Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute Inspires Future Scientists 

Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, a renowned centre for cutting-edge cancer research, marked a significant milestone on May 9, 2024, with its first-ever Cambridge LaunchPad project day. This initiative aimed to engage and inspire the next generation of scientists from local schools.

Twenty Year 9 students from Northstowe Secondary College and Sawston Village College were welcomed to the Institute for an immersive experience. The day included facility tours, interactions with researchers and operational staff, and hands-on activities designed to mirror the work of Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. 

The students explored various aspects of cancer research, from visualising cancer cells under microscopes to extracting DNA and learning about tissue preparation techniques. Other highlights of the day included using a fluorescent microscope to observe pre-stained tissue samples and exploring 3D visualization of tissue using state-of-the-art VR technology. 

Reflecting on the day, students expressed enthusiasm about the breadth of career opportunities within cancer research. One student noted, “I liked getting an insight into different STEM careers and seeing how many diverse roles are within one company.” Another student remarked on the interdisciplinary nature of the work, saying, “There is a way to apply so many different areas of STEM in cancer research.” 

Karen Woodey, Director of Operations at Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, emphasised the importance of nurturing future talent in cancer research:

“One of the most vital aspects of our work at Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute is developing the next generation of researchers. This starts with inspiring young people to consider, and indeed feel excited to pursue, a career in this challenging but rewarding field.

It has been a pleasure to welcome such a bright and ambitious group of students to the Institute – I’ve no doubt our scientists enjoyed sharing their work and talking about the impact of their research as much as the students did their own experience!” 

David Hawkins, STEM Programme Manager at Cambridge LaunchPad, praised the collaborative effort, stating,

Cambridge LaunchPad is committed to providing young people with opportunities to explore the possibilities offered through STEM careers within their local community. The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute’s participation in our programme is invaluable, offering the young people meaningful encounters with life-science professionals, and hands-on STEM experiences they may otherwise be unable to access.” 

This Cambridge LaunchPad project day exemplified Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute’s commitment to education and outreach, fostering a passion for scientific discovery among young learners and paving the way for future breakthroughs in cancer research.