Latest news

The Vice-Chancellor talks about Brexit

24 Oct 2018


The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, has today released a video in which he discusses the University’s concerns relating to the UK’s departure from the European Union and outlines the University’s position on the mobility of students and staff, and the importance of research collaboration with European partners.

In the video, Professor Toope reassures staff and students that the University is “not just passively waiting for Brexit to happen” but, through detailed scenario planning, political engagement, and a strong focus on international partnerships, is actively working to ensure that Cambridge is able to bring its “fullest contribution to society, whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.”

The University’s dedicated Brexit webpages can be found here:

On this site, you can find FAQs on issues such as fees and funding, key University contacts, as well as the latest Brexit analysis from Cambridge experts. These pages are regularly refreshed as new information emerges. 


The Science of Hallucinations

19 Oct 2018

Darwin College Team win First Round Contest on 'University Challenge'

14 Aug 2018


Many congratulations to the Darwin College 'University Challenge' Team who won their first round match against SOAS, University of London on Monday 13th August. This is the first time that Darwin College has entered a team into the contest, and they performed brilliantly. The team consisted of Stuart MacPherson, Christopher Davis, Jason Golfinos (Captain) and Guy Mulley.  The final score was Darwin 260, SOAS 90.

Good luck in the next round. Go Darwin!

If you missed the programme you can catch up here.

Professor Martin Jones elected a Fellow of the British Academy

26 Jul 2018

Darwin College is delighted to announce that Vice-Master Professor Martin Jones has been elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in recognition of his work in the field of archaeobotany.  Professor Jones is one of six Cambridge academics elected as Fellows of the British Academy in 2018

Professor Jones is the George Pitt-Rivers Professor of Archaeological Science in Cambridge, and his work covers bio-archaeology and early agriculture, including the spread of crops across the ancient world. Commenting on his election, Professor Jones said: "It is a real privilege to join the Academy at a time when the humanities and social sciences have more to offer society than ever before."  

Martin joins a number of other Fellows and Honorary Fellows of Darwin College who are also Fellows of the British Academy: Geoffrey Lloyd (Ancient Philosophy & Science, former Master), Karalyn Patterson (Neuroscience), and Amartya Sen (Economics & Philosophy, Honorary Fellow). 

Full list of new British Academy Fellows

Darwin student wins prestigious Cambridge-McKinsey Risk Prize

22 Jun 2018

Ann Sofie Cloots has been awarded the prestigious Cambridge-McKinsey Risk Prize at the Cambridge Risk Centre's annual Risk Summit in London for her research on the risks associated with the acceptance and use of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology.  Ann Sofie is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, working on the legal theory of the company and the economic and behavioural assumptions behind it. She studied law at KULeuven (Belgium), NYU and Columbia, focusing on public international law. She qualified as a lawyer in Brussels, where she worked for Cleary Gottlieb and Skadden Arps in the corporate and competition law departments. Her current research interests include the legal and societal implications of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, law & economics and behavioural economics.

Darwin hosts Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier

Prof Charpentier (right) with the Master, Prof Mary Fowler

21 Jun 2018

On Wednesday 20 June, Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, by the University of Cambridge.  Following the ceremony in the Senate House, it was Darwin College's honour to host Professor Charpentier to dinner in College. 

Microbiologist and geneticist Emmanuelle Charpentier was educated in Paris at the Pierre and Marie Curie University and the Institut Pasteur, where she completed her doctorate. Director of the Department of Regulation in Infection Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Founding and Acting Director of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin and a Honorary Professor at Humboldt University, her early career was made in the United States. Returning to Europe and to Vienna in 2002, she later moved to Sweden and Umeå University, before coming to Germany to the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig and Hannover Medical School. A world-leader in the understanding of regulatory mechanisms underlying infection and immunity, the pioneering work of Professor Charpentier and her team on the deciphering of bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 immune mechanism, and its development into a genome editing tool together with Jennifer Doudna’s lab is acclaimed as one of the outstanding advances of our time in biology and medicine. Winner among a series of prestigious prizes of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Leibniz Prize and the Carus Medal, a Canada Gairdner Award and the Japan Prize (both with Jennifer Doudna) and a BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award (with Doudna and Francisco M. Mojica), in 2016 Professor Charpentier was appointed a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur.

Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day - Friday 2 November 2018

15 Jun 2018

The University of Cambridge, alongside the Cambridge Departments and
Colleges, invite you to the Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day on Friday
2 November 2018. The day is open to all those seeking to apply for
postgraduate study at the University and will provide opportunities to
meet department staff, explore the Colleges and find out more about
the application process, research proposals and funding opportunities.

During the morning of the event, you will be able to tour the
Colleges, and speak with current postgraduate students to find out
about student life in the vibrant city of Cambridge. In the afternoon,
prospective applicants will have the chance to learn more about
individual courses by talking to academic staff and by visiting
departments. We will also offer a central Exhibition Hub where
detailed information about the application process is available, with
Graduate Admissions Office staff on hand to answer questions about
postgraduate study at Cambridge. In addition, the Exhibition Hub will
provide further opportunities to talk to department staff and
postgraduate students to find out about the hundreds of postgraduate
courses offered by the University of Cambridge.

For those of you who are new to Cambridge, the Postgraduate Open Day
is an opportunity to find out more about the University, departments
and Colleges, enabling you to get a feel for our wide-ranging
postgraduate community as well as having the opportunity to meet staff
and interact with current students.

Bookings for the Postgraduate Open Day will open later this summer. If
you would like to be kept up-to-date about when bookings open for the
Postgraduate Open Day 2018, you may wish to sign up to our mailing
list on the Graduate Admissions Events webpage.

If you have any queries about the Postgraduate Open Day 2018, please
do get in touch at

Dr Richard Henderson has been appointed a Companion of Honour

11 Jun 2018

It is a great honour to join such a distinguished group of people from all walks of life. My scientific mentors Max Perutz and César Milstein were earlier Companions of Honour, so it is a great delight to me to be able to continue in this tradition - Dr Richard Henderson.

I am delighted that Darwin College Fellow Richard Henderson has been appointed a Companion of Honour - this and his Nobel Prize are richly deserved indeed.  He follows exactly in the footsteps of the late César Milstein, Darwin College Fellow, Nobel Laureate and Companion of Honour.   Richard's skill and his immense dedication benefit us all, bringing hope for much needed treatments for a wide range of diseases - Master, Professor Mary Fowler.

Cheers! Milton Brewery launches new beer in honour of Professor Martin Jones

23 May 2018

Royal Society elections 2018

10 May 2018

Major new collaboration on the Thwaites Glacier

07 May 2018

Drinking more than five pints a week could shorten your life, study finds

17 Apr 2018

Darwinians Wove ‘Candy Cane’ Polymer Network for Future Energy Storage

17 Apr 2018

Darwin member, Tiesheng Wang, supervised by Dr Stoyan Smoukov who is a former Darwin fellow, has developed a flexible electrode for energy storage using ionically conducting polymer and electronically conducting polymer inter-woven like the red and white of a candy cane. Such electrodes could significantly enhance charge storage capacity, electrochemical stability and mechanical robustness compared to current technologies.

Their ground breaking research was featured at the 255th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemistry Society (ACS) in New Orleans in March 2018 with both a press release

and a press conference interview ( ).

Tiesheng is a 3rd Year PhD student affiliated with both the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy and the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies and Applications. He recently received one of the 2018 Cambridge Society for the Application of Research (CSAR) PhD Student Awards for Applied Research as recognition for his contribution for developing functional materials with interpenetrating structures that can benefit sensing, energy storage, and catalysis:
The awards were presented at a ceremony earlier this month, which was jointly hosted by Professor Stephen Toope, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Professor Andrew Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations at the University of Cambridge and Professor Sir Mike Gregory, President of CSAR.

