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Engineering Biology in Cambridge



The EngBio IRC is a hub for Engineering Biology research in Cambridge. We bring together researchers, commercial partners and external collaborators. We support work at the intersections of biology, engineering, computer sciences, design and bioethics.

Engineering Biology is an emerging field. It applies engineering principles to design and modify living systems. The University of Cambridge has been an important and early contributor in this area. The EngBio IRC was established in 2013 with the support of the Schools of Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences and Technology.

Our vision is:

  • To bring people together, from across the University and beyond.
  • To showcase the wide range of related activities happening within the community.
  • To support an interdisciplinary approach to engineering biology research.
  • To consolidate the University of Cambridge as a nationally and internationally recognised centre of excellence in engineering biology.

The IRC is lead by an academic steering committee and supported by an administrative team. The IRC coordinator and assistant work with researchers and external partners to run our activities.

Our Aims

The major aims of the IRC are to:

  1. Provide a hub of interdisciplinary exchange for anyone in Synthetic and Engineering Biology at the University of Cambridge. From researchers and students to industrial partners and policy makers.

  2. Promote interdisciplinary collaborations across the University through regular events and seed funding competitions.

  3. Facilitate funding applications in the field of Synthetic and Engineering Biology

  4. Initiate academic-industrial partnerships across the IRC Research Themes.

  5. Explore open technologies for innovation. Encourage use of new and innovative IP practices and business models.

  6. Explore the wider social context of Engineering Biology technologies. At both local and global levels. With a particular focus on responsible innovation for sustainability and conservation.

Our Activities

Connecting Engineering Biology Researchers

The IRC hosts a virtual network of researchers from across the University. We also welcome affiliate members and partners. These come from a wide range of fields, including industry, policy and public organisations. Our members are interested in various aspects of engineering biology. From genetic engineering to hardware and instrumentation for biology.

Talks, Networking and Social Events

The IRC hosts a range of talks, networking and social events. These are open to students and researchers from across the local engineering biology community.

Training and Workshops

The IRC provides a range of training and workshops throughout the year. The majority of our training is open to all community members.


The IRC offers small-scale funding for members’ events and initiatives. We also share and supporting relevant external funding opportunities.

Engineering Biology and Synthetic Biology News

The IRC provides a central hub to learn about synthetic and engineering biology news. We share news from across the university and from our local, national and international partners.