Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor, today outlined the University’s plan of action for the next academic year, announcing it would be a time of recovery, renewal and impact.

Impact is not just a buzzword, or an aspiration – it is a concrete outcome, and Cambridge has it in spades

Stephen J Toope

Delivering the Annual Address to the University, Prof Toope said Cambridge was determined to be a champion of free speech; a University that is thinking carefully about how and why it engages with the world; and a University committed to taking academic achievement to new heights.

He said: “Impact is not just a buzzword, or an aspiration – it is a concrete outcome, and Cambridge has it in spades. It is about the technologies we create, and the discoveries we make. It is about the ideas we develop, and the shared cultural legacies we interpret and pass on. It is about making a difference in the world – even when that difference is not immediate. It is at the heart of the story we need to be telling about our University. It is what we will continue to pursue as we set out on our journey of renewal and recovery.”

During his address, Prof Toope also reflected on the challenges and successes of the past year, describing the University’s resourceful and resilient response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, and paying tribute to Cambridge researchers’ work in leading the national COVID-19 Genomics UK consortium (COG-UK) to understand how the COVID virus is transmitted, and how it evolves.

The work of Cambridge Zero - the University’s flagship climate change initiative – which has been taking an active role in advising the government and shaping the international climate agenda ahead of COP26 was also highlighted, as was the launch of the Cambridge Foundation Year, offering talented students from backgrounds of educational and social disadvantage a new route to university.

Navigating the complexities of international engagement

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