public Engagement Manager 

Dr Selen Etingu-Breslaw, Public Engagement Coordinator

Dr Cédric Ghevaert, Public Engagement Champion

Dr Kerry Leslie, Public Engagement Adviser

Public Engagement Steering Committee

Our steering committee provides academic oversight of the CSCI public engagement programme and allows us to respond to the needs and the interests of our scientific community. 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. We also work with an external mentor appointed by Wellcome to improve our programme.

Committee membership (2019/20):

  • Cedric Ghevaert, Chair
  • Bertie Gottgens, PI rep
  • Maria Alcolea, PI rep
  • Justyna Rak, PostDoc rep
  • Dan Bode, PhD rep
  • Katie Light, Communications
  • Helene Doerflinger, Gurdon Institute
  • Diogo Gomes, Clinical and Biological Sciences
  • Amanda Stranks, NHS
  • TBC, Cambridge Institute for Immune Therapeutics and Infectious Disease

Public Engagement Seed Fund

Our Public Engagement Seed Fund aims to support new and creative ways of sharing stem cell research with the public. From September 2018, we have increased the top amount you can initially apply for to £2000, allowing you to develop more innovative engagement ideas!

Funding: £100 - £2000

All Institute members and affiliates may apply either as individuals or as a group. If you have several ideas, you can submit more than one application. Want some inspiration, check out previous seed fund projects: Stem Cell RobotsStem Cell Beer and Stem Cell Exchanges.

Applications are welcome all year round. To discuss a potential idea, no matter how small, email the team at at any time.

Public Engagement resources

Need advice on planning planning, delivering and evaluating public engagement activities? The MRC have created a set of webpages just for you. Click here to find out more.

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

Public Engagement award winners

Cambridge Stem Cell Institute group leader Dr Elisa Laurenti recently won one of six University of Cambridge Public Engagement with Research Awards. She received a £1,000 prize presented by the Vice-Chancellor in an award ceremony on 13 July 2017 in the Old Schools.

Find our more about Elisa's award winning public engagement work here.