Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Special Projects

The Institute is committed to being open and transparent about its research, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds, listening to and considering their hopes, concerns and aspirations. To do this, the Institute collaborates with partners to develop new opportunities. Here you can find out more about the major collaborative projects we are currently working on.


SORIONcience and technology are interwoven in our lives; they have and will continue to transform our world. However, with this huge potential comes ethical, legal and social dilemmas. ‘Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)’ aims to explore this by broadening the engagement of society with research, to better align societal expectations with the process and outcomes of scientific research – involving society in discussions about how science and technology will shape our future.

In 2017, the Institute along with a consortium of research institutes, research funders and public/patient engagement organisations were awarded €3.2m for a four-year EU-funded project ‘ORION’ - ‘Open Responsible research and Innovation to further Outstanding kNowledge’. The project focusses on embedding RRI principles (ethics, gender, governance, open access, public engagement and science education) across the organisations involved. We are exploring these ideas through three themes:
  • 'Opening up the research engine’ - producing new collaborative scientific funding schemes
  • ‘Identifying risks and opportunities of disruptive technology’ – exploring when and how we engage society in the development of new technology
  • 'Multi-stakeholder projects in fundamental research’ – providing funding for projects that have a variety of partners including the public.
Throughout the project there will be opportunities for public groups to become involved in all aspects of the work. For information on how you might get involved and the most recent project updates, please see the ORION website or contact the ORION Project Officer at the Institute.



Researchers from the Institute, Dr Csilla Varnai, a post-doctoral researcher in the Fraser Lab and Dr Mikhail Spivakov have been working with musician and sound producer Max Cooper and visual artist and mathematician Andy Lomas, to produce an emotive new way to experience the complexity and elegance of DNA organisation.

Taking data and inspiration from Csilla’s work which generates computer models that recreate how genetic information recorded on DNA molecules is organised within living cells, Max has created two new music tracks ‘Chromos’ and ‘Coils of Living Synthesis’. Andy has created a visual complement to the Chromos track and a Virtual Reality (VR) experience which allows people to climb inside the data.
The music has been released and the videos can be found here. The VR experience was initially showcased at the Cambridge Science Festival 2017, and will be on display at the London Science Museum Lates and at ZKM, a Centre for Art and Media in Germany.