Latest news

Dr Tanya Hutter

01 Jul 2016

Eminent female scientists awarded Fellowships at 2016 L’Oréal UNESCO ceremony
Five of the UK’s most promising female scientists were last night named Fellows of the L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland For Women in Science programme, in recognition of their scientific achievements in areas as diverse as gene mutation and evolutionary change; molecular changes in the brains of acute head injury patients; and Chagas disease.
The winning scientists, selected from nearly 400 applicants, were announced at a prestigious ceremony hosted at the Royal Society. They are:
·         Dr Sophie Acton, University College London, Immunology/Cell Biology
·         Dr Maria Bruna, University of Oxford, Mathematics
·         Dr Sam Giles, University of Oxford, Palaeobiology
·         Dr Tanya Hutter, University of Cambridge, Physical Chemistry
·         Dr Louisa Messenger, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Public Health
The UK & Ireland fellowships have been designed to provide flexible financial help to outstanding female postdoctoral scientists to continue research in their chosen fields. The fellowships, worth £15,000 each can be spent on whatever they may need to continue their research.
This year, four of the five winners, who are mothers of young children, plan to use part of their prize money to help with childcare costs, ensuring that they can continue their research whilst also raising young families. In addition, the money will help fund expensive equipment and travel to international conferences.
The L’Oréal- UNESCO For Women in Science programme aims to support and help increase the number of women working in sciences. In the UK, women are still underrepresented in the science community, with only 15% of STEM roles taken by women.*
Further, the sector still suffers a perception problem which is even more acute in the UK than elsewhere in Europe; research has shown that when asked to think of a scientist, just 31% of people in the UK would picture a woman (compared with 41% across Europe), while 71% think men are more suited to being high level scientists, than women (60% in Europe.)**
In response to these issues, L’Oréal has launched a manifesto ( in association with UNESCO, encouraging people to show their support for increasing gender equality in science careers.
Dr Steve Shiel, Scientific Director at L’Oréal UK & Ireland, said:  “At a time when there’s still a significant gender imbalance in the UK science community, it’s vital that organisations like ours find ways to support women in getting into and staying in science. As a company founded on science, we are committed to helping breakdown the barriers standing between students and potential scientific careers because, simply, science needs women.”
Professor Dame Carol Robinson, Head of the Judging Panel and a L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Laureate, said: “We were really impressed by the research projects each our finalists is working on, and it was tough to decide on our winning group – each is working hard to solve a specific question. We are excited that they will benefit from the very real, flexible support provided in the Fellowship, at a critical stage in their careers.”

About the winning Fellows:
·         Dr Sophie Acton is a cell biologist researching the interactions between leukocytes and stromal cells within lymphoid organs as part of the body’s immune response.  Her research focuses on how dendritic cells help transmit danger messages to lymph nodes, what causes lymph nodes to swell and expand, and how these findings can be applied to a tumour microenvironment.
·         Dr Maria Bruna is a mathematician developing models which can improve the efficiency of particle separation technologies, which are critical to a wide range of sectors from the food and pharmaceutical industries to clinical research. In stem cell research, for example, individual stem cells must be identified and separated from many thousands of neighbouring cells before they can be used in therapies.
·         Dr Sam Giles is a paleobiologist who is using x-ray tomography to study the evolution of the brain and its surrounding bone structure in ray-finned fishes, the largest living group of vertebrates, containing over 30,000 species. By comparing the brains of modern fish with 3D reconstructions of their ancestors, the research will help understand how the evolution of the brain contributed to the success of this group, with significant ramifications for understanding rates of gene mutation and evolutionary change.
·         Dr Tanya Hutter is a chemist developing a real-time online sensor which can measure molecular changes in the brains of acute head injury patients. The technology will improve upon current labour- and time-sensitive medical techniques, saving time and money. It will also allow more patients to be monitored in critical care units – an intervention which can dramatically improve patient outcomes.
·         Dr Louisa Messenger is a specialist in public health, who is conducting research into Chagas disease which, in the Bolivian Gran Chaco region, affects more than 97% of adults - approximately 30% of those will develop cardiomyopathy, for which there is no curative adult treatment available. Her research will help develop new diagnostic tests to identify which patients are at highest risk of complications, and refer children for treatment.

