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Canada UK Postdoctoral Fellowships for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Canada UK Postdoctoral Fellowships for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The Canada UK Postdoctoral (CanUK) Fellowships for Innovation and Entrepreneurship aim to promote and expand the careers of talented Postdoctoral researchers to enable them to become future world-leaders and entrepreneurs embedded in internationally leading centres of excellence both in the UK and in Canada.

As Postdoctoral researchers are in a unique position to shape the future, the programme promotes career and industrial readiness. It aims to create and cultivate a cadre of motivated and strategic early-career researchers with international experience, top-level skills and global contacts across academia and industry.

Fellows have access to a diverse suite of flexible development opportunities and experiences intended to develop leadership and teamwork skills. In parallel, Fellows spend time in small groups pursuing a Global Challenge outside their area of expertise in collaboration with mentors and experts from industry, enterprise, policy, government and academia, leading to a tangible output.

In parallel, Fellows attend CanUK Fellowship events in the UK where they can network with international and Canadian industry and government leaders and also travel to Canada to network, gain key connections in Canadian innovation and entrepreneurship. A key feature of the programme is a mentoring scheme which features a ‘Davos-style’ retreat at the end of the first year and a dinner with the High Commission of Canada in London.

Fellows will then have the opportunity to bid for a period of independent time to pursue their own work on novel ideas. The projects can be anything from a conventional academic research project, to starting a business, to political or civil society engagement.


The 2018 Cohort

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is proud to announce the first four recipients of the Canada UK Postdoctoral (CanUK) Fellowships for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.


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Matias Acosta

I am a Feodor Lynen Fellow at the Materials Science Department and hold a materials engineering degree from Prof. Jorge Sabato Institute, Argentina and doctorate from the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany.

My interest lies in the synthesis and characterization of piezoelectric and ionic conductor oxides. Currently, I focus on developing nanostructured ionic electronic conductors for cathodes in solid oxide fuel cells to maximize oxygen reduction at reduced temperature. My research achievements have been recognized with 13 international awards including two covers of Journals, invited participation to the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, and outstanding academic achievements by Springer and the Technical University of Darmstadt, among others.

My passion is the need to bring science into policymaking and work actively in diplomacy projects between Argentina and the UK. I am the Curator of Global Shapers Cambridge Hub and the President of Trinity College Postdoctoral Society. I am also a committee member of numerous organizations in which I work at the interface between science and policy.

The fellowship will allow me to establish new collaborations in electrochemistry and support me in developing my knowledge in policy and diplomacy.


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Saif Ahmad

I obtained my PhD from the University of Cambridge, where based in the MRC Cancer Unit, I studied the intersection of DNA repair processes and cell-cycle control.

Now I am a post-doctoral researcher based at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, studying how breast cancers develop resistance to radiotherapy. As part of this, I am collaborating with AstraZeneca to define novel drug-radiotherapy combinations aimed at overcoming treatment resistance. I also practice as a cancer clinician within the National Health Service.

The understanding of science within the wider public is important to me. As an Assistant Editor of the Royal College of Radiologists’ Clinical Oncology journal, I lead the development of podcasts to increase accessibility to scientific and health research. My own research has also featured on BBC News online and in The New York Times. In addition, I founded an annual educational meeting for trainee oncologists based in the UK (ATOM). To improve global access to radiotherapy I am working with an international initiative – GlobalRT.

I am excited to be part of the Canada-UK programme which will enable me to develop my leadership skills, and focus on generating novel and innovative solutions to improve health outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients around the world.


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Karina Vold

I received my bachelor’s degree in philosophy and political science from the University of Toronto and her Ph.D. in philosophy from McGill University. Following on from this, I have been a visiting scholar at Ruhr University and the University of Oslo, a fellow at Duke University, and a lecturer at Carleton and McGill Universities.

I am now a philosopher based at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence and the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. My specialty lies in the philosophy of mind and cognition, neuroethics, philosophy of artificial intelligence (AI) and AI ethics. 

As a CanadaUK Fellow, I will be aiming to build partnerships between British and Canadian institutions working on AI ethics including between government, business, and academic institutions. 


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Nicole Weckman

After having studied engineering at McGill University (MEng (thesis)) and the University of Waterloo (BASc) in Canada I completed my PhD in Engineering at the University of Cambridge. Currently I am researching nanopore biosensors. More broadly, my research interests include developing micro- and nano- sensors and systems for environmental and biosensing as well as for studying fundamental aspects of complex biological systems.

I actively seek opportunities to discuss my research with a broad community both to share my enthusiasm about science with others and to engage with diverse views of how biotechnologies will affect society. Regularly I participate in outreach events encouraging girls to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

I would like to use the Canada UK Postdoctoral Fellowship to develop the entrepreneurial skills and mindset necessary to fully capture the potential of my research and translate innovative biosensor technologies into impactful healthcare solutions.

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