Strathclyde partners in New Enlightenment summit


Leading scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and policy makers came together this week at a University of Strathclyde-supported event to explore the opportunities of a ‘new enlightenment’.

The two-day summit at Braemar brought together leading figures to examine issues and advancements in fields including medicine, public health, artificial intelligence, space, biodiversity, the green industrial revolution and leadership.

Contributors to the event included Nobel laureates, economists, politicians, writers and engineers. The summit was hosted by the Sustainable Markets Initiative, in association with Strathclyde.

Strathclyde Principal Professor Sir Jim McDonald was interviewed in a presentation session at the summit by BBC journalist Sarah Smith. He said: “The Braemar Summit was a celebration of the best of science, engineering and technology, and their ability to solve the great challenges of our time.

“Strathclyde was the only university founded in Scotland during the Enlightenment period of the late 18th century and early 19th century. It was established as part of a quest for useful, purposeful knowledge and education, and today’s global challenges confirm this mission is as important as ever. Given our Enlightenment roots, it was wholly fitting that we supported the event and that our students had the opportunity to take part in proceedings.

“With subjects of the summit including energy, space, the environment and the green economy, the University’s representatives were well-placed to make a constructive contribution and underline Strathclyde’s strategic impact in working with government and industry to solve global challenges.”

Participants in the summit also included: Dame Sarah Gilbert, who was among the leaders in the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine; geneticist Sir Paul Nurse; structural biologist Venki Ramakrishnan; UK Government Ministers Alok Sharma and Kwasi Kwarteng; entrepreneur Baroness Lane-Fox and mathematician and broadcaster Dr Hannah Fry.

The summit also saw the announcement of the winner of the Alexander Fleming Prize, awarded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation for the best doctorate level thesis on public health. The prize was awarded to Marcel Gehrung, CEO of diagnostics company Cyted, following consideration by a judging panel including our Principal.

The event was organised by Sarah Sands, journalist and Board Director of Hawthorn Advisors, Roger Highfield, Science Director at the Museum Group, and Ewan Venters, CEO of art gallery Hauser and Wirth.

The University of Strathclyde has been ranked joint 32nd in the world and first in Scotland in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021, which measure how more than 1,100 global higher education institutions are working towards the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.