Meet the Race for Science team

Jessica Hennessy Events Assistant

I joined PCRC at the end of 2017 to work exclusively on Race for Science, an exciting, if slightly off-the-wall idea for a completely different type of charity fundraiser. The event took place for the first time ever at the end of March.

Race for Science is an immersive event. A scientist has gone missing, taking all of her valuable research with her. In teams, players needed to follow the clues across Cambridge and decipher a series of scientific puzzles. The idea was a cross between a scavenger hunt and an escape room.

I often think about how ridiculous it is that I’d never done an escape room before I accepted the role! I’ve done eight since I started, and they are now one of my all-time favourite activities.

The idea came about because our board of trustees had decided they wanted the charity to grow dramatically over a five-year period, and Oliver, who had recently become CEO, knew that we’d have to try something completely new and innovative to achieve that growth. He enjoyed immersive events and was also aware that the market share of events such as Secret Cinema and escape rooms was increasing, and he thought we should be tapping into that to fund our research.

Pulling the event together was certainly a challenge! One minute I’d be creating scavenger-hunt clues or writing a script for an actor, the next I’d be at a meeting with a potential sponsor or doing a health and safety assessment. Of course, the job required me to spend a lot of time in Cambridge, which was an added bonus! We thought Cambridge would be the perfect place for Race for Science because of its history, scientific pedigree and the really lovely community there.

I couldn’t have been happier with how the event unfolded on 30th March. It was amazing seeing how easily and enthusiastically the teams got into character, as they literally raced around Cambridge. PCRC staff costumed-up as crazy scientists and phoned teams to ‘summon’ them to urgent missions at secret locations.

As well as raising valuable funds for the charity, participants had a great time, rating it an incredible 9.25 out of 10! We’re now working on how we can make Race for Science even bigger and better the next time.

I’d like to thank our amazing sponsors, Abcam, Citrix and TTP, for their generous support.

What I love most about my job

It’s a tie between two things: 1) How special and unique my role is, and, 2) The team: I imagine it’s rare to genuinely like and admire every single person you work with!

My best memory of working at PCRC so far

Race for Science! While I had trouble appreciating it in the moment, it was wonderful to see the whole PCRC team (plus numerous other volunteers) all working together on a project that I poured so much time and energy into, and to watch everyone fall in love with the event.

What I’d like you to know about the charity is

We are a force to be reckoned with! We are changing, growing and improving all the time.

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