Early years

I was born and brought up in London. My father was of Dutch extraction and my mother, Indian. I attended a variety of schools including William Tyndale, Fox and Pimlico. As a child I learned cello, piano and an army of recorders.

When I was 16 I had the opportunity to sail on the Marques, a square rigged Barque. This boat had been a centre piece in the BBC 1978 Voyage of the Beagle. This was the beginning.

On reaching adulthood

I did a degree in biochemistry at the University of Sussex graduating in 1986 and was awarded a PhD in cell biology at the University of Cambridge in 1991.

In 1989 my sister Jules was killed on the Khyber pass. She was a budding artist. In 1990, with the help of sculptor Nigel Konstam, we set up a charity in her name, the Juliet Gomperts Trust. The trust supports other artists with grants for projects, materials or travel. The trust is managed by my other sister, Natasha. She is also an artist.

I spent two  years at the University of Washington in Seattle from 1995 to 1997.  I eventually left bench science 2003.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy this time I had 2 children and a husband and we took off for a year to Christchurch NZ. During that time I spent many happy hours organising the family, walking the long distance trails, taking and printing photographs whilst also developing a course on molecular biology for physics and chemistry high school teachers.

A lucky break


We returned to Cambridge in 2004 and I took on the management of the International Science Summer School which I ran for three years. The Darwin anniversary year was on the horizon and I was keen to participate. I met with the chair of the committee established to coordinate the celebrations, and was hired on the spot. In time, we built the Darwin 2009 Festival, a week long celebration with an academic conference at its core. You can view images from the Festival here.

..and then

In January 2010 I took up the violin. It just seemed like the right thing to do. A versatile instrument that did not require you to reorganise your front room to play, and one in which an octave fitted comfortably under your hand. I sold some leather bound, hand written,  horn duets by an unknown English composer, to finance the purchase of a Woolston violin.

One thing leads to another..

That summer was my parents 50th wedding anniversary. I was busy helping to organise their big summer party when my phone buzzed and I was invited to help set up a new Public Policy programme at the University of Cambridge. How can you say no to that?

In the summer of 2012 my marriage broke down. I spent several months feeling utterly miserable and then I met someone new.

The public policy programme was really taking off. We hosted a number of high profile events including one in particular at the Institute for Government which gave the initiative the momentum it needed. Over 1 million pounds were raised over the three years I worked on the programme.

A year later, my son finished school and took off to study Mechanical Engineering at Manchester University. My daughter began GCSEs and broke the school records for 200 and 300m sprint for the third successive year.

Moving on…

In October 2013, the new Cambridge MPhil in Public Policy welcomed its first cohort of students. Very sadly, my father died that same month aged only 77. His last days were traumatic, on a ventilator in intensive care, at UCLH. We had to plead with the hospital to let him die. A dog would have fared better.

In December 2013 I decided to leave the Public Policy Programme. I am now working freelance on a number of projects many of which have fallen into my lap and to which I feel privileged to be able to contribute.  These include supporting the Fitzwilliam String Quartet,  a role-play simulation concerning crisis management and more recently The Oxford and Cambridge Note Race, a fund-raising adventure. A very interesting mix!