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The Gurdon Institute

01.12.20 The Gurdon Institute wins Silver Engage Watermark for public engagement

The Silver Engage Watermark, awarded by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, recognises the Institute's 'robust and committed approach to public engagement'

The Gurdon Institute has been awarded the Silver Engage Watermark, the first such award at the University of Cambridge


Universities are developing more effective and meaningful ways to engage with society. To recognise these achievements the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) runs the Engage Watermark – a charter mark awarded to universities for excellence in their support and practice of public engagement in all aspects of their work.

The Gurdon Institute has been awarded a Silver Watermark at the Engage 2020 Festival. The award acknowledges the strategic support for public engagement across the organisation, as well as the plans to develop this work in the future. The Institute is the first part of the University of Cambridge to win an Engage Watermark, while only three other institutions across England are receiving awards in 2020.

JA holds Engage Award

Julie Ahringer with the award, which was announced at an online ceremony on 1st December by Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, CEO of UK Research and Innovation

Professor Julie Ahringer, Director of the Gurdon Institute and Chair of its Public Engagement Committee, said: "I am absolutely delighted that the Gurdon Institute has been awarded a Silver Watermark for our public engagement work. We strive to make our fundamental biological research accessible and responsive to the public for the mutual benefits of inspiration, knowledge-exchange and trust. This award recognises the quality of our past activities and our exciting and ambitious plans for the future." 

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Dr Hélène Doerflinger, who developed the Institute's public engagement programme and was appointed Public Engagement Manager in 2017, said: "The Silver Engage Watermark award is a great achievement for the Gurdon Institute, and I am very grateful to all our staff who have dedicated time for engaging with the public alongside pursuing their research. This award is also a stimulus to do even more in future!"


Watch a video animation about the Gurdon Institute's public engagement strategy

Paul Manners, Co-Director of the NCCPE said: "Since the early days of the NCCPE we have been championing a culture in higher education where public engagement can thrive.  The Engage Watermark offers a benchmarking opportunity for institutions to evidence their commitment and achievements – combined with intelligence gathering to inform their future planning. We are delighted to be able to award The Gurdon Institute a Silver Engage Watermark."

"The Institute is a jewel in Cambridge University’s crown, with a robust and committed approach to public engagement. Their focus on excellent and high quality delivery of public engagement matches the excellence of their science – and they set a high standard for the rest of the university to aspire to. We were delighted to see that their action plan includes a commitment to sharing their expertise nationally, to model just what can be achieved with strong leadership and vision." 

The NCCPE is supported by UK Research and Innovation, the devolved Higher Education funding bodies, and Wellcome, and has been hosted by the University of Bristol and UWE Bristol since it was established in 2008.


You can watch the virtual ceremony announcing the Engage Watermark Award winners for 2020 on YouTube.




Institute reopening

The Gurdon Institute reopened on Monday 15th June. Many staff will continue to work from home, and all staff may be contacted by email.

Studying development to understand disease

The Gurdon Institute is funded by Wellcome and Cancer Research UK to study the biology of development, and how normal growth and maintenance go wrong in cancer and other diseases.

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