Three runners up were awarded £1,000 prize money:
·         Dr Tatiana Habruseva is an optical physicist examining how the latest semiconductor and silicon nanotechnology can be used to develop new, cost- and energy-efficient optical devices providing increased bandwidth, compactness, and lower power consumption than existing technology. This will support the growing need for increased bandwidth to provide high-speed internet, cloud computing, data communication and multimedia broadcast systems.
·         Dr Tzany Kokalova Wheldon is a nuclear physicist studying how chemical elements are forged in the stars. Her research will examine the decay of the rotating Hoyle State in the carbon-12 isotope, a process which is key to understanding how elements are produced, to reveal its underlying structure and the forces which create elements such as oxygen and carbon.
·         Dr Nathalie Vriend is a physical scientist examining the physics behind the formation and movement of desert sand dunes, a fast-moving phenomenon which threaten the settlements and infrastructure of up to a billion people worldwide. The research will focus on the dynamics of sand dune migration from the formation of a small ripple to the full-scale movement of a mature dune.

*According to Women in Science and Engineering, UK STEM workforce, 2015:
**According to L’Oréal Change The Numbers research, 2015:

Dr Kazutoshi Ichikawa

23 Jun 2016

The award is from the Japan Society of Naval Architects and Ocean Engineers for the Invention and Application of Highly Ductile Steels for Ship Structures. This particular steel plate prevents tearing of the structure and oil leakage in the event of collision accidents and so it contributes to preserving the natural environment.

Professor Larry Sherman

17 Jun 2016

Professor Larry Sherman has been appointed to the Swedish Royal Order of the Polar Star, as a Commander (KNO), in recognition of his services to Swedish criminology theory.

Dr Jimmy James

17 Jun 2016

The College is sorry to announce the death of Dr Ronald (Jimmy) George James on 16 June 2016, aged 84 years. Dr James was elected to the Fellowship of the College in 1969 and was a member of the Department of Engineering. Funeral details will be announced shortly.

Professor Sir David Mackay FRS 1967-2016

15 Apr 2016

It is with deep sadness that we pass on the news that David MacKay died 14th April at the age of 48.

David's funeral was held on Friday 6 May at the Arbory Trust Woodland Burial Ground. Further details are available at

He leaves a widow and young family. Our thoughts are with them. As a brilliant scientist, author, colleague and modest and kind friend he will be greatly missed.David joined Darwin College in 1992 as the Royal Society Smithson Research Fellow in Physics and was elected as an Official Fellow in 1996.

David MacKay not only made seminal contributions to information theory and its applications, but through his ability to communicate mathematical reasoning with passion, changed perceptions about the use and abuse of the term ``sustainability”. Disciplinary boundaries did not matter to him – he was a mathematician, physicist, metallurgist, biologist, engineer, entertainer, sportsman, fair trade coffee farmer, government advisor and campaigner for justice. He got his beliefs right the first time, and pursued them with vigour and principle.  His influence permeated international boundaries; he participated for a number of years in the education of mathematicians in Africa.
He was a true and lasting friend to so many; too many to mention. In Ramesh he found a perfect partner who shared many of his ideals, a dream team. Torrin and Eriska soon entered their worlds and it was a delight to see the family together, their plethora of bicycles and the adventures they had.
David was an irreplaceable part of the Darwin College community, and a tireless promoter of the cross-disciplinary ethos of Cambridge colleges to be inculcated into the University as a whole. He had the highest aspirations for the College and cared for and remained closely involved with it even when working for the government in London.  Whether as an intellectual leader, dining companion, librarian, musician, council member, lecture-series technician or in countless other services to our community, he set a wonderful example to all of us. His extraordinary achievements never dimmed his intellectual enthusiasm, modesty, personal kindness, and altruistic idealism.
David MacKay will be missed, sorely missed. But at the same time, we will celebrate his life and wish all the best for his lovely family.

Darwin College appoints new Dean

13 Apr 2016

Dr Leo Howe who has been Dean since 1994 is to retire this summer.  Dr Howe has led the College Deanery through a period in which student numbers have steadily expanded and the regulatory obligations and pastoral duties have also noticeably increased.  His vast experience and calm measured advice will be greatly missed.

Dr Needham is an economic historian.  He is a Lecturer in the Faculty of History and is the Director of the Centre for Financial History in the University.  He has been a fellow of Darwin since 2013.  His teaching capabilities have meant that he has been much in demand as a tutor in several colleges, as well as supervising and examining PhD and MPhil dissertations.  We are delighted that he is to take on the role of Dean at the College, to enable us to build on and develop Dr Howe's legacy, and to ensure that the College remains at the forefront of provision for graduate students in Cambridge.

New Year's Honours - Dr Emily Shuckburgh OBE

05 Jan 2016

Congratulations go to Professor David MacKay who has been awarded a knighthood, ‘for services to Scientific Advice in Government and Science Outreach' and to Dr Emily Shuckburgh who has been awarded an OBE 'for services to Science and Public Communication of Science'.

New Year's Honours - Professor Sir David MacKay

04 Jan 2016

Congratulations go to Professor David MacKay who has been awarded a knighthood, ‘for services to Scientific Advice in Government and Science Outreach' and to Dr Emily Shuckburgh who has been awarded an OBE 'for services to Science and Public Communication of Science'.

Honorary Degree for Professor Willy Brown

16 Dec 2015

 Honorary Degree citation

For many years Professor Brown has been a most eminent scholar in these fields, not only in the United Kingdom but also at the international level. He is arguably one of the most influential academics of his generation in both research and policy formulation. William has also had considerable influence in Australia as a distinguished academic visitor and an important advisor on industrial relations polices to various governments at both state and federal levels.

William recently retired from the University of Cambridge where he held numerous positions at the highest levels for almost thirty years. He held the Montague Burton Professor of Industrial Relations from 1985 to 2012. He served with distinction as the Master of Darwin College from 2000-2012. At various times he chaired both the Faculty of Economics and Politics as well as the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge. He was the Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences from 2009-2012.

Professor Brown has published six books and monographs and well in excess of 100 chapters in books and scholarly papers in high ranking international academic journals. His first book, Piecework Bargaining, published in 1973 has become a classic in this field. The Changing Contours of British Industrial Relations, published in 1981, provided an authoritative account of the changing nature of industrial relations during a turbulent period in Britain. The Evolution of the Modern Workplace, published in 2009, used data from successive workplace surveys to analyse the way in which collective bargaining had given way to a more individualised system of employment arrangements in the UK over several decades.

After graduating from Wadham College, University of Oxford, William joined the British National Board on Prices and Incomes as an economist. He was appointed to Warwick University where he became the Acting Director and then Director of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Industrial Relations Research Unit from 1979 to 1985. Under William’s leadership, this became the foremost research centre for industrial relations in Britain and gained an international reputation for excellence and influence in this field. William continued his leadership of industrial relations and labour relations research at the University of Cambridge not only through his research and teaching but also through his influence as a PhD supervisor and academic administrator. He has been a frequent visitor to Australia and was a Research Bank of Australia Visiting Research Fellow at Flinders University of South Australia in 1978.

William has played a key role in several important labour market institutions in Britain during the past thirty years. He continues to be a member of the panel of arbitrators of the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) to which he was appointed in 1985 and has served as a member of its Council. He was appointed by the UK government as a member of the Low Pay Commission from 1997-2007. He was Chair of the Trade Union Congress Partnership Institute Advisory Board from 2005-2010 and was a member of the Union Modernisation Fund Supervisory Board from 2005-2010. William was awarded the title of Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2003 for ‘services to employment relations’.

William is focusing much of his current research on the evolution of Chinese employment relations and protecting labour standards in a global economy. He is working on several research projects funded by the UK and Chinese governments and is a consultant to the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. William is an Honorary Professor at Renmin University in Beijing and has been instrumental in bringing together international and Chinese scholars to examine developments in Chinese employment relations.

As a frequent visitor to the University of Sydney, Professor Brown has developed close links with researchers in the Work and Organisational Studies Discipline in the Business School. He has supervised graduates from this Discipline to the completion of their doctorates at the University of Cambridge. He has also collaborated with colleagues at the University of Sydney, contributed to conferences and publications, including the journal of Industrial Relations, on which he serves as a member of the editorial advisory board.

Chancellor, I present Professor William Brown CBE for admission to the degree of Doctor of Sciences in Economics (honoris causa) and I invite you to confer the degree upon him.

Professor Sir Harry Bhadeshia

28 Oct 2015

A nice photo of Professor Sir Harry Bhadeshia's day at Buckingham Palace, courtesy of @BritishMonarchy's twitter feed!

Professor David MacKay

20 Oct 2015

Professor David MacKay has been announced as the 2016 Paradigm Award Winner in recognition of his excellence in energy and climate change analyses.

Professor Chris Bishop

04 Sep 2015

Congratulations to Professor Chris Bishop who is the new director of Microsoft Research Cambridge, the European arm of Microsoft's research organisation:

Dr Ronald (Jimmy) James

04 Aug 2015

Dr R G James has been recognised by the ASCE OTC Hall of Fame for Pioneering Innovation and Lasting Impact for his OTC Paper 'J.J. Osborne, J.C. Trickey, G.T. Houlsby, and R.G. James, Findings from a Joint Industry Study on Foundation Fixity of Jackup Units, OTC 6615 (1991).'