Helping police make custody decisions using artificial intelligence

17 Apr 2018

Master of Darwin College to receive Honorary Degree

17 Apr 2018

Cambridge and AI: what makes this city a good place to start a business?

10 Apr 2018

Statement on the USS Dispute

22 Mar 2018

We the undersigned Fellows of Darwin College make the following statement in our personal capacities:

The disruption to education and research caused by the current dispute between UUK and UCU is deeply regrettable, and we exhort our employer institutions and the union to reach agreement as soon as possible. We call for greater transparency and due process in the consultations being undertaken and in the disclosing of the methodology used for modelling risk.

We note the interests and concerns of all the academic community and especially of younger academic staff who will be most affected by the changes proposed by Universities UK. Any settlement will only be acceptable if such interests and concerns are addressed as fully as possible.

We regard it as vital for the future health of British universities that the terms of academic employment, including pension provision, remain or are made fair and attractive, particularly in the context of the quest for talent in a global pool.

Professor Michael Akam
Dr Paul Anderson
Dr Sara Baker
Professor Alan Blackwell
Professor Carol Brayne
Dr Alexandra Brintrup
Professor Russell Cowburn
Dr Julia Davies
Dr Arthur Dudney
Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith
Dr David Friedman
Dr Adrian Grounds
Professor Jonathan Heeney
Dr Matthew Jones
Professor Martin Jones
Professor Fiona Karet
Dr Johannes  Knolle
Dr Torsten Krude
Dr Thomas Maguire
Dr Duncan Needham
Dr John Nilsson-Wright
Dr Robin Reuvers
Dr Paul Robertson
Dr Advait Sarkar
Dr Aylwyn Scally
Dr Jennifer Schooling
Dr KC Sivaramakrishnan
Dr Giancarlo Soavi
Dr Christine van Ruymbeke
Mr Samuel Venn
Dr Daniel Weiss
Mr Julius Weitzdorfer
Professor Eric Wolff

22 March 2018

Dr Jan Löwe appointed Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology

08 Mar 2018

Darwin Fellow, Dr Jan Löwe, has been appointed as the next Director of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB).

Dr Löwe, who became a Fellow of Darwin College in 2012, is currently the joint head of the Structural Studies Division at the LMB, and Deputy Director of the Institute.

Founded in 1962, the LMB is a multi-disciplinary research institute dedicated to the understanding of important biological processes at the levels of atoms, molecules, cells and organisms, towards solving key problems in human health. Scientists at the LMB tackle difficult long-term research problems and have made revolutionary contributions to science – such as in the sequencing of DNA and pioneering the method of X-ray crystallography to determine protein structure.

As Director, Jan will have control of a core-budget of some £190 million over five years and direction of over 700 research and support staff.

He said: “Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought in 1996 when I came here that I would one day be the director of this great institute. Being given such an important job makes me feel both excited and humbled. I will aim to preserve and develop LMB's very special culture and people, so that new ideas keep the LMB at the forefront of molecular biology, where it belongs."

The LMB continues to produce exceptional scientific outputs, and since its foundation, 15 LMB scientists have been awarded Nobel Prizes for their work, the latest being Dr Richard Henderson (who is also a Fellow of Darwin College), who was awarded the 2017 Chemistry Prize for the development of cryo-electron microscopy.

Darwin College has had a long and distinguished list of Fellows, Honorary Fellows, and alumni who have been associated with the LMB, including three Nobel Laureates: Max Perutz, Richard Henderson, and César Milstein.

Master is the Guest of Honour at opening of Rutherford Building

Professor Fowler with NZ Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern

22 Feb 2018

Darwin College's Master, Professor Mary Fowler, who is the great-granddaughter of Lord Rutherford, was the guest of honour at the opening of the new Ernest Rutherford building at the University of Canterbury (UC), Christchurch, New Zealand.

