Meet the team

Festival Director

Dr Dane Comerford

Dane has steered the strategic and creative direction of the Festival since 2017. He has developed a strong network of academic and corporate supporters for the Festival and has worked with several community groups to co-produce projects linking local people with researchers and artists to generate innovative projects and act.


Festival Manager

Cathy Rose

Cathy leads on the operational side of the Festival, liaising with speakers, performers, venues and volunteers to produce the printed and on-line programme and ensures all the events run smoothly. She also manages the Festival’s finances and administration.


Dr Ian Thompson (Chair)

Ian founded Buckingham Technologies to support companies in their research strategy and delivery, leading to the commercialisation of new technologies and products. He was formerly Managing Director Sharp Laboratories of Europe Ltd.

Rory Campbell (Deputy Chair)

Rory set up The Urban Music Foundation in 2009. An experienced youth worker, he delivers mentoring services, and runs music, lyric writing and arts projects with adults and young people across Oxford and beyond. AKA Rawz, he is a rapper, MC and poet, performing across Europe as a solo artist and with the Inner Peace Records collective.

Dr Claire Cockcroft

Claire is Programme Director of the Margaret Thatcher Scolarship Trust at Somerville College, Oxford. She offers consultancy in science communication and public engagement and is a fellow of the Society of Biology and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

Dr Tim Hart

Tim is Development Director at Oxenta, leading the Entrepreneurship & Accelerator service line and has a background in technology commercialisation and entrepreneurship.

Professor David Pyle

David is a volcanologist and Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford. He was appointed the Mathematical, Physical and Life Science Division’s first Academic Champion for Public Engagement with Research in 2017.

Sarah Macnaughton

Sarah is a self-employed consultant, specialising in innovation and the exploitation of Intellectual Property. From 2006, she worked at Oxford University Innovation, moving in 2017 to Oxentia Ltd, as Non-Executive Director.

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