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Past Event Archive

Past EPOC events


11th May 2017

Launch Event: Postdoc Business Plan Competition

Are you a Cambridge postdoc working on an innovative research or having a great business idea? Then the Cambridge Postdoc Enterprise Competition is the ideal platform for you.

Are you looking to start a company or join an entrepreneurial team with a postdoc?

We're organising this lanuch to help you learn more about the competition and, if interested, start developing an application.

  • We'll begin by hosting two previous winners to get their take on what the competition was like and how it helped them
  • We'll then follow with drinks in which enterprising people looking for partners to enter with can meet and exchange ideas

Representatives of EPOC and Cambridge Enterprise will come along to answer any questions.


23rd May 2017

Enterprise Fair

You are invited to join postdocs from across Europe to learn about entrepreneurship and corporate venturing.  Hosted by Schlumberger in Cambridge, this event will explore key issues in entrepreneurship through a series of talks, panel sessions, one-on-one surgery sessions and networking.  Postdocs will have the unique opportunity to gain advice from start-up CEOs, corporate entrepreneurs, marketing and HR experts, IP lawyers and angel investors in one-to-one sessions.  There will also be the opportunity to network with industry leaders from across Europe, as well as other postdocs working in both industry and academia. 

This event is free to attend and exclusively open to postdocs from participating institutions.  A limited number of places are available and attendance is by application only.

To apply please complete the application form using the link below. The deadline for applications is Monday 15 May 2017. Places will be allocated to successful applicants on a first-come, first-served basis.


15th March 2017

Collaborative Drug Discovery and Entrepreneurship: AstraZeneca in the Cambridge Ecosystem

For our, next event, we'll be hosting Duncan Young from AstraZeneca to discuss the the commercialisation of drug discovery research, from a range of perspectives, including:

    • What it's like to work within Big Pharma
    • How smaller biotechnology start-ups fit into the system
    • How you can make an impact when working for a big pharma
    • How you should go about commercialising your research

Duncan will be speaking to us about his background in technology transfer in medical research council as well as his current role big pharma, how he decided to move to a big pharma, and outline various ways AZ is trying to approach academia. As usual, this event will be following by networking and refreshments with postdocs and AstraZeneca employees, so please do come along and enjoy!


Thursday 2nd January 2017

Networking Event with Cambridge Social Ventures

Ever considered a career as a social entrepreneur? Interested in joining ventures making a profound impact on the world?

Join us on the 2nd February at the postdoc centre to meet local social entrepreneurs working in biotech, education, finance, community development and more!

We will begin with a networking session where Cambridge postdocs and their spouses are invited to meet and chat with the ventures to learn about what they are doing, how people might get involved.

After that, we'll break out for pizza, beer and wine.


Wednesday 20th July

Would you like a say in how EPOC is run?  Perhaps you'd even like to get involved?  Well, EPOC needs YOU!

On Wednesday 20th July EPOC will be holding its 2016 AGM, during which we'll summarise the last year's activities and hold elections for all Committee positions.  The AGM will take place at 17:45 at Judge Business School and will be followed by a drinks and canapes reception.  Please register via eventbrite:

All Committee positions are open for election, and any postdoc registered with the Society may stand.  Roles available are outlined below.

If you intend to stand for election (or if you'd like to find out more...) you are strongly advised to attend our next ordinary Committee meeting on Monday 11th July - beer and pizza provided!  Meetings are at 18:00 at the Postdoc Centre, 16 Mill Lane.

Committee Positions:

President (Executive role): leads the Society (restricted to members of the existing Committee)

Secretary (Executive role): organises Committee meetings, takes minutes and ensures Society adheres to relevant rules and regulations

Treasurer (Executive role): responsible for Society accounts

Team Lead - Sponsorship: negotiates with external organisations to fund Society activities

Team Lead - Events: plans Society events and deals with logistics

Team Lead - Communications: responsible for all Society communications, both internally and externally

Team Lead - Consultancy: runs EPOC's flagship initiative, the Postdoc Consultancy Scheme (Cambridge Minds)

Team Lead - Competitions: responsible for overseeing the Cambridge Postdoc Enterprise Competition

7 x Additional Officers: assist with all Society activities where needed, but also encouraged to develop new initiatives!

Please note that if you intend to stand for any Committee position, you will need to inform the Society Secretary - Asha Recino - before the AGM.  You can do this by email via


Tuesday 5th July

IPS Simulating tech commercialisation

Ever wanted to learn more about Intellectual Property (IP) commercialisation, but didn't want to attend yet another seminar?

EPOC is proud to be partnering with Cambridge Enterprise and Tacit Sims to host a pilot session using the IPSim business simulation game.

The session will take place on July 5th from 17:30 at the Hauser Forum - refreshments provided.

