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Cambridge Institute for Medical Research


Public Engagement strategic aims at CIMR

Our PE strategy provides a roadmap, consisting of a set of guiding principles or rules, that helps define the actions staff and students in CIMR should prioritize in PE to achieve desired aims and PE vision. In order to enable direction setting our strategy purpose, vision, and value network has all been researched and mapped out in the overall PE strategy. This allows us to quickly respond to cultural movements and facilitate Institute growth. The activities in our strategy will be prioritised to diversify CIMR PE projects and programmes and create more opportunities for two-way discussion, debate, exploration, and collaboration; opening research to enhance trust in science;  considering responsible and ethical implications of research.


Opportunities include working with;

  • Patient and Public groups
    e.g. evaluation, meetings, workshops, co-creation, co-design, audits, public health research
  • Cambridge Festival events
    e.g. online events, debates, exhibits, live/ on demand lectures, comedy, virtual tour, resource packs for offline activities, virtual pub quiz.
  • Widening Participations projects
    e.g. mentoring, training, projects, outreach, programmes, education
  • Creative media
    e.g. illustrations, animations, podcasts, videos, music, films, art installations, exhibitions
  • Citizen Science
    e.g. participatory workshops, games, collaborative research programmes, research skills projects, play


Interested in working with us in these areas?



Widening Participation

CIMR is actively involved in the University of Cambridge widening participation (WP) initiative and increasing social mobility. We do a lot of work in both widening access as well as focusing on broadening our ways of working with these groups in widening participation.

This also includes working with people underrepresented at the University of Cambridge, as well as from a widening participation (WP) perspective – groups that CIMR is yet to interact with, or groups which CIMR does not currently focus significant resource. The CIMR also considers WP as new ways of working with existing groups as highlighted in the five approaches to opening up science research by NCCPE and the National STEM Forum.

The definition of “community” is any group with either a common set of interests, or those living in the same place N.B. this can include prioritizing CIMR staff and students as a community group. CIMR has a plan to prioritize existing audience groups and projects, and build one new large project each year. In doing so CIMR aims to diversify whom we are working with, and how we are working together.


Patient and Public involvement and engagement

The CIMR actively takes part in patient group engagement and involvement events and programmes. We are a unique Institute with researchers and clinicians working to find solutions for diseases within our research strategy. Our Institute's research is driven by three medical themes:

1. Rare genetic diseases

2. Neurological diseases

3. Intracellular infections and immunity 

We use biological approaches to deepen our understanding of these diseases. As a result, our engagement and involvement with patient groups is focussed around these themes. We have researchers at different stages of the R&D pipeline, with some of our PIs having their own spinout companies. Find out more about our Research Strategy here.

We are often found at events such as RareFest run by the Cambridge Rare Disease Network where the public has the opportunity to ask questions directly to our researchers. Below is a talk given by Professor Stefan Marciniak for Mesothelioma UK: “Using nanotechnology to treat Mesothelioma” 


Public Engagement training and professional development

The CIMR is keen to encourage and embed public engagement as part of our positive research culture. As we are part of the University of Cambridge staff and students are eligible to attend the free Engaged Researcher series. The training covers specific public engagement aspects from advanced evaluation, enagaging with policy, school audiences, and animating research. Last year (2020) Dr Michael Weekes won the VC Collaboration Award in research impact.




Other central professional development and recognition awards also include:


Funding Public Engagement with CIMR research 

There are a number of funding avenues available to help support the development and delivery of different types of public engagement activities. The CIMR Public Engagement Coordinator can assist you with securing funding for projects, supporting your application to external public engagement funds and help with how to consider public engagement in research grant applications.


CIMR public(s) or value network:

From current external analysis on the funding landscape and with goals of widening participation, audience groups have been prioritised at CIMR. These evolving drivers come from movement in the PE funding landscape with external stakeholders, best practice, as well as an overarching goal of strategic engagement growth: