Claire Cockcroft

Programme Director, Margaret Thatcher Scholarship Trust

As Programme Director of the MTST, Claire is responsible for mentoring and supporting the Thatcher Scholars and for publicising and evaluating the Thatcher Scholarship Programme. Claire also devises, adapts and oversees the Development Programme, which is open to all students of Somerville.

Claire read Biochemistry at Somerville before gaining a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from the University of Cambridge. During her Post-Doc in Cambridge, she was awarded a Media Fellowship, working with Tim Radford at The Guardian and subsequently as a freelance science writer. After deciding to hang up her lab coat in 2001, Claire pioneered a cross-disciplinary Master’s Programme in Bioscience Enterprise at Cambridge in partnership with MIT, aimed at bio-entrepreneurs and future leaders of the life science sector.

In 2005, Claire joined the Babraham Institute – a biomedical research organisation in Cambridge – where she was responsible for corporate communications, media liaison, public engagement and knowledge exchange and undertook PR for the campus, home to over 40 life science companies. She established a successful Science & Society Programme delivering novel science enrichment activities for schools, and summer research opportunities to inspire young people about science and STEM careers. During this time, Claire was a Graduate Tutor at Newnham College, Cambridge providing pastoral support and mentoring for a growing graduate community.

Claire is a trustee of STEM Team East, an educational charity that enriches science in schools, and has received awards for work with schools. She joined the Board of the biomedical charity Understanding Animals in Research in 2016 and is a member of the BioIndustry Associations’ Communications Advisory Committee. After joining the Centre for Personalised Medicine in Oxford during its start-up phase in 2013, Claire now offers consultancy in science communication and public engagement. She is a fellow of the Society of Biology, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and in 2012 was selected as a fellow of the British-American Project – a transatlantic leadership network from a broad spectrum of occupations and backgrounds.

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