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For staff

A photo of Chris Abell

Applications for the new nursery will open on 8 November 2021.

The new University nursery for children of staff and students will open on 4 January 2022 and applications for places can be made from Monday 8 November 2021 at 11am through the Childcare Office website.

The Chris Abell Day Nursery is named after Professor Chris Abell (pictured), who died unexpectedly in October 2020. Chris was Chair of the Nursery Project Board, which he led with tenacity and enthusiasm and was instrumental in the University successfully commencing construction of the new nursery.

The Abell family said “Chris cared deeply about this project. He worked tirelessly to make the University somewhere staff and researchers felt supported; this is an enduring part of that legacy. We are delighted to see it open.”

The new nursery will help to meet the demand for high quality nursery places, helping staff and students with childcare that fits around work and study. It brings the number of nurseries operated by the University to four.

Professor Stephen J Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said: “I am delighted that the University is adding a fourth nursery to those it already operates. The pressures of childcare have become more apparent than ever during the pandemic, so it is wonderful to be able to offer our staff and students with children more support. Providing quality early years childcare is essential. I hope it will also help us in retaining talented working parents and carers. I am particularly touched because the new day nursery will be named after Chris, who was its most enthusiastic champion.”

The nursery is located off Hills Road, on Harrison Drive. It is ideally placed to serve staff and students based at the Biomedical Campus and those who live to the south of the city. The building has been constructed to the highest levels of sustainability, in line with the University’s commitment to sustainable construction. Daily operations will be run by Kids Planet, but applications must be made via the University Childcare Office website. Applications will open on Monday 8 November 2021 at 11am. All parents currently on the University nurseries’ waiting list will receive a notification.

More information on University childcare is available from the Childcare Office Childcare Office | (

Professor Chris Abell: In addition to his role as Chair of the NPB, Professor Abell FRS, FMedSci was the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research; Professor of Biological Chemistry and Todd-Hamied Fellow of Christ’s College; a pioneer in the field of fragment-based drug discovery; a successful entrepreneur; a founding director of Cambridge Enterprise; the University’s first Director of Postdoctoral Affairs; and an alumnus of St John’s College.  He was named a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2012 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2016.


04 November 2021


Chris Abell. Photo credit: The Royal Society