Hughes Hall was the source of inspiration – and careers advice – once again earlier this month (Wednesday, 12th February) in the form of a unique Bridge event. Changing the World through Public Service included a diverse panel with a range of experience and knowledge gained from their careers in government, policy and the third sector. Such examples, from both a personal and institutional perspective, can help our academic community better appreciate the translational potential of their expertise and research. Indeed, there are many routes to impact in the public sphere and the Bridge will continue to provide a flavour of these to our researchers through our programme of events and other translational activity.
Panellists from left: Dr Alexander Randall, Catherine Mealing-Jones, Ann Cotton OBE, Jane Ramsey (Chair) and Dr Mark Bale.
The panel discussion was chaired by Jane Ramsey, Hughes Hall Associate and member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Chair of Young Epilepsy, and a former barrister, and lawyer, with a significant non-executive portfolio. Our panellists included Dr Mark Bale, Hughes Hall Fellow, Deputy Director of Health Science & Bioethics at the Department of Health and Head of Science Partnerships at Genomics England; Ann Cotton OBE, Founder and Trustee of CAMFED International, Honorary Fellow at Homerton College and Social Entrepreneur in Residence at the Judge Business School; Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth at the UK Space Agency; and Dr Alexander Randall, Hughes Hall Associate and senior policy professional at the Ministry of Defence. Each provided an insight into their own academic background, their career path, and how they are now able to make a difference in the UK and around the world.
The panellists’ discussions with the audience were stimulating, providing food for thought for many of those in our academic community considering a career path in policy and charitable arenas. Questions including how to balance civil service impartiality with personal views on political decisions; whether areas of individual research expertise can survive alongside a career outside traditional academia; and what the challenges are in moving to a policy-making role in later life. Key distinctions were drawn between civil service, public service and charitable activity with panellists encouraging audience members to always remember their core motivation, be it a desire to do good, to make a difference, or a passion for furthering a specific area of research. Our panel members reminded our researchers of the importance of life-long learning, of being open to broad external networking, and seeking out those who can help you on your way, as well as the importance of understanding the communities you are trying to serve.
We are grateful to all those who give up their time to share insights and experience with our researchers, and delighted by the positive feedback we have had from both attendees and panellists.
The Bridge at Hughes Hall initiative leverages the College’s multi-disciplinary perspective, international nature and external focus to bring the research and expertise of its academic community to solve real world problems. The Bridge facilitates interaction and connection between academic experts and policy-makers, practitioners and industry leaders to promote dialogue, understanding and innovation. It drives the translation of research and knowledge, turning brilliant ideas into lasting change, and equips our researchers to progress successfully in their future careers, whether in academia or the wider world.