May 26, 2020 @ 10:30 by Chloe Holmes
The International Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, celebrates its 20th anniversary on May 27 with a week of virtual events and activities.
The landmark anniversary for Life – home to the popular visitor attraction Life Science Centre, biomedical research facilities and two NHS clinics – falls during VisitEngland’s English Tourism Week, which this year will focus on supporting the recovery of tourism and raise awareness of the importance, quality and value of the sector to the UK economy.
Life’s Chief Executive, Linda Conlon, said: “We had big plans in place to celebrate Life being 20 in 2020, but we’ve quickly adapted our operations and celebrations to a digital format. Like many others, we will continue to celebrate our birthday under lockdown – it just takes a bit more ingenuity and creativity to do so, and they’re skills that lie at the heart of science.”
Over the past 20 years, Life has been home to the research team that created the world’s first cloned human embryo; the first fertility clinic in the world licensed to treat patients using mitochondrial replacement therapy, which was also researched and developed onsite; and a pioneering stem cell treatment that has restored the sight of many people. Now, researchers are working onsite to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Life Science Centre welcomes about 300,000 visitors a year – inspiring the next generation of scientists and health heroes, and helping people of all ages to explore science and to discover its relevance to their own lives.
Linda said: “The mission of Life Science Centre has never been more crucial than it is today, in the midst of a global pandemic and climate crisis. Science centres can play a valuable role in communicating cutting-edge science to the public.”
Life’s virtual celebrations start today [Tuesday 26 May], with a birthday-themed making activity for families to take part in for #LifeGoesONline on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. For adults, later this evening, Life will host a science-themed virtual pub quiz.