In this Falling Walls Breakthrough Conversation with Ottoline Leyser, digital participants had the chance to discuss and ask questions. The interview series provided an intense personal atmosphere, in which high-level guests, speakers and panelists of the Falling Walls Science Summit 2021 focused on their individual research, career paths and experiences. Falling Walls Breakthrough Conversations is supported by Klaus Tschira Stiftung.
UK research and Innovation (UKRI)
Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser is the Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Regius Professor of Botany at the University of Cambridge. UKRI brings together the UK’s Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England, operating with a combined budget of more than £8bn per year. Prior to this Ottoline Leyser was Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge, an interdisciplinary research institute combining computational modelling with molecular genetics and cell biology in the control of plant growth and development. Ottoline has a long-term interest in research culture and chaired the Nuffield Council on Bioethics project examining these issues. She has been actively engaged in work aimed at generating a more inclusive, creative and connected culture. She has also worked extensively in science policy, for example serving as Chair of the Royal Society’s Science Policy Expert Advisory Committee, Chair of the Management Committee of the University of Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy, and as a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Member of the Leopoldina and EMBO, and an International Member of the US National Academy of Sciences. In 2017, she was appointed DBE for services to plant science, science in society and equality and diversity in science.
For over a decade, Charlotte worked at Nature in London where she launched the Nature Video Channel on YouTube and worked on the award-winning Nature Podcast. Charlotte loves all aspects of science filmmaking including directing, interviewing scientists and working with animators. Her filmmaking highlights include a music video featuring all NASA Shuttle missions; a documentary about Leonardo’s anatomical drawings; and a video about our place in the universe. She enjoys covering all areas of science, but especially anything in space and stories that draw on her degree in the history of science from the University of Cambridge. Before working at Nature Charlotte spent two years teaching English in Japan. She now lives in Frankfurt where she juggles freelance work and young children.