How to be a pioneering researcher

Robert Winston

Professor Winston is Professor of Science and Society and Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College London. He has presented numerous award-winning TV and radio series, including 'The Secret Life of Twins', 'Child of Our Time' and the BAFTA award-winning 'The Human Body'. He has also written over 20 books and published over 300 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals.


What's the secret to success in health sciences and research?

Focus on the knowledge needed, be open-minded, collaborate with others - two heads are always better than one - remember you cannot be successful without failure. Failure is needed to learn.


How can someone get the most from their time at BCU?

Learn about the world outside your course. University is not a school classroom but an opportunity to get all sorts of important experience.


How can someone get ahead in the health service?

Work hard - we are all capable of much more than we believe. Keep trying. Be interested in people and realise that you have a responsibility to other humans who may be suffering.

It doesn’t matter what branch of healthcare you are in, whether you are out on the district as a health visitor or whether you are a nurse in a ward, I want you to remember there is someone in front of you who is deeply vulnerable, who is spiritually if not actually naked, who is full of anxiety, who’s worried that the diagnosis is much worse than it really is, who’s concerned about money because they are going to be in hospital, and who is concerned that there may be something very serious wrong with them. You have colossal influence and colossal power at that moment.

Top Tip

The one thing we should try to do is to listen to the patient in front of us. That is a very healing part that we all have and we can all play in the health service.

Start shaping your world

Browse our courses


IVF Pioneer and Broadcaster

In the 1970s Professor Winston developed techniques to improve fertility treatments and later pioneered improvements in In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).

These subsequently led to developments in pre-implantation diagnosis. He heads up research at the Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology at Imperial College where his latest work involves investigations into the modification of genes to improve the treatment of many medical conditions.

Committed to science communication and education, Professor Winston regularly talks at schools across the country. He champions the Reach Out Lab at Imperial College – a state-of-the-art laboratory for school children to experience practical science alongside university researchers.

Professor Winston sits on the Council of the University of Surrey, is Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University and Chairman of the Royal College of Music. He was voted "Peer of the Year" by his fellow Parliamentarians in June 2008 for his expertise and work on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.