Centre for Life
The International Centre for Life (ICFL) is a science village and visitor attraction in Newcastle. The Life Science Centre, within the ICFL, provides visitors with a changing programme of events made up of temporary and permanent exhibitions, a planetarium, motion ride, soft-play and other attractions. ICFL also houses scientists, clinicians, educationalists and business people working together to promote the advancement of the life sciences. Partners include Newcastle University, with the University's Institute of Genetic Medicine based at ICFL; the NHS Newcastle Fertility Centre; the NHS Northern Genetics Service and several biotechnology companies. ICFL was established as one of the countries landmark Millennium projects and opened by the Queen on the 27th May 2000. The centre was designed by Sir Terry Farrell and is located on the site of the former Cattle Market and Marlborough Crescent bus station. ICFL is an independent and self-funding charitable trust and its patron is Dr James Watson, Nobel Prize Winner and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.
The Centre for Life is a science village in Newcastle upon Tyne where scientists, clinicians, educationalists and business people work to promote the advancement of the life sciences. The centre is a registered charity, governed by a board of trustees, which receives no public funding.
The Centre was opened by the Queen in May 2000. In March 2009 the centre was the main venue for the UK's first Maker Faire, run as part of the Newcastle ScienceFest. The 2010 Newcastle Maker Faire was held at the Centre for Life and the nearby Discovery Museum. Maker Faire UK returned to the Centre for Life in 2013, at which over 300 hackers, crafters, coders, DIYers and inventors presented their projects alongside installations and drop-in workshops.
Life Science Centre
The Life Science Centre is a visitor attraction at the International Centre for Life. It has a changing programme of events made up of temporary and permanent exhibitions, a Science Theatre, a planetarium.
Exhibitions and activities
The centre provides employment for some 600 people. Partners in the Centre for Life include Newcastle University. The Experiment Zone allows visitors to try out laboratory-style experiments such as DNA extraction and the Brain Zone explores how the human brain works.
Each year a new temporary exhibition is hosted or launched in May, often a major touring exhibition such as Body Worlds Vital in 2014. In the winter months, Times Square is host to an open-air ice rink.
Newcastle Fertility Centre was established in 1991 at the RVI, later moving to the Centre for Life and officially opened by Professor Lord Robert Winston on 22 February 2000. As well as treating infertile couples, it carries out research and development into new fertility treatments.
Scientists based at The Centre for Life are the first people in Europe - and only the second in the world - to get a license for stem cell research on human embryos. The license will allow work on new treatments for conditions including diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. In 2005 scientists based at the centre were the first to successfully clone a human embryo.
The NHS Northern Genetics Service is part of the Institute of Genetic Medicine. The main purpose of the Northern Genetics Service is to provide comprehensive and fully integrated clinical and laboratory services to the highest of standards that can help reduce the incidence of illnesses associated with genetic disease.
In December 2020, the venue was one of the preliminary vaccination centres for the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine.