From government to start-up
After working at the highest level of the UK government for a decade, my final task was to reboot the UK's health surveillance system during the COVID-19 crisis, and to do it in six weeks. This led me on a quest to find the top scientists and epidemiologists with the right expertise and the track record, which proved to be a challenge.
It became clear that there was a lack of readily available data about the top talent. There was no structured formula or map to follow, just word of mouth. It was a steep learning curve and one that could have been avoided - but we got there in the end.
So, the genesis of Zeki really grew from my own experience of trying to find top talent, and quickly. Zeki is a necessity. Science holds the key to solving global challenges, be it pandemics, drug discovery, climate change, or finding new tools to improve the productivity, prosperity and safety of everyone. We must ensure that our brilliant scientists have the tools and support they require to tackle these issues head-on.
Zeki’s platform is designed to connect individuals swiftly and reliably with top science talent; the aim is to ensure no one ever has to face the same issues I encountered.
What excites me most about Zeki is the opportunity to empower young scientists. The science community often favours established figures, leaving emerging talent without support or resources - just when they need it most. Our solution will provide them with the validation, guidance, and funding they need to unleash their novel ideas and shape the future.
Margaux’s story: Putting female talent in the spotlight
Tom's journey in government to find science talent highlighted quite a concerning trend - the majority of individuals being recognised and validated were older white men. This realisation deeply resonated with me and ignited a determination to bring about greater diversity in the science community by creating Zeki.
My background is steeped in women's leadership and supporting women's voice and agency for the past 20 plus years. I saw an opportunity in this challenge to find and uplift women in science. Our initial data collection suggests that women scientists tend to cluster themselves in unique ways. They’re there, they’re present but their achievements and ways of advocacy aren’t used for identifying top science talent right now.
I saw this as an opportunity to extend my work around women's voice and agency, particularly for young women. While we might not be there yet, it's crucial to ensure that the platform we're building also brings young female scientists into the spotlight instead of perpetuating a generational cycle of male-centric representation.
Join us in changing the way we harness the power of data and science for a better tomorrow.