Blog: The Marshall Forum on Innovation by Nick Hartman (’03)

On June 29-30, 2018, nearly 200 Marshall Scholarship alumni and friends gathered at Stanford University for the Marshall Forum on Innovation. The event was hosted by the Association of Marshall Scholars with co-hosts the British Consulate General, San Francisco and GBx. The Forum brought together transatlantic leaders and cutting-edge entrepreneurs for conversation on UK-US innovations, research priorities, and tech developments.


On Friday evening, a welcome reception was hosted under the warm California sun followed by dinner at the Stanford Faculty Club.  A fireside chat was moderated by Nancy Lublin (‘93) with special guest Reid Hoffman (’90). The discussion focused on his expansive career in technology, venture capital and philanthropy efforts. Later in the evening, Hoffman was awarded the Marshall Medal by Her Majesty’s Consul General to San Francisco Andrew Whittaker and Chris Fisher from the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission.


The forum continued on Saturday featuring a broad range of speakers and panel discussions including “The Future of Healthcare: The Role of Genetics and Data Science” and a fascinating review of the decades long global collaborative physics experiment to detect gravitational waves.



The AMS curated over a dozen roundtable discussions that paired a moderator with small groups on topics ranging from “Accelerating Science with AI and the Internet of Things” and “Data Collection Doesn’t Have to be Creepy” to “Legal and Ethical Considerations in Today’s Digital Age.” This allowed attendees to interact with experts on a more in-depth, interactive, and inclusive format. Over the last year the AMS has begun sponsoring an increasing number of such micro-events around the country including exclusive dinners and other local private gatherings. The format has been warmly received by the AMS community and we look forward to continuing the model in the coming months.


The afternoon headlining event featured Richard Waters, West Coast Editor of the Financial Times, discussing digital revolutions with Bill Janeway (‘65). The conversation probed Janeway’s vast technical investing expertise and hit on topics including the role of large companies in advancing technology, forces driving market disruptions, and the evolving role of automation in the workplace.


Throughout the day a pop-up sponsored by the Stanford Book Store was available featuring selections of titles by Marshall Scholars—with many signed by the authors. An immersive virtual reality music experience also proved very popular.


Following the forum sessions, some alumni broke off for a tour of Steven Quake’s (’91) laboratory on the Stanford campus. The Quake lab focuses on developing new techniques for making biochemical measurement devices, including advanced microfluidics. The tour included a visit to the clean room to see how such devices are manufactured and tested.

Formal events for the weekend wrapped up with an outdoor reception at the Stanford Cantor Arts Center’s stunning courtyard. The evening featured a musical duet reuniting 2012 scholars Michael Poll (‘12) on classical guitar and Madalyn Parnas Möller (‘12) on violin. Informal gatherings continued into the evening at local restaurants and homes before everyone hit the road to head home.



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