Cambridge to host international summit for young leaders, with IfM researcher on organising committee

Young leaders from across the UK and Latin America will gather in Cambridge in September to discuss science, policy and innovation for a changing world. IfM’s Dr Maria Cristina Rodriguez-Rivero is involved with organising this ground-breaking international summit, including raising funds for young people from Latin America to attend.


Shaping Horizons is the first international summit and action programme to address science, policy and innovation, providing 150 young leaders from academia, policy and industry with an opportunity to engage with senior world leaders and ignite change. It will take place at the University's Sidgwick Site on September 9-13.




The Summit is being organised by more than 50 people from across the University of Cambridge, including Cristina and several of her colleagues from the Department of Engineering, ranging from PhD students to postdocs and alumni.


Cristina explained:

“I am excited to be involved with this pioneering initiative, which is designed to promote long-term sustainability and impact. The Summit will discuss real, implementable solutions to pressing global challenges, and foster youth-led projects with support from experienced mentors and input from research experts. We have a high profile line-up of speakers confirmed including entrepreneurs, ambassadors, Members of Parliament and world-leading academics, which I believe will be truly inspiring for the future leaders who attend and generate creative ideas.


“Many of the challenges we’re addressing require interdisciplinary thinking, and it is an excellent opportunity to bring people together across different areas of expertise. Engineering will be crucial in this mix, and I look forward to hearing the contributions from manufacturing researchers to influence potential innovations.”


Teams of young leaders will be paired with Cambridge experts in order to discuss, develop and deliver local-scale solutions for the challenges faced by their respective cities. The teams will tackle challenges within the four themes of Shaping Horizons:


  • The fourth industrial revolution – AI, big data and automation; cybersecurity and privacy; emerging technologies and their regulation; circular economies and 'smart cities’.
  • Social challenges – diversity and inclusion; future of education: innovation and STEM; future of labour and universal income; evidence-based policy.
  • Humans and nature – mitigation and adaptation to climate change; biodiversity; biomedical innovation; the future of healthcare.
  • Our shared future – beyond traditional diplomacy; migration; internationalisation of education; entrepreneurship and leadership.


The Summit discussions will be captured in the form of evidence-based reports that will be presented to government.


Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said: “Finding solutions to the biggest challenges faced by our societies requires that we work across the borders of nations and disciplines. It also requires that we create spaces for younger voices – the leaders of tomorrow. Shaping Horizons 2019 is built upon these essential notions. It has a real chance of igniting change by uniting top representatives and young leaders from the UK and Latin America. We are thrilled to host this initiative, which will seed the collaborations and nurture the expertise needed to bring together and improve our societies.”


Get involved

Tickets to join the Summit for its entirety or for specific afternoons are now available at Details on how to support this non-profit initiative and the young people from Latin America attending the event are available at



Date published

22 July 2019

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