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Maxwell Centre

Event Type: 
Maxwell plus - for events co-organised by the Maxwell programme

A down-to-Earth interpretation of innovation

(or more broadly, good ideas)

Dr Laiyi Weng, Nu Quantum


We are delighted to welcome Dr Laiyi Weng from NuQuantum to our May 2024 Innovation Seminar Talk. This month's talk is co-organised by the Maxwell Centre and the Royce @ Cambridge.


Innovation often means something different depending on who you ask: a scientist, an engineer, a project manager, or a group/business leader. A list of common buzzwords will most likely include some of the following: novelty, breakthrough, out-of-the-box thinking, game-changing, disruption, and so on and so forth. Regrettably, none of these words sound too relatable to my own day-to-day if I am being perfectly honest - well, maybe only in that funding proposal which I scrambled together a few days before a looming deadline last year... So, in this talk, I will attempt to offer what is perhaps a more down-to-earth interpretation of innovation (or more broadly, good ideas) from the perspective of an average early-career research scientist who has recently transitioned from academia to a start-up environment. I will share my first-hand experiences about the challenges, adaptations, and lessons learned along the way, with the hope of providing insights for those in a similar situation or simply fostering open discussions.


Laiyi is an early-career research scientist at Nu Quantum, a pioneering spin-out from the Cavendish focused on building the quantum networking infrastructure essential to scaling quantum computers. Before moving to Cambridge in 2021, Laiyi carried out both his undergraduate and PhD studies in Materials Science at the University of Oxford, specialising in the simulation and experimental implementation of novel light-matter interface devices for quantum technology applications. At Nu Quantum, Laiyi played a key role in establishing a core nanofabrication capability from ground up and remains dedicated to driving technological progress and innovation within the field.


About the Seminar Series

The Innovation Seminar Series is organised by a number of initiatives across the University and has a lineup of brilliant speakers who are at different stages in their Innovation and Entrepreneurship journey. If you are a member of the University of Cambridge community interested in all things entrepreneurial, this is a series for you!

This series of seminars happens monthly and speakers will present their ideas and experiences on how innovation impacts their endeavours.

  • We have a varied list of speakers, from academics turned in to entrepreneurs all the way to established companies.
  • The format is a 45 minute talk, followed by Q&A.
  • Attendance is free

Come and join the talk with Dr Laiyi Weng.



Data Protection

We collect information about you when you register to attend the Innovation Seminar Series. You can find details on how we handle personal information at

The data we hold for this purpose is very limited (contact details: name, email address, name of the organisation you are affiliated with).

The information you provide will be used to process your booking, and contact you regarding your participation. We may also contact you to undertake post-event evaluation and provide marketing information about events and services offered through the Maxwell Centre, University of Cambridge and the Royce Programme. All marketing communications will incorporate an option to opt-out of receiving further communications.

Thursday, 16 May, 2024 - 12:30 to 14:00
Contact name: 
Monica Lucena
Event location: 
Seminar Room, Maxwell Centre