LifeLab Cambridge 2019 is a exciting programme of events that will transform parts of Cambridge, Peterborough and Ely into discovery zones on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 September.  Events will be happening simultaneously in 371 cities across Europe as part of European Rearchers’ Night, a European Commission initiative to bring science and science together in an annual celebration.

This is the second year it’s taking place in the Cambridgeshire region, and bodes to be a truly impressive and fun 24 hours!  Last year LifeLab brought together over 3,500 people and 160 scientists, technicians and software developers in Peterborough and Cambridge, and this year it will also be in Ely, in and around the beautiful cathedral.

Get a feel for LifeLab - See what happened in 2018

The diversity of the activities is intended to engage people of all ages and backgrounds with the science and research that’s happening on our very doorstep, helping to put it in context and build trust, as well as to stimulate curiosity and interest.  It also aims to showcase what it is like to work in science and give young people, who may or may not be considering it as a possible career, the opportunity to chat with researchers in a relaxed setting.

Most events are free and will take place in a range of venues including shopping centres, theatres, cafés and bars:

Events in Cambridge

Friday 27 September

LifeLab Late at the Science Centre
7-9.30pm | Cambridge Science Centre, CB1 7ED | free | drop-in | ages 14+
Join scientists from across Europe to chat about their research, enjoy our Kidology gameshow, and explore the Science Centre’s range of activities.

PuntSeq – Exploring the microbes in the River Cam
7- 8pm | Portland Arms, CB4 3BA | free | no booking, arrive on time | ages 18+
Find out what’s lurking in the water that flows through our city with the scientists behind the project.

Café Sci Cambridge – LifeLab Special
7pm – 8.15pm | Espresso Library, CB1 1BG | free | no booking, arrive on time | ages 16+
Join us for a special edition of our lively monthly discussion series with local researchers who will try to convince you that their favourite gene is the best!

The Variables present LifeLab Special
7.30-10.30pm | Cambridge Junction, CB1 7GX | £6 (£4 concessions) | booking required | ages 18+
Join our line-up of budding comedians from the world of science and technology as they take a humorous look at their life in the lab. Hosted by The Variables.

Experimental Cancer Medicine Demystified
9am – 3.30pm | Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, Robinson Way, Cambridge, CB2 0RE | Free | booking required | 18+
The Cambridge ECMC is delighted to invite you to our open event for patients, carers, and anyone with an interest in cancer research!

Saturday 28 September

Adventure Centre
10am – 6pm | Grafton Centre, CB1 1PS | free | drop-in | all ages
Visit the LifeLab discovery playground and enjoy exciting hands-on activities. Discover how gaming helps us explore the brain and test your detective skills to find changes in DNA. Make your own bracelet of genetic code and extract DNA from strawberries. Explore Stories from Science to discover the personalities, work, passions and quirks of the people behind the science.

Quids In to Code!
10.30am – 5pm | Cambridge Science Centre, CB1 7ED | £1 / €1 – children free | drop-in | all ages
Discover how biology and computer science work together to benefit human health and learn how to control a robotic arm!


Events in Ely

Ely Science Festival in Ely Cathedral
Ely Cathedral

Friday 27 September

Cathedral Lab
7-9.30pm | Ely Cathedral, CB7 4DL | Free | Drop-in | All ages
We’re bringing Ely Cathedral to life with a whole host of science fun for all the family! We’ll have something for everyone with hands-on activities and bite-size talks. See if you can beat our Cell Escape Room and find out how long you need to pedal to burn off the calories from a sugar cube. Explore Stories from Science to discover the personalities, work, passions and quirks of the people behind the science.

Saturday 28 September

Science at the Cathedral
10am – 4.30pm | Cross Green, Ely Cathedral, CB7 4DL | Free | Drop-in | All ages
Join us in the LifeLab marquee for an extravaganza of hands-on science fun and thought-provoking displays. Explore the microscopic world around us from tiny machines to mysterious creatures. Programme a robot and have a go at getting DNA from strawberries. Discover the wonderful world of proteins through artworks created by local young people.


Events in Peterborough

LifeLab 2018
Adventure Lab in Queensgate Centre at LifeLab 2018

Friday 27 September

LifeLab LOUD at the Key Theatre
6pm – 8.30pm | Key Theatre, Embankment Rd, PE1 1EF | £6 (£4 concession) | Booking required | Refreshments provided | 18+
What do our cells sound like? How do they communicate and co-operate? Experience an immersive and interactive sound installation, created by artistic duo, Neil Musson and Jono Retallick in partnership with local researchers. Includes a discussion with the artists and scientists over refreshments.

Saturday 28 September

Adventure Lab
10am – 6pm | Queensgate Shopping Centre, Long Causeway, PE1 1NT | Free | Drop-in | All ages
We’re turning Queensgate into a lab for the day! Come and get hands on with real science with friendly scientists, extract DNA and marvel over microscopic worms. Become a scientist for the day and use real-life lab equipment to explore the cells that make up our bodies.

Tell Me a Story
10am – 4pm | Queensgate Shopping Centre, Long Causeway, PE1 1NT | Free | Drop-in | Families
Everyone loves a good story! Take a break with the children and sit down with the LifeLab team for story time. Hear fun, thrilling stories and be inspired by real life adventures! Explore Stories from Science to discover the personalities, work, passions and quirks of the people behind science.


If you’re wondering what the researchers who will be there will be like, check out this blog by Shahana Ahmed from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology to discover her journey from the research lab to the pop-up lab!

More information on

LifeLab is led by Wellcome Genome Campus Public Engagement and brings together five of the region’s leading life science research organisations: the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), Babraham Institute, the University of Cambridge and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology.

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