Dr Dane Comerford

Acting Head of Public Engagement

Tel: 01223 764069 (internal 64069)
Email: Dane.Comerford@admin.cam.ac.uk

Dr Dane Comerford has worked in research-intensive universities for the last decade and currently manages public engagement strategy, training and events at the University of Cambridge, providing a service to over 100 academic departments. Events connect academic research with around 100,000 face-to-face public participants and reach a global audience via online, print, TV and radio coverage. Training activities include structured courses, a series of technique-led sessions and bespoke workshops for research groups. Strategy includes identifying ways to work with and develop the University of Cambridge and external capacity for increasing the quality of public engagement with research.

Dane has degrees from the Universities of Birmingham and Bristol, was a JSPS research fellow at Kyoto University and has previously worked at the Centre for Public Engagement at the University of Bristol. His public engagement connections include colleagues at RISTEX in Japan, The Royal Society and British Science Association in London, the Living Knowledge Network across Europe, and the Science Festival Alliance and AAAS in USA.


  • MSc Natural Sciences, University of Birmingham
  • PhD Chemical Physics, University of Bristol


Festivals and Engagement Events

Malavika Anderson

Festivals and Outreach Coordinator (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences)

Tel: 01223 764930 (internal 64930)
Email: Malavika.Anderson@admin.cam.ac.uk

Malavika Anderson is responsible for the co-ordination of the annual Festival of Ideas – curating, delivering and evaluating a series of public engagement projects in the arts, humanities and social sciences. She liaises with researchers and academics across the School of Arts and Humanities and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences in planning their Public Engagement projects and involvement in the Festival of Ideas. She is also responsible for managing and delivering the Rising Stars training programme in Public Engagement and Cambridge Shorts project for early career researchers. 

Prior to joining the University of Cambridge in 2012, Malavika worked in the cultural sector in roles associated with the management and co-ordination of festivals and other projects in the arts. As Programme Co-coordinator for South Asia in the Department of Culture at the Goethe-Institut, Malavika was responsible for introducing new projects, obtaining funding and liaising with teams in thirteen cities and seven countries on the development of new cultural strategies and their implementation. Prior to that at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, she was a member of the Curatorial Department of Film and assisted in the conception and delivery of two major projects – The New India and Premiere Brazil.


  • BA Hons English, University of Delhi
  • MA Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi


Dr Lucinda Spokes

Festivals and Outreach Coordinator (Science)

Tel: 01223 761818 (internal 61818)
Email: lucinda.spokes@admin.cam.ac.uk

Dr Lucinda Spokes is responsible for the coordination, delivery and evaluation of the annual University of Cambridge Science Festival which takes place in March each year. She works with researchers across the Schools of Physical Sciences, Technology, Biological Sciences and Clinical Medicine to plan their public engagement projects and involvement in the Cambridge Science Festival.

Lucinda studied Chemistry at the University of Birmingham and moved to the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia for her PhD. Following this, Lucinda spent 14 years as a research scientist studying the impact of human activity on the oceans. She moved into science outreach as part of an EU funded education project producing a web-based climate encyclopaedia for schools and the general public.  Prior to her current position, Lucinda worked for STEM Team East, the STEMNET contract holder for Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, running STEM activities in schools and providing advice on STEM enrichment opportunities to teachers.


  • BSc Hons Chemistry, University of Birmingham
  • PhD Environmental Chemistry, University of East Anglia


Ariel Retik

Festivals and Outreach Assistant

Tel: 01223 765490 (internal 65490)
Email: Ariel.Retik@admin.cam.ac.uk

Ariel supports the development and delivery of the Cambridge Science Festival and the Cambridge Festival of Ideas. He works on all aspects of the Festivals: programming, marketing and publicity, planning, logistics, event delivery and management.

Ariel joined the Public Engagement Team from the Wellcome Trust, where he worked for as a Public Engagement Adviser, helping to fund, monitor and evaluate projects that engage the public with biomedical science in the UK and in low- and middle-income countries. He has Previously worked as an Assistant Editor at Elsevier.


  • BSc Hons Biology, University College London
  • MSc Science, Technology, Medicine and Society, Imperial College London


Sue Long

Festivals and Outreach Officer (Communities and Schools)

Tel: 01223 330716 (internal 30716)
Email: Sue.Long@admin.cam.ac.uk

Sue Long joined the Public Engagement team in 2008 to deliver the schools and community programmes for the 800th Anniversary celebrations.  As the Festivals and Outreach Officer, Sue is responsible for coordinating the Open Cambridge weekend and she also manages the schools and community outreach programme for both the Science Festival and the Festival of Ideas.

Prior to working for the Public Engagement team, Sue worked for Lucy Cavendish College as the Student Outreach Officer, and before that she was part of the Widening Participation team at the Cambridge Admissions Office. 


  • BA Hons History, University of Cambridge


Ellen Thornton

Public Engagement Events Assistant (Fixed term)

Tel: 01223 339666 (internal 39666)
Email: Ellen.Thornton@admin.cam.ac.uk

Ellen’s primary role is working on the heritage and cultural weekend Open Cambridge. She is project coordinator for the Open Cambridge Walk (formerly Bridge the Gap) – a large fundraising initiative between the University, the Colleges and two local charities – and she supports the planning, coordination and delivery of the Open Cambridge weekend. In addition to this, Ellen assists with marketing, event management and schools outreach for the two Festivals, and with the recruitment and management of volunteers.

