The Bridge at Hughes Hall is a key element of our ambition to create the conditions where our researchers can have significant impact in the wider world. As a graduate college, with a large, active body of researchers – Fellows, postdocs and students – we have a big opportunity to improve the translation of research outcomes into policy, practice or products. In doing this, we face challenges that are only partially addressed by the many organisations that already exist within the University and elsewhere. The Bridge will not replicate existing activity but will complement and work in partnership with others.
The Bridge will develop two new major capabilities, and will work with both sides of the translational “gap”, providing support both to researchers and also to those looking to the academic world for answers to real-world problems.
In general, researchers need help improving the way they communicate their work, identify opportunities for impact, understand management and finance, and nurture relationships. Conversely, external bodies and individuals will often have different expectations, and can easily be frustrated or simply overwhelmed by the complexity of the research world. Identifying these differences, and offering coaching, mentoring or other approaches to improve mutual understanding, will help align projects and enable greater cooperation between academic and external parties.
Success in translating research will come from finding the right partners. The Bridge will offer a platform for researchers, partners and other organisations to connect with each other. We will support the growth of networking skills amongst researchers. At the same time, we will help external organisations, whether in industry, public policy, NGOs, or international bodies, to navigate the Cambridge ecosystem. This will include leveraging existing partners and helping Bridge clients find the contacts they need.
The Bridge will initially focus on five core areas, where Hughes Hall has existing research strengths. These are biomedical science, law, management, education, and physical sciences, maths and engineering. The Bridge will also help position the work of the Study Centres and other Projects, described below, in the broader context of effective research translation. Over time, The Bridge may develop wider offerings such as consultancy support, or hosting workshops for external parties.
The Bridge aims to put Hughes Hall at the cutting edge of research application, and to maximise the economic and social returns from the long-term investments in world-class research from the University.
Hughes Hall hosts a number of Study Centres, presently including Cambridge Digital Innovation and Oracy Cambridge, that function as focus points for the wider development and application of a number of special research activities and projects.
Cambridge Digital Innovation stimulates interaction between industry professionals, policy makers, academics, students and enthusiasts on the most exciting and impactful phenomena driving the digital revolution. The Study Centre’s goal is to bring together leaders in innovation, digital technologies, healthcare, and finance from across The University’s different departments and innovation spaces (e.g. incubators, the science park, and accelerators), along with external organizations, primarily those in healthcare and FinTech, and a growing global network of academic partners, based at MIT Sloan, INCAE, NYU, Stanford and other universities worldwide. A key focus of CDI as a Knowledge Hub is help develop and translate knowledge from academia into practice and policy. Our activity is therefore expected to be relevant to a large number of organizations in the for profit and not for profit sectors across developed and developing economies. There is more information on the CDI website.
Oracy Cambridge is concerned with the effective use of talk in all aspects of professional and social life. Its aims are to: (a) raise awareness of the importance of effective spoken communication in society, and ways that it can be developed through education and work-related training, amongst policy makers and practitioners within the UK and internationally; (b) disseminate relevant research that can inform policy and practice; (c) host events that bring together those concerned with developing effective spoken communication in educational settings, workplaces and communities; and (d) build links between members of different professional communities concerned with the study and use of spoken communication. There is more information on the Oracy Cambridge pages.
In addition to the various events and projects linked to the subject areas and Study Centres, the College supports and hosts a number of initiatives that enhance the academic range and interaction of students, academics, and the wider worlds of research and application.
Cambridge-Africa Programme: Hughes Hall is one of the partner colleges in the Cambridge-Africa Programme, hosting showcase presentations for visiting African Fellows. The Programme contributes to strengthening Africa’s own capacity for a sustainable research and mentoring culture, by cultivating the talented individuals who will make this long-term goal a reality. It includes a range of initiatives covering many subject areas, with coordinated, cross-collaboration and capacity building/strengthening as a common but essential theme.
Cambridge Governance Labs is an initiative which translates knowledge and lessons about decision-making into practical tools for those who exercise authority on behalf of citizens. The aim is to empower citizens and leaders to meet the challenges facing society, especially in developing countries where populations live closer to the edge and where poor decisions cost lives in untold numbers. Through international cross-disciplinary events, the Centre will bring together academics and practitioners to distil cutting-edge research that sheds light on how to improve the quality of decisions that will shape the future of humankind. Findings will be translated into practical tools to be tested in pilot projects and made freely available online and through publications. There is more information on the Governance Labs website.
Hughes Hall Enterprise Society: The College hosts the Hughes Hall Enterprise Society, a student-led partnership between the College’s senior membership, its students and its alumni with interests in business and entrepreneurship. The Society runs a speaking programme on entrepreneurship, supports the networking and mentoring culture of the College, and runs an Entrepreneurship Prize. The Society is chaired by Rupert Pearce Gould, Entrepreneur in Residence at the Judge Business School and Senior Member at Hughes.
iLAB: The ‘Interactive Learning Across Boundaries’ scheme provides multidisciplinary, STEMM-focused courses in schools. It is organised by a group of Postdoctoral Research Associates at Hughes Hall who are passionate about providing opportunities for young people and inspiring the next generation.
Life Sciences & Society Seminars: The PHG Foundation is a health policy think tank with a special focus on how genomics and other emerging health technologies can provide more effective, personalised healthcare and deliver improvements in population health. The Foundation’s Life Sciences & Society Seminars at Hughes Hall take a broad perspective on issues surrounding bioscience and health that are relevant to policy. They are aimed at academic, commercial and clinical researchers and practitioners who are interested in how research in life sciences is adopted in practice for the health and wealth of the nation.
Three Minute Thesis: A competition where students are invited to give a three minute presentation on their research. It will take place in the Pavilion Room at Hughes Hall. Why not take this opportunity to showcase your research and develop your communication skills to the Hughes Hall community.