Synthetic Biology Strategic Research Initiative, University of Cambridge

Synthetic Biology Strategic Research Initiative, University of Cambridge

The Synthetic Biology Strategic Research Initiative provides a hub for anyone interested in Synthetic Biology at the University of Cambridge, including researchers, commercial partners and external collaborators.

Address: University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge
Postcode: CB2 3EA
Country: United Kingdom
Membership type:Cambridge University Department

Synthetic Biology is an emerging field which applies engineering principles to the design and modification of living systems. The University of Cambridge has been an important and early contributor in this area. The Synthetic Biology Strategic Research Initiative was established in 2013 with the support of the Schools of Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences and Technology to bring together related activities by researchers across the University. 

The major aims of the SRI are to:

  1. Provide a hub of interdisciplinary exchange for all those interested in Synthetic 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 twice-yearly seed funding competitions.
  3. Facilitate funding applications in the field of Synthetic Biology
  4. Initiate academic-industrial partnerships across the SRI Research Themes.
  5. Explore open technologies for innovation, widening participation in novel IP practices and business models for tools related to Synthetic Biology.
  6. Explore the wider social context of GM technologies at the local and global level, particularly responsible innovation for sustainability and conservation.


Regular Event Series



SynBio Forum

The SynBio Forum is a series of flagship events with prominent external speakers and excellent networking opportunities: a great opportunity to learn more about cutting edge synthetic biology.

Learn more and view the schedule >>>


Cafe SynthetiqueCafeRoundel250

Café Synthetique is the monthly meetup for the Cambridge synthetic biology community with informal talks, discussion and pub snacks. Every third Monday of the month at the Panton Arms.

Learn more and view the schedule >>>


Science Makers

Science Makers is the monthly meetup bringing together researchers and makers for talks, demos, hands-on making and co-working on projects. Every first Saturday of the month at Cambridge Makespace.

Learn more and view the schedule >>>


Special Event Series


Open Technology Week

Open Technology Week is a series of events showcasing and celebrating open and open source technologies, culminating in a gathering and open source maker faire at the Cambridge University Engineering Department.

Learn more and view the schedule >>>



Build a Biomakespace

A (usually) biweekly meeting to plan for establishing a Biomakespace at the old MRC-LMB. All welcome to discuss the space and what to put in it - particularly if you are keen to volunteer to help make it happen!

Learn more and view the schedule >>>

OpenPlant Fund  poster

OpenPlant Fund now open - apply by 30 June 2017

The OpenPlant Fund is now open to proposals for innovative, open and interdisciplinary projects relevant to plant or in vitro Synthetic Biology. Projects run for six months and can include biological research, hardware prototyping, software, outreach and policy work.

11 May 2017Read in full

biosensor challenge graphic

Biomaker Challenge open - apply by 23 June 2017

Biomaker Challenge is a four-month programme challenging interdisciplinary teams to build low-cost sensors and instruments for biology. From colorimeters to microfluidics and beyond, the search is on for frugal, open source and DIY approaches to biological experiments.

11 May 2017Read in full

Cambridge-based spin-offs get Bio-start funding

After an intensive 10-week competition across the UK, several Cambridge spin-offs have been awarded Bio-start funding, as well as the opportunity to join the UK’s first synthetic biology accelerator programme.

3 April 2017Read in full

Registration opens for OpenPlant Forum in Cambridge

Registration is now open for OpenPlant Forum, an annual open meeting for plant synthetic biology organised by the OpenPlant partners: University of Cambridge, John Innes Centre and the Earlham Institute. Attendees from other organisations are welcome to the event, which takes place in Cambridge from 24-26 July 2017.

20 February 2017Read in full

Cambridge Synthetic Biology Meetup group reaches 500 members

Cambridge Synthetic Biology Meetup is a group for people interested in Synthetic Biology - one of the UK's 'Eight Great Technologies' and open technologies. This includes DNA-based reprogramming and computational modelling of living systems and low-cost hardware for biological instrumentation. The Meetup has just welcomed its 500th member.

16 February 2017Read in full

OpenPlant Fund opens to applications for £5000 grants

OpenPlant Fund opens to applications for £5000 grants on plant or cell-free synthetic biology

Thre OpenPlant Fund offers £5000 to support open, interdisciplinary and innovative projects to engineer plant biology. Applications are now open until 1 Dec 2016 for projects led from the University of Cambridge or Norwich Research Park, with external collaborators welcome. For this round, applications focused on cell-free synthetic biology are also encouraged.

16 November 2016Read in full

Cambridge iGEM team wins Gold Medal and Best Plant Synthetic Biology Prize

A team of Cambridge students has been awarded a Gold Medal and Best Plant Synthetic Biology Prize for their entry into the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition 2016.

16 November 2016Read in full

OpenPlant Forum to discuss synthetic biology and sustainable agriculture

The OpenPlant Forum is the annual meeting of the BBSRC-EPSRC funded OpenPlant Synthetic Biology Research Centre. Funded under the Synthetic Biology for Growth programme, the Centre promotes interdisciplinary exchange, open technologies for innovation and responsible innovation for sustainable agriculture and biotechnology.

11 July 2016Read in full

Winning image - micrograph of maize leaves

Cambridge plant synthetic biologist wins 2016 Wellcome Trust Image Award

Fernán Federici, OpenPlant Fellow at the University of Cambridge and Director of the Synthetic Biology Lab at Pontificia Universidad Católica in Chile has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Image Award for his micrograph of maize leaves, shot in the Department of Plant Sciences in collaboration with Professor Jim Haseloff.

1 April 2016Read in full

CUTEC Bio-Hackathon - apply now!

With support from the SynBio Fund, CUTEC is hosting the UK’s first ever bio-focused “hackathon” in the University of Cambridge. Interdisciplinary teams will take on some of the greatest challenges facing biology.

30 March 2016Read in full

  1. 1
  2. 2