The new building, which is the first stage of the NZ$220 million Rutherford Regional Science and Innovation Centre, was opened by the Prime Minister of new Zealand, the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, with fanfare and fireworks, in front of hundreds of invited guests.  Lord Rutherford, one of the pre-eminent experimental scientists of the twentieth century, was one of UCs most famous alumni. 

Professor Fowler (l) and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (r) are pictured left holding some of Lord Rutherford's many medals. 

The new building, described as "complex as a hospital to construct", with over 30 gases and liquids piped into many different laboratories, the new building includes specialist teaching and research laboratories for physics, astronomy, chemistry, geology, geography and biological sciences. Over five floors there are numerous laboratories, a UAV/drone room, 3D medical imaging, a cloud chamber, radioactivity lab, a superconduction magnet lab and a herbarium.

UC Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr said: "This building represents a significant investment by the Crown and the University following the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes when, in September 2014, the Crown signed a UC Futures agreement with the University to provide up to $260 million in funding for buildings that would accommodate the Colleges of Science and Engineering. Ernest Rutherford is the first of two buildings for the College of Science, and contains teaching and research laboratories alongside postgraduate areas, informal learning and social spaces for chemistry, physics, astronomy, geography, geology and biology.”

Before leaving New Zealand, Professor Fowler has spent time meeting alumni of Darwin College in Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland. 

External link: UC news story

To The North - Migration

12 Jan 2018

Political chaos and social distress are driving people northwards, and the pressures of climate change may yet force the movement even of those populations whose states and economies are presently stable.  In the scope of a small exhibition, curated by Libby Howie, ‘To the North’ uses works by three British artists, the sculptor, Sir Antony Gormley, the photographer Cristian Barnett, and the painter Billy Childish, to suggest ideas about what we will find,  what will challenge us, and what we will transform, as we make the journey north.

Cristian Barnett’s photographs record his encounters with the redoubtable individuals who inhabit the countries of the Arctic Circle.  Their portraits express self–reliance and sheer physical toughness, but also suggest that these men and women are freer to live as they please than the more regimented societies of the South, in spite of the challenges that their communities now face.  They endure – but they also extemporize, invent and enjoy.

The landscape of the North has been a lifelong theme for Billy Childish.  Sometimes his worlds of forests, rivers, ice, and cool light are peopled by fishermen or woodsmen, sometimes by the artist himself, sometimes only by ourselves as witnesses. They offer a sense of the north as a space in which we might move and enact our own liberty with only the constraint of harmonizing and working with our surroundings.

Antony Gormley’s ‘The Angel of the North’, is one of 12 maquettes made in 1996 for the huge steel sculpture that greets travellers as they journey north past Gateshead.  In a disordered world the figure abides, resolute and welcoming – and a reminder in its powerful physicality that migration is the movement, not of ‘swarms’ or ‘hordes’ but of individual, embodied human beings.

The exhibition will run from 19th January until 9th March.  It will be open for public viewing on Sundays between these dates from 2pm to 5pm, and, in February only, on Mondays  from 5pm until 7pm.  Darwin College members and alumni are invited to visit the exhibition at any time in the period during weekday office hours when the room is not otherwise being used - check with the Porters in advance if you are making a special trip.

Honorary Fellow Professor Dame Jean Thomas announced as Chancellor of Swansea University

10 Jan 2018

She will present degree awards to graduates on 8 January during Swansea University’s winter degree ceremonies (8 January – 10 January 2018) to be held at the Great Hall at the University’s Bay Campus. More

Honorary Fellow Professor Nicola Padfield awarded QC honoris causa

04 Jan 2018

Nicky is Professor of Criminal and Penal Justice at the University of Cambridge. In addition to her academic work, she sat as a Recorder from 2002-2014. She is a Bencher of the Middle Temple, and is currently Vice-Chair of its Education and Training Committee. In addition the citation stated that she "has made a huge contribution to the criminal justice system in a practical capacity, in addition to her work in academia, where her research focuses on sentencing and parole". Professor Padfield is also Master of Fitzwilliam College. More


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