We develop coatings made of thermoresponsive polymers for cell culture applications to allow the user to control cell adhesion effectively and non-invasively. The cells adhere and proliferate at typical cultivation temperatures in the same way as they would on a standard cell culture substrate. Reducing the temperature by a few degrees allows the cells to be detached from these coatings simply by rinsing them. Eliminating the use of invasive proteases ensures that cell vitality and membrane proteins are not adversely affected during this critical process step. The polymers are inexpensive to apply to conventional cell culture substrates homogeneously or in defined patterns, using straightforward methods such as spin coating, spray coating, spotting or printing. Along with its use as a cell culture substrate, the polymer coating is also suitable for cell tests that permit the cell migration to be examined (e.g. wound healing test), or for establishing co-cultures with defined geometric relationships.