Celebrating the contribution of viral sequencing to the COVID-19 pandemic response

Professor Sharon Peacock

How sequencing became a cornerstone for scientific evidence on viral spread, immune evasion and disease severity.


Mon 21st Oct 2024

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On June 19th, we held a celebratoion of the 60th anniversary of the foundation of CSAR, and presented certificates to our twelve CSAR PhD student award winners. This took place at Churchill College; you can see the student award winners here, and some details and photos of the anniversary celebration will be posted shortly.

CSAR exists to encourage an appreciation of the application of research through lectures and online webinars, visits, the CSAR PhD student awards and outreach to schools. We make time around these for conversation and interaction (when conditions permit), providing excellent opportunities to meet people, make new friends, expand horizons, and network.

Our members are a broad mix of people, from students and researchers to entrepreneurs and business professionals, from those still at school to those already retired - all from a wide range of backgrounds. We welcome new members to our lectures, webinars, and other events, and encourage you to join CSAR online in advance of the event you wish to attend.

CSAR also makes annual awards of £1,000 each, to recognise outstanding research with real world application and to assist students to pursue their research or careers. The scheme is open to students in any discipline at the University of Cambridge, currently studying for their Ph.D.

CSAR lectures are held in the Wolfson Lecture Theatre at Churchill College, with live streaming of the event (via Zoom) for those who don't wish to attend in person. Attendance is free for subscribing members of CSAR (individual, family, business, concessionary) and for secondary school students and teachers; there's a small fee for others.

The use of Zoom means that it is now very easy to record lectures, and to put the recordings on the CSAR website; we encourage you to visit the video library or our YouTube channel, and view the excellent lectures that you may have missed. Some selected recordings are highlighted in the main body of the Video Library page, but the year-by-year menu on the right has all of them (some speakers don't want their talks shown on YouTube, because they show us unpublished results).

If you attend in person, you are welcome to buy self-service dinner in Churchill Dining Hall beforehand, and wine, tea and coffee, and biscuits are available outside the lecture theatre. There is also usually the chance afterwards to chat with the speaker and other CSAR members afterwards in the college bar. There is plenty of free parking at Churchill.

Please do not attend the lectures in person if you are feeling ill or showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Events will be announced here on the website and by email when they are finalized. The emails will go to those members who have opted in to receiving emails about future events. If you have chosen not to receive these messages at present, but wish to start, please go to "Update details" at the top right of this page, and change your email preferences. You do not need a password; our membership system will send you a one-time link.

If you are not a member of CSAR but wish to attend or view future events, please join! This means your email address will go into our database and you can receive notifications of events. There is a variety of memberships available, including Pay-As-You-Go which is free to join but requires a small payment per lecture. Click on "Membership" at the top of this page to see the details. You don't need to remember a password for the membership system; it sends you a one-time link if you wish to log in.


CSAR is a registered charity run by volunteers; donations are very welcome and allow us to continue our operations (covering, for example, our Zoom licence) and to maintain our PhD Student Award scheme. You can find a button to donate via our Paypal account on each lecture page, and on the Sponsors and Donors page.

Coming up soon…


Exploring the application of research

Recent speakers include Dr. Pearce Keane of Moorfields Eye Hospital, on the use of AI in interpretation of retinal scans; Dr. Giles Yeo from the MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit, University of Cambridge, on the truth about diets; Professor Didier Queloz, University of Cambridge, on the exoplanet revolution; Professor Tim Lang from City University London on the UK food supply; and Ian Cash from International Electric Company, on space-based solar power generation.

Pre-pandemic visits have been to CMR Surgical, to see its world-leading Versius system of next-generation robotic-assisted surgery; Greene King’s historic Bury St Edmunds Brewery in the company of Ross O’Hara, the youngest Master Brewer in the UK; and to the Cavendish Laboratory’s Maxwell Centre, one of the world's leading physics research laboratories and its Centre dedicated to industrial and societal applications. In 2023 we have had excellent visits to the British Antarctic Survey and the Institute of Manufacturing.

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7th Dec 2023

Dr. Carol Ibe (2019 CSAR Student Award winner )

2nd Sep 2023

Smart rugby ball used in Six Nations 2023