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ICR alumni return to inspire the next generation at the 2019 Student Conference

2019 student conference

Image: Speed networking session.

Earlier this year, our current PhD students gathered together for the ICR’s annual Student Conference, organised each year by our student committee. As well as hearing from eminent keynote speakers focusing on the fast-developing role of AI in the healthcare ecosystem, the students also enjoyed a series of career development sessions.

A ‘speed networking’ session gave students the chance to chat to some past alumni and others about their career prospects post-PhD. The guests included people at various stages of their careers who are now working inside and outside of academia and research.

Our former students are leaders in cancer research across the UK and the world. Some 75 per cent of our science students who graduated between 1980 and 2017 are still in research careers, and 40 per cent of these are leading a research team. Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of all our research student alumni graduating between 1980 and 2005 are now professors.

We want our students to have a fulfilling and productive time at The Institute of Cancer Research, academically and in other aspects. Learn more about postgraduate life at the ICR.

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Meet our alumni

Dan Lloyd, an ICR alumnus who attended the event, completed his PhD at the ICR in 1998. He is now the Deputy Head of School of Biosciences at the University of Kent. He found it really inspiring to come back to the ICR and meet our current students: “To see the commitment they have to their work, their seriousness in considering their futures, and the friendly environment that I remember well from my own time at the ICR,” he says.

Dan was also surprised to meet one of his former undergraduate students, Alice Harbery, who is now in her final year of her PhD at the ICR. He said: “It was a proud and unexpected moment, but a great way to come full circle and hear what she’d been doing since she left Kent.”

Isla Furlong was another alumnus who attended the conference. After graduating from her PhD at the ICR in 1997, she now works as a patent attorney.

“I was excited to be invited – I hadn’t been back to the ICR since I finished my PhD so I was interested to see how it had changed and to meet today’s students,” she says. “I enjoyed being able to share tips about a career as a patent attorney – what it’s like, how to get into it, how a career can change over the years.”

Isla also found it interesting to talk to some of the other alumni about their career paths. She would definitely encourage more alumni to attend future events as she explains: “It’s a great opportunity to give back and play a part of the ICR alumni network by supporting the current students.”

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 'A sense of community'

Dan also had a great time and has similar advice: “These are students of the highest calibre and it was a great opportunity to give back to new generations,” he says. “And for those seeking to recruit talented staff, you couldn’t have a better opportunity!”

Irene Matucci, one of our current students who helped to organise the conference explains why she feels meeting some of our alumni was a great experience: “It was exciting for the students to see the many directions a PhD at the ICR could take you directly from someone who had been in the same shoes a few years back!”

“It’s also very nice to see that a PhD at the ICR won’t just stay in the past and there is a sense of community even after leaving the institute. It has inspired me and I hope one day to be able to give back to a new generation of students,” she adds.


isla furlong irene matucci
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