Royal Society medal and award winners

04 Aug 2015

Professor Elizabeth Blackburn AC FRS Royal Medal for her work on the prediction and discovery of telomerase and the role of telomeres in protecting and maintaining the genome.
Professor Russell Cowburn FRS Clifford Paterson Medal and Lecture for his remarkable academic, technical and commercial achievements in nano-magnetics.
Dr Madan Babu Mohan Francis Crick Medal and Lecture for his major and widespread contributions to computational biology.

Dr George Gömöri

04 Aug 2015

Professor Harry Bhadeshia

15 Jun 2015

Darwin College is delighted to announce that Professor Harry Bhadeshia has been awarded a knighthood, in the Queen's Birthday Honours, for services to Science and Technology:

Dr Derek Bendall

20 May 2015

Following the death of Dr Derek Bendall on 4 December 2014 a tribute has been published in Photosynthesis Research:

Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes

07 May 2015

Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes (1990, MPhil in Psychology) is the new President of the British Psychological Society.

Dr Duncan Needham

27 Apr 2015

Dr Duncan Needham, Darwin College Research Fellow, has been awarded the Economic History Society's Thirsk-Feinstein PhD Dissertation Prize for 'UK monetary policy from devaluation to Mrs Thatcher'.

Professor Susan Jebb OBE

24 Apr 2015

Professor Jebb, alumna, matriculated in 1986, studied for a PhD in Nutrition, was interviewed on The Life Scientific on Radio 4. You can hear the interview here:

Culinary news

10 Apr 2015

 At the recent University of Cambridge Culinary Competition, Darwin chefs Connor Tidey, Anton Kuznecov and Szczepan Kunkowski displayed dishes in the static dish classes.

This was all completed whilst still preparing our normal daily servery and formal halls, so an enormous achievement by all.

Under the mentoring of our Head Chef Fergus Martin the team excelled themselves in winning the following medals;

Restaurant plates starters - 

Connor Tidey – Gold medal, class winner and best newcomer

 Anton Kuznecov – Gold medal

Restaurant plates main course –

Szczepan Kunkowski – Silver medal.

A fantastic result from the Darwin College kitchen in their first competition event.

The culinary evolution continues at Darwin College!


Ivan Higney

Catering Manager 

Darwin Alumna Dr Janet Rossant

03 Apr 2015

Congratulations to Darwin Alumna Dr Janet Rossant who received the 2015 Canada Gairdner Wightman Award. Named after businessman-philanthropist James Arthur Gairdner, the Gairdner Awards were established in 1959 and are Canada’s top international medical research prizes. Janet Rossant is the first woman to win it!

Sir John Bradfield to be remembered

06 Mar 2015

Sir John Bradfield, who died late last year aged 89, is to be commemorated by the naming of a court in his honour in Darwin College. Sir John, as Senior Bursar of Trinity College, was instrumental in the founding of Darwin College in 1964, and remained actively involved with Darwin for the following half century.  With the generous support of Trinity College, the John Bradfield Court will be created as a lasting memorial to his remarkable foresight and outstanding contribution.

Sir John was a driving force in the establishment of Darwin College as Cambridge's first wholly graduate college in the modern era and its first mixed college.   The College, which has celebrated this year its 50th Anniversary, has grown from its modest beginnings into one of the largest colleges, with its membership of over 700 drawn from every discipline and from around the globe. Sir John's bursarial expertise and practicality were made unstintingly available to the College from the first steps in its foundation and for the five decades in which he contributed to the life of College, and especially to the management of its endowment. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the College in 1973.

The John Bradfield Court will be based around the former tennis court lawn on the eastern part of the Darwin domus, and will involve the creation of a John Bradfield Room (and associated amenities) for multiple uses as a significant addition to the College's facilities.  The Court will sensitively incorporate the existing historic buildings facing the river, in particular the Old Granary, the iconic face of Darwin around the world and beloved of generations of its student occupants. Trinity College has warmly supported these proposals, and will be generously making a donation of up to £1.5m towards this project.  Of this amount £0.5m is subject to matching donations to be raised by Darwin College.

Professor Nick Humphrey

16 Feb 2015

Professor Nick Humphrey has been awarded the Mind and Brain Prize 2015. The international Mind&Brain Prize was established by the University of Turin to recognise outstanding achievement in advancing our knowledge about mind and brain in the field of Cognitive Science.

Professor Sir Geoffrey Lloyd

22 Dec 2014

The prize, worth 60,000 euros has been awarded this year for Cross-Cultural Cognition.






Close menu
Site navigation mobile menu