Cancer Research UK Open Lab Initiative

Open Lab is a new initiative to connect cancer researchers across the UK using an online ‘matchmaking’ platform, rather like a dating website.

The Cancer Research UK Open Lab Initiative encourages CRUK Centre Network research groups, CRUK-funded laboratories, and other groups undertaking cancer-related research to hold joint group meetings online during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and beyond.

Research groups with mutual or complementary interests and expertise are matched together to spark creative discussions, generate novel scientific ideas, and potentially establish new research collaborations.

Based on an initial idea by Centre Director Professor Richard Gilbertson, the concept was developed by a team of our Centre Programme Managers.

The pilot phase of the initiative was put together in record time during the lockdown and launched to the four CRUK major Centres – in Cambridge, London and Manchester – in April.

The Open Lab Initiative is now being rolled out nationwide across the entire CRUK Centres Network so cancer researchers from Glasgow to Southampton will be able to sign up.

Research groups simply fill in their details online and the proprietary matching algorithms and Open Register make ‘meeting your ideal research partner a breeze!’

Already over 50 research groups have signed up and 17 matches have been made, almost all linking groups from different locations forming new collaborations where they might not have done otherwise.

Feedback so far has been very positive including comments such as:

"We are going to keep in touch and let each other know about any suitable funding calls that may come up we can apply for together."

"It is great the Open Lab Initiative made me aware of your work."

And all of the groups matched so far are planning to continue meeting online.

CRUK Open Lab Initiative 

Centre Director Richard Gilbertson discusses how the lockdown enabled him to kick-start the Open Lab Initiative

21 Jul 2020