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School of the Biological Sciences


The Biological Sciences Early PI Network within the School of the Biological Sciences is a group of over 50 Principal Investigators who have started their lab in Cambridge in the last five years. For most of us, this is the first experience of leading a group.

The Network spans all Departments and Institutes in the School of Biological Sciences and is made up of a mix of Career Development Fellows and Lecturers whose research covers the breadth of biological sciences.

What do we do?

The main aims of the Early PI Network are:

  1. Offer peer-support and advice during the challenging transition to lab head
  2. Work with the Head and Deputy Heads of the School to implement new policies and ways of working to improve the experience of early PIs in the School.
  3. Contribute to the ongoing dialogue across the School on improving research culture more widely, including interdisciplinary working, widening participation and equality and diversity initiatives. 

Since 2018, Network members have held a regular meet-up on the last Thursday of the month during term time, for coffee and a friendly chat (previously in person, and now online).  

What have we achieved so far?

The Network have drafted a comprehensive “New PI induction checklist”, in consultation with all School Departments and Institutes. The document has been approved at the Council of the School and now constitutes part of the induction pack offered to all new recruits.

The group have also built constructive communication channels with School leadership, and are closely collaborating with the Deputy Head of Research and the newly-appointed Research Culture Leads.

Additionally, the group run internal anonymous surveys on topics such as the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns on research/lab setups, with the results presented to the appropriate School leads for consideration and action. 

Meet the Network Coordinators

Sumru Bayin

Gurdon Institute

Lida Derevnina

Crop Science Centre/ Plant Sciences

Join us

If you are a life scientist and have been offered a PI post in Cambridge, get in touch with us as soon as possible! We will find you a peer-mentor and provide advice and support while you get your lab started. We will also add you to our mailing list and MS Teams channel, shared Google Drive with useful lists and documents, and send you the calendar of upcoming meetings.


Founders and past Coordinators

Betty Chung


Jake Harris

Plant Sciences

Mekayla Storer

Cambridge Stem Cell Institute



Elisa Galliano

Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

Clare Buckley

Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

Ben Steventon

Department of Genetics

Elia Benito-Gutierrez

Department of Zoology


EMBO Laboratory Leadership Course, Cambridge

We have collaborated with EMBO to organise the EMBO Laboratory Leadership Course for Group Leaders in Cambridge. This course took place between 22 - 24 March 2023 and aimed to provide the tools and techniques needed for individuals to successfully lead and manage their research groups.