This pilot is restricted to 12 participants in the first instance, but if successful may result in wider University access to the software.


Thursday 30th June 2016

Consultancy Skills Workshop with Cambridge Healthcare Research

Considering a career in consultancy but not sure if you fit the bill?  Then join us on June 30th for a skills workshop with local consultancy firm, Cambridge Healthcare Research.  Representatives from the company will highlight the skills postdocs need to make it in this competitive industry - and yes, they're hiring!


Monday 20th June 2016

EPOC Focus Group

The Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge Society (EPOC) is collaborating with Cambridge Enterprise and OPdA to gauge the entrepreneurial support needs of Cambridge Postdocs.

On Monday June 20th we'll be running a focus group at the Postdoc Centre to canvass the community on this important issue.  

Outcomes of the meeting will directly contribute to development strategies within the University, and will guide EPOC's range of events and initiatives moving forward.


Thursday 16th June 2016

Alan Watt: from the bench to serial entrepreneur - a chemist's tale.

Alan has over 30 years’ experience in drug discovery and development in both the Pharmaceutical and Biotech sectors. He has held senior roles in Pharma (Merck, GSK), Biotech (Cellzome, Trident Biopharma, Bicycle Therapeutics) and as an entrepreneur has founded a number of science-based companies (Elemental Thinking, Autophagix, Xenovium, XenoVida).

His Pharma roles have taken him from Head of Drug Metabolism and Head of In Vivo Pharmacology at Merck, through Head of Preclinical Development for the Neurology Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery (CEDD) at GSK. In 2008 he moved within GSK to the Immuno-inflammation CEDD, to start-up and head the Pattern Recognition Receptor Discovery Performance Unit (DPU), developing drugs for disorders of the innate immune system. In 2010 he joined Cellzome as VP of Therapeutics where he successfully led the company’s immunology drug discovery efforts and contributed to the successful exit to GSK in 2012. In 2013 Alan established Xenovium to work in partnership with Pharma and Biotech clients and additionally joined Bicycle Therapeutics as VP of Therapeutics in 2015. His latest venture, XenoVida, delivering biochemical and behavioural profiling to the weight management market, will launch in late 2016.

He holds a PhD in Drug Metabolism, an MBA from the Open Business School, a BSc in Chemistry and has over 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications. Alan also works in the voluntary sector as a Trustee of the Babraham Institute (BI), an independent charitable life sciences institute involved in biomedical research and as a Director of Babraham Institute Enterprise, the commercial arm of the Babraham Institute.


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Wednesday 25 May 2016 

Start-up skills workshop for postdocs: 'Pitching and business plan writing to make your new company stand out' - Adelina Chalmers

Are you a postdoc looking to start a company? Perhaps you’ve got an idea, but you need help getting it down on paper or presenting to investors.

Cambridge Enterprise and the Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge (EPOC) are holding a workshop on the skills you’ll need to form or get your start-up off the ground, run by Adelina Chalmers a.k.a. “The Geek Whisperer”.

Adelina has trained Professors and Senior Lecturers at Cranfield University on presenting their research and winning over industry audiences such as Airbus. She helps Cambridge University start-ups secure millions of pounds of investment and she specialises in helping researchers become entrepreneurs. She works with Cambridge Enterprise delivering the international knowledge transfer projects where scientists from across the world come to Cambridge to learn how to transform complex research findings into products or services to sell to industry. Adelina won numerous impromptu speaking competitions and speaks five languages fluently.

This workshop covers the dos and don’ts of writing a business plan, as well as hints and tips on giving the perfect investor pitch.

This event is being held in conjunction with the Cambridge Postdoc Enterprise Competition, which opens for 2016 entries on 3 May. Participants may find this workshop useful if they plan on entering the completion. More information on the competition can be found here.

Spaces for the workshop are limited, so reserve your place today. 


Monday 18th April 2016

'Cambridge: Silicon Fen Or Something Completely Different?' - David Gill, St John's Innovation Centre

This event featured a presentation from one of the most experienced entrepreneurs in Cambridge: David Gill, Managing Director of St John's Innovation Centre.

David has compared California's Silicon Valley with our very own Cambridge Cluster, highlighting the differences in these key entrepreneurial environments in a brilliant talk!

David Gill is Managing Director of the St John’s Innovation Centre Ltd in Cambridge. He previously set up and ran the Innovation & Technology Unit at HSBC Bank in London, before serving as an executive director of a venture fund focused on early-stage, technology-based investments. Educated at Cambridge, David Gill qualified as a barrister before working in corporate finance for US and UK banks. A Sloan Fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in California (2005), David is currently an Academic Collaborator at the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing. 


