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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 (Principal Investigator at the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research and the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology) on the importance of communicating stem cell science.


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 four strategic aims, target communities and outcomes.

Download a copy of our Public Engagement Strategy 






Aim 1To reach beyond Cambridge to raise awareness about stem cells on a national and international level


Aim 2: To connect with local under-served communities and empower them to access stem cell research


Aim 3: To give patients a voice in our research and engagement activities that is valued and utilised


Aim 4: To create an open and engaged research culture


Dr Rebecca Jones, Public Engagement Manager 
Dr Selen Etingu-Breslaw, Public Engagement Coordinator
Dr Cédric Ghevaert, Academic Champion
Dr Kerry Leslie, Public Engagement Adviser

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 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. 

Committee membership (2019/20):

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

* Affiliate Groups


Need advice on 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



Cambridge Stem Cell Institute group leader Dr Elisa Laurenti 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.