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About Us

The Rustat Conferences were founded in 2009 and are an initiative of Jesus College, Cambridge. They provide an opportunity for people from the front lines of politics, the civil service, financial services, the media, industry, business and education to discuss the vital issues of the day with leading academic experts. The Rustat Conferences provide outreach to a wider professional, academic and student audience through the publication of reports.

The Rustat Conferences are chaired by Professor Ian White, Master of Jesus College, Van Eck Profesor of Engineering and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge.

In 2009-2016 the Rustat Conferences have addressed a broad range of vital issues including: Machine Super Intelligence; Inequality; the UK North-South Divide; the Future of Research Intensive Universities; UK Manufacturing; Cyber Security - An Assessment of the Threat; Big Data Analytics; Financial Technology; the Future of Democracy; the Geopolitics of Oil and Energy; Infrastructure and the Future of Society: Energy, Cities & Water. The inaugural Rustat Conference in May 2009 discussed the Economic Crisis.

The Science and Human Dimension Project (founded 1990) and is a public understanding of science and ethics programme based at Jesus College, Cambridge. Please see the Science and Human Dimension Project section of this site for more information


Professor Ian White FREng - Chair, Rustat Conferences
Professor White is Van Eck Professor of Engineering, and the Master of Jesus College, Cambridge. He is also Head of Photonics Research in the Electrical Division in Engineering, and Chair of the Rustat Conferences. Ian White began his time at Cambridge by being awarded the BA in 1980, and the PhD in 1984. After being appointed a Research Fellow and Assistant Lecturer at Cambridge he then moved to the University of Bath to become Professor of Physics in 1990. In 1996, Professor White moved to the University of Bristol, becoming Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 1998. He returned to Cambridge in October 2001 as Van Eck Professor of Engineering. Professor White's current research interests are in the area of high speed communication systems, optical datacommunications, laser diodes for communications and engineering applications and RF over fibre systems.

Jonathan S. Cornwell
Jonathan Cornwell is a publisher, conference producer and co-Director of the Rustat Conferences. He has worked in Europe, Middle East, Far East and the Americas for a number of book publishers, e-learning companies and internet businesses including Routledge, Chapman & Hall, the Thomson Corporation, ThirdForce plc and YUDU Media. He has managed large scale government information and education programmes with UNESCO and the Arab League. He has a specific interest in cyber security. As Director of the consultancy Media Symposia, he is also co-organiser of art exhibitions including 2013 Exhibition of the Year 'Houghton Revisited' and the 2015 James Turrell UK exhibition 'LightScape'. He studied at University College London, Trinity Hall, Cambridge and Imperial College, London.

John Cornwell
John Cornwell is an author, journalist and Fellow Commoner of Jesus College, Cambridge where he directs the Science and Human Dimension Project, a public understanding of science programme, and the Rustat Conferences. He has written for many well known publications including The Sunday Times, Vanity Fair, Nature, Financial Times, Prospect, New Statesman, Spectator, TLS, The Tablet, New York Times and The Observer. He is author of Hitlerís Pope,The Secret History of Pius XII, A Thief in the Night, Power to Harm, Earth to Earth, and a biography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He is editor of Natureís Imagination: The Frontiers of Scientific Vision; Consciousness and Human Identity; and Explanations: Styles of Explanation in Science (all published by Oxford University Press), and with Michael McGhee, of Philosophers and God, Continuum (2009).

Rustat Conferences Research, Operations and Reports

Nathan Brooker
Nathan Brooker researches Rustat Conference themes, speakers and participants. As a journalist, he contributes regularly to the Financial Times and is the Rustat Conference rapporteur, writing and editing conference reports. He is a graduate of Jesus College, Cambridge.

Advisory Board

Christopher Rodrigues CBE
Chair, The British Council, and Chair, Openwork and the Port of London Authority. Former CEO and President, Visa International

Richard Dennis
Director of Development and Fellow, Jesus College, Cambridge

Lady Gayle Robinson
Foundation Governor, Northampton University

Professor Stephen Heath
Professor English and French Literature and Culture, University of Cambridge and Fellow, Jesus College

Professor James Crawford SC FBA
Whewell Professor of International Law, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Jesus College

Professor Lord Rees of Ludlow OM FRS
Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, University of Cambridge, former Master, Trinity College, Cambridge, and former President of the Royal Society

Professor Janet Soskice
Professor of Philosophical Theology, University of Cambridge and Fellow, Jesus College

Jon Moynihan OBE
former Executive Chairman and CEO, PA Consulting Group

Professor Peter Williamson
Professor of International Business, Cambridge Judge Business School, and Fellow, Jesus College

Jonathan S Cornwell
Director, Media Symposia

Professor Anna Vignoles
Professor of Education (1938), Director of Research, University of Cambridge. Fellow, Jesus College

Dining Hall from Cloister Court, Jesus College
Above: Jesus College Dining Hall from Cloister Court. Below: detail of Cloister Court
Cloister Court, Jesus College

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz
Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz FRS, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge

Melanie Best
Melanie Best at the Rustat Conference on Managing Organisations in the Economic Crisis
Lord Martin Rees
Lord Martin Rees, former Master, Trinity College, Cambridge, former President, Royal Society, and member of the Rustat Conferences Advisory Board, speaking at the Future of Research Intensive Universities conference.