Kate Gross was just 36 years old when she died of cancer. Researchers at Cambridge – including her husband – are trying to ensure that others receive their diagnoses early enough to stop their cancer.
Innovation is about the application of new ideas, discoveries and inventions. The innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the members of the University of Cambridge is enshrined in the University’s mission statement to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. The foundation for innovation is the steady supply of excellent ideas, of which there is an abundance at Cambridge. Ingenuity and creativity, alongside the fundamental research which underpins these ideas and combined with the constant exchange of ideas between academics and companies, governments and NGOs has been the recipe for this success.
Various mechanisms are in place to help our academics nurture future innovation. As well as dedicated departmental support structures, Cambridge Enterprise provides technology transfer, consultancy services and seed fund opportunities, and the Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge Business School enables scientists, post-docs and researchers to translate innovation into reality through a range of practical programmes supporting entrepreneurs from start-up to scale-up.
Human genome editing, 3D-printed replacement organs and artificial photosynthesis – the field of bioengineering offers great promise for tackling the major challenges that face our society. But as a new article out today highlights, these developments provide both opportunities and risks in the short and long term.
Andy Neely is Cambridge’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations, a role which oversees the University’s activities in innovation, commercialisation and entrepreneurship. After six months in the role, he sees an entrepreneurial ecosystem that may appear complex at first – but a deeper examination reveals a combination of knowledge, expertise, support and infrastructure that makes Cambridge one of the most enterprising and entrepreneurial cities in the world.
Researchers have successfully incorporated washable, stretchable and breathable electronic circuits into fabric, opening up new possibilities for smart textiles and wearable electronics. The circuits were made with cheap, safe and environmentally friendly inks, and printed using conventional inkjet printing techniques.
When it comes to starting social enterprises, Paul Tracey and Neil Stott would love "to see a thousand flowers bloom". But doing good for society isn’t as straightforward as it sounds and even the best ideas can fail. Their research aims to understand the elements that are needed to help social ventures thrive.