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 activities.



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.

Dr Claire Cockcroft

Claire is Programme Director of the Margaret Thatcher Scholarship 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 Director of Warwick Innovations, the technology transfer office for the University of Warwick. Prior to this he spent over 20 years working in the Oxford innovation ecosystem as a technology entrepreneur and innovation management consultant. Tim’s voluntary work includes business mentoring, school governance, and charity work focused on developing enterprise skills within disadvantaged communities.


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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