Wednesday 24th February 2016

Cambridge Startup Opportunities - Social Ventures

During this popular event EPOC partnered with Social Incubator East and Cambridge Connect to showcase a range of social enterprise opportunities for postdocs.

Some of Cambridge's most exciting startups pitched to a sell-out crowd in an effort to attract new volunteers, interns and employees.  Professionals from Cambridge Connect also presented their own skill-sets in a session that highlighted the breadth of untapped local talent.

This was a great chance for postdocs to see some of the most interesting opportunities in the Cambridge area and gain insight into the Cambridge network.

Social Incubator East and OPdA kindly sponsored the highly productive networking session that followed.



Past EPOC events 2015

Friday 11th December 2015

'Evaluating the Potential of an Academic Discovery' 

During this postdoc-specific event Amy highlighted the different options available to those looking to commercialise their research or ideas, discussing the key steps (and pitfalls) in the spin-out and start-up processes through her own direct experience. 

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Amy is a Visiting Industrial Fellow and the i-Teams Programme Director at Cambridge University.  She is a serial entrepreneur who has held senior sales, marketing and business development roles in both start-ups and multinational companies, and now focuses on turning university research into commercial success. 


Monday 23rd November 2015

'From Research to Engineering to Mergers & Acquisitions and back again'

Simon Bittleston gave an excursus of his longstanding career at Schlumberger, leaving academia with a PhD in Fluid Mechanics in 1993 and becoming Vice President of Research in 2012. His talk was very inspiring and gave attendees a great overview of the options open to them in the industrial sector.

Simon was accompanied by fellow Schlumberger employees – all former postdocs – who also highlighted their experiences of leaving the lab. 

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Simon Bittleston is currently responsible for research centers in Boston, Cambridge (UK), Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Stavanger, Edmonton, Houston and Dhahran, covering all aspects of oilfield activities.


Thursday 19th November 2015

'Commercialising your ideas as a Cambridge Postdocs: what you need to know'

Very interesting talk by Bradley Hardiman, Life Science investment manager within the seed funds team at Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University. He explained in detail how Cambridge Enterprise could assist and advise postdocs that want to bring new ideas to market. The audience was clearly engaged given the high number of questions fielded and everyone left with a much greater understanding of the commercialisation routes open to them.

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Thursday 15th October 2015

'Lab rat to fat cat: my switch from academic to entrepreneur'

Marc Warner gave an excellent talk about his will to become an entrepreneur whilst on track to become a theoretical physicist at University. He gave the focused postdoctoral attendance a very powerful insight about his valuable personal experience in a very friendly and informal way. Thank you again Mark!

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Marc holds a Research Fellowship in Physics at Harvard University, studying quantum metrology and quantum computing. His PhD research, in the field of quantum computing, was published in Nature and covered in the New York Times. He has worked in finance and consulted in numerous roles for a range of clients including the UK Houses of Parliament, on solar electricity, for a multinational corporation, on glass damage, and various start-ups on talent selection and data-driven decision making.


10th August 2015

'Raising Venture Capital' - Jason Pinto, Amadeus Capital Partners

Following our first two events discussing the challenges faced by the aspiring postdoctoral entrepreneur, Jason discussed the key criteria that VCs use when investing their money. The event was well attended by over 50 postdocs and we thank the EPSRC IAA for having sponsored the lunch.

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16th June 2015

Starting a company: thinking of the right questions and knowing where to get the answers

The event consisted of three 25-minute talks followed by a Q&A session and light refreshments, and our guest speakers will include:

  • Sabine Bahn, Laboratory Head, Cambridge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Research, University of Cambridge.
  • Anne Marie Droste, Head of European Outreach, Entrepreneur First (EF)
  • Christian Bunke, Founder and Managing Director, Basck ltd.

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21st April 2015 - First Annual General Meeting (AGM)

On the 21st of April EPOC held its first Annual General Meeting. Its constitution has been approved and you can find it here.


21 January 2015

'Considering the Options for Postdocs: Publishing & Getting Grants vs. Starting Companies'

EPOC's first event saw some 80 delegates listening to four of Cambridge's most successful entrepreneurs tackling the issue of taking the leap from academia.

Stuart Evans, Victor Christou, Andrew Lynn and Tuomas Knowles used their personal experience of starting/funding multiple tech-based companies to explore the dilemmas Postdocs face when deciding to take an entrepreneurial path.

Following excellent presentations, delegates were able to question the panellists before an energetic networking session.

Stuart Evans has kindly provided his entire presentation for download – click here for the PDF.

Andrew Lynn and Tuomas Knowles also announced that their rapidly-growing startup,Fluidic Analytics, is hiring! For more information visit:

A HUGE thank you to all our speakers and sponsors for enabling this inaugural EPOC event – watch this space for further additions to the schedule!


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