Ellen joined the Public Engagement team in 2014, soon after graduating. Whilst at University, her studies focused on Cognitive Poetics, with particular application to Twentieth Century Children’s Literature. Outside of her studies she worked with Norwich Writers’ Centre to set up SPACE, a volunteer-led creative writing and reading project for disaffected young people. More recently she has studied at Cambridge Marketing College for a CIM qualification in Marketing and trained with social enterprise Cause4 on their Trustee Leadership Programme. Through this she learnt about governance and strategic planning, financial management and fundraising in the Charity and NFP sectors.


  • BA Hons English Literature, University of East Anglia
  • CIM Professional Certificate in Marketing, Cambridge Marketing College


Strategic Projects

Dr Charlotte Carroll

Public Engagement Coordinator – Biological Sciences and Clinical Medicine (Fixed term)

Tel: 01223 339201 (internal 39201)
Email: Charlotte.Carroll@admin.cam.ac.uk

Charlotte is funded by the Wellcome Trust ISSF as the Public Engagement Coordinator for School of Biological Sciences and School of Clinical Medicine. Her role is to support researchers from these schools with Public Engagement (PE) and Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) by providing training, offering bespoke advice on grant applications and specific activities, and building upon existing support networks of researchers and PE/PPI professionals.

Before joining the team in October 2015, Charlotte worked in the University of Warwick Widening Participation and Outreach team where she managed a STEM Outreach Project in Coventry secondary schools, and worked with the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Public Engagement to organise and deliver Warwick's presence at Cheltenham Science Festival. Throughout her PhD research, which investigated membrane proteins as a potential target for plant drought resistance, she was an active STEMNET ambassador and online science communicator, an A-level/undergraduate teacher, and sat on various GM Biosafety and WP University committees.


  • BSc Hons Biology, University of Southampton
  • PhD Plant Cell Biology, University of Warwick


Dr Rebecca Jones

Public Engagement Project Coordinator (Fixed term)

Tel: 01223 330302 (internal 30302)
Email: Rebecca.Jones@admin.cam.ac.uk

Rebecca is project coordinator for the RCUK catalyst seed fund. Her role is to undertake a comprehensive review of public engagement activity at the University with the view to implement a university-wide Public Engagement Strategy. Alongside this, she is also responsible for developing and launching a new Public Engagement with Research Awards, on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor.

Rebecca joined the Public Engagement team from the Royal Society, where she worked as the Public Engagement Officer responsible for the annual Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition and the Royal Society Prize for Science Books. Prior to that she spent six months on an MRC Centenary Fellowship at Columbia University, New York, exploring SciArt collaborations and has also worked as a Public Engagement Officer at the University of Bristol. Her PhD research modelled a genetically-inherited immune disorder in zebrafish using live cell imaging techniques and transgenic lines.


  • BSc Hons Biochemistry, University of Bristol
  • PhD Cell Biology, University of Bristol


Kathryn Muir

Networks Coordinator (Fixed term)

Tel: 01223 330758 (internal 30758)
Email: Kathryn.Muir@admin.cam.ac.uk

Kathryn manages a programme of training and networking events for over 200 staff working in communications roles across the University. She also organises activity around social enterprise and social innovation, coordinating an awards scheme for student social entrepreneurs. Kathryn coordinates the Cambridge heats and regional final of FameLab, an international science communication competition. She also helps coordinate ESRC-supported Impact Acceleration workshops, connecting researchers in the social sciences with representatives from external organisations for the purpose of knowledge exchange.

Kathryn has been working in the team for two years. She previously worked in various roles in local government, in the areas of housing benefit, children’s social care and community development.


  • BA Hons Sociology, University of Leeds
  • MSc Policy Research, University of Bristol (currently completing part-time)


Communications and Partnerships

Becky Wieczorek

Festivals PR and Sponsorship Coordinator (Fixed term)

Tel: 01223 761871 (internal 61871)
Email: Becky.Wieczorek@admin.cam.ac.uk

Becky is responsible for planning, coordinating and managing all press-related activity, including media liaison, for the three annual Public Engagement Festivals. Alongside this, she supports Festival sponsorship development and associated tasks.  

Becky Wieczorek has worked in communications and business development for over 20 years. Prior to joining the Public Engagement team, Becky worked as a freelance communications consultant, specialising in communications project management and copy-writing for public and third sector organisations, marketing agencies, and innovative start-ups. Her experience also includes roles with several publishing companies, creative design agencies, Arts Council England, Judge Business School, and a range of private and third sector organisations across the East of England and beyond.


  • BA Hons English and Literary Studies with Writing and Publishing, Middlesex University


Mandy Garner

Communications Officer (Fixed term)

Tel: 07789 106435
Email: mjg209@admin.cam.ac.uk

Mandy's role is as Communications Officer. She splits her time between the Public Engagement and Communications team, working for the Gates Cambridge Trust for the Communications team and on the Festival of Ideas and the Cambridge Series at the Hay Festival for the Public Engagement team. She organises the Cambridge Series and some of the debates at the Festival of Ideas and promotes both events.

Mandy joined the University of Cambridge from Times Higher Education where she was features editor. She has over 20 years' experience in journalism, having worked for the writers' organisation PEN as a researcher on threats to freedom of expression, for local newspapers, Community Care magazine and the BBC where she was a senior broadcast journalist specialising in social affairs. She was deputy editor of Learnfree, the Times Education Supplement's online portal for parents, before moving to the THE. She has freelanced for a range of publications, including The Guardian and the ESRC. She is also editor of Workingmums.co.uk.


  • BA Jt Hons French and Spanish, University of Cambridge
  • MSc International Relations, London School of Economics
  • Diploma Newspaper Journalism, London City University