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Bridge News: Hughes Hall researchers join the translational ecosystem

Cambridge has one of the best translational ecosystems in the world, so we kicked off our Leadership and Impact Series with a lively panel made up of the City’s translational experts.

A key component of the Bridge is preparing our current research community for life – and impact – beyond the college gates: in other research environments, business, policy-making, and practice. As part of this, we are developing a series of Bridge events, focussing on research translation, impact, and career progression. These events support our Impact Leadership Programme (ILP) for early-career researchers to help maximise their impact and employability, and enhance their CV, whilst studying at Hughes Hall, but are also relevant for the whole College community.

The Bridge series began with a lively panel discussion in December 2019 on the Cambridge Translational Ecosystem. It was an opportunity to hear from the key experts and institutions involved in the effective translation of research into policy, practice and industry.

Panelists (left to right): Professor Diane Coyle, Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy; Nicola Buckley, Associate Director of the Centre for Science and Policy; Dr Stephen Axford (chair), Director of Research Translation at Hughes Hall; Dr Agnieszka Iwasiewicz-Wabnig, Director of Partnership Development at the Maxwell Centre; Dr Hilary Burton, founding member of the PHG Foundation; and Dr Tony Raven, Chief Executive of Cambridge Enterprise.

Chaired by Dr Stephen Axford, the panel discussed a number of significant issues and challenges involved in making a difference through research, as well as explaining their role and how their organisation complements the work of others in this dynamic landscape. The discussion was guided by questions from our Impact Leadership Programme students and others in our researcher community all of whom were encouraged by the experts…to look for opportunities, to get better connected, to be open-minded and adventurous, to develop a proposition, to seek translational advice, to apply for funding and, importantly, to get in touch with the ecosystem on your doorstop that is waiting to help!

Stephen Axford reflected on the first event: ‘It was hugely valuable, as much for our senior fellows as for those beginning their research careers. Cambridge has one of the best translational ecosystems in the world. The panel provided some great advice and inspiration to help all of us better recognise – and realise – the potential in our research.’

Our Translational Ecosystem expert panelists

  • Hilary Burton is co-Founder of the PHG Foundation, a non-profit think tank with a special focus on how genomics and other emerging health technologies can provide more effective, personalised healthcare and deliver improvements in health for patients and citizens. She is also Vice-President of Hughes Hall.
  • Nicola Buckley is Associate Director at the Centre for Science and Policy, with a mission is to improve public policy through more effective use of evidence and expertise by creating opportunities for public policy professionals and academics to learn from each other.
  • Diane Coyle is co-Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy which aims to rethink public policy in an era of turbulence and growing inequality. Their research connects the world-leading work in technology and science at Cambridge with the economic and political dimensions of policy-making.
  • Aga Iwasiewicz-Wabnig is Programme Manager at the Maxwell Centre and a senior fellow at Hughes Hall. The Maxwell Centre is the centrepiece for industrial engagement with the physical scientists and engineers working on the West Cambridge Science and Technology Campus, and aims to carry out world-leading research in the physical sciences.
  • Tony Raven is Chief Executive of Cambridge Enterprise which supports academics, researchers, staff and students in achieving knowledge transfer and research impact by helping innovators, experts and entrepreneurs use commercial avenues to develop their ideas and expertise for the benefit of society, the economy, themselves and the University.

The Leadership and Impact series will continue with events on a range of issues from entrepreneurship and public service to R&D in industry.

For more information on the Bridge initiative, visit: www.hughes.cam.ac.uk/homepage/bridge. For further details of the Impact Leadership Programme, visit: www.hughes.cam.ac.uk/homepage/bridge/learning.

December 2019