Cambridge LIFE LAB project wins place in Europe’s largest public science event

Cambridge LIFE LAB project wins place in Europe’s largest public science event

Cambridge LIFE LAB project wins place in Europe’s largest public science event

Five Cambridge science institutions have won a bid to engage the local region with science as part of European Researchers Night*, the largest public science event in Europe. LIFE LAB is one of four UK initiatives awarded funding from the European Commission. It will establish a programme of pop-up science events in shopping centres, cafes and music venues across Cambridgeshire on 28th September 2018 and again on 27th September 2019.

LIFE LAB will be led by Wellcome Genome Campus Public Engagement, and delivered by a consortium including the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), Babraham Institute, the University of Cambridge and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. A main aim of LIFE LAB is to reach and engage communities who may not otherwise have access to science or research, through a range of hands on activities designed to be inspirational while highlighting the career opportunities across our region.

This is the first time that Cambridge has hosted European Researchers Night, which will simultaneously involve 55 other projects in 27 countries across the European Union, from Aberdeen to Athens and Helsinki to Heidelberg.

Project lead Dr Ken Skeldon, from Wellcome Genome Campus Public Engagement, said: “European Researchers’ Night is a fantastic opportunity to excite people about science and research. We’ll be hosting events in Cambridge, Peterborough and Ely and look forward to welcoming people who perhaps might not have been to a science festival before.  We also want to engage people in a way that is relevant to their everyday lives, and place a spotlight on the huge range of career opportunities here in Cambridge and our surrounding region.”

Klaus Haupt, Head of Unit, Research Executive Agency, said: “This is a shared celebration of researchers, demonstrating their contribution to our society and enabling open discussion between them and  the public on the last Friday of September across Europe. Part of a continental initiative promoting the values of breaking down barriers and boundaries in science, the European Researchers' Night aims to inspire and to increase awareness of research and innovation activities. We are delighted that Cambridge is now part of this.”

Dr Tacita Croucher, Public Engagement Manager at the Babraham Institute said: “Our aim for LIFE LAB is to show that science is a part of our everyday life. You may have hated it at school but take another look and we guarantee you’ll be fascinated. Our programme of events will have something for everyone, providing a range of ways people can connect with the research happening on their doorstep, the researchers behind it and the opportunities it presents for our region.”

2018 is also the European Year of Cultural Heritage, and the LIFE LAB initiative will celebrate this by showcasing science in culture across our region - past, present and future. Other events around the UK will be organised by the Natural History Museum in London, the University of Aberdeen, and the University of Bristol.

For further updates on LIFE LAB in the run up to 28th September, follow CamLifeLab on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Youtube

Contact details:
Dr Samantha Wynne,
Wellcome Sanger Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus,
Hinxton, Cambridge
Phone: +44 (0)1223 492368
Selected websites:
Wellcome Genome Campus Public Engagement
Through a wide range of projects, activities, visits and events Wellcome Genome Campus Public Engagement encourages exploration and discussion about genomics, from exciting research findings to the social and ethical questions it can raise. Working together with collaborators in scientific research, the arts and humanities, public engagement and education specialists, and cultural organisations, we aim to share knowledge, spark discussions, and foster a community of engaged researchers. Wellcome Genome Campus Public Engagement is part of Connecting Science.
The Wellcome Sanger Institute
The Wellcome Sanger Institute is one of the world's leading genome centres. Through its ability to conduct research at scale, it is able to engage in bold and long-term exploratory projects that are designed to influence and empower medical science globally. Institute research findings, generated through its own research programmes and through its leading role in international consortia, are being used to develop new diagnostics and treatments for human disease. To celebrate its 25th year in 2018, the Institute is sequencing 25 new genomes of species in the UK. Find out more at or follow @sangerinstitute
Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. We’re a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. We support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate.
European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)
The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) is a global leader in the storage, analysis and dissemination of large biological datasets. We help scientists realise the potential of ‘big data’ by enhancing their ability to exploit complex information to make discoveries that benefit humankind. We are at the forefront of computational biology research, with work spanning sequence analysis methods, multi-dimensional statistical analysis and data-driven biological discovery, from plant biology to mammalian development and disease. We are part of EMBL and are located on the Wellcome Genome Campus, one of the world’s largest concentrations of scientific and technical expertise in genomics.

The Babraham Institute
The Babraham Institute undertakes world-class life sciences research to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. Our research focuses on cellular signalling, gene regulation and the impact of epigenetic regulation at different stages of life. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and support healthier ageing. The Institute receives core funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) through an Institute Core Capability Grant. Visit or follow us on Twitter @BabrahamInst
The University of Cambridge
The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. To date, 98 affiliates of the University have won the Nobel Prize. Founded in 1209, the University comprises 31 autonomous Colleges, which admit undergraduates and provide small-group tuition, and 150 departments, faculties and institutions. Cambridge is a global university. Its 19,000 student body includes 3,700 international students from 120 countries. Cambridge researchers collaborate with colleagues worldwide, and the University has established larger-scale partnerships in Asia, Africa and America. The University sits at the heart of the ‘Cambridge cluster’, which employs 60,000 people and has in excess of £12 billion in turnover generated annually by the 4,700 knowledge-intensive firms in and around the city. The city publishes 341 patents per 100,000 residents.
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
The Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) is one of the world's leading research institutes.  Discoveries and inventions developed at the LMB, for example DNA sequencing and methods to determine the structure of proteins, have revolutionised all areas of biology.  Its scientists work to advance understanding of biological processes at the molecular level.  This information will help us to understand the workings of complex systems, such as the immune system and the brain, and solve key problems in human health.