Judging/Awards

From 2014.igem.org

The following is a list of Awards given by the iGEM Judges and some general information about how Award decisions are made. For examples of award-winning work, see the 2013 Jamboree Results.

iGEM Medals

New Track teams must meet medal criteria specific to their track. Please see your New Track pages for more details on what you need to accomplish to be awarded a medal.

All teams can earn medals. Teams must nominate themselves using the Judging Form. Please see our Judging Form info page for more information. Please note the deadline for judging forms will be the same as the wiki freeze, the 17th of October. Please see the Calendar of events for more information on iGEM deadlines.

The three levels of medals, from lowest to highest are Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Requirements for each medal are:

Bronze. The following 6 goals must be achieved:

  1. Team registration.
  2. Complete Judging form.
  3. Team Wiki.
  4. Present a poster and a talk at the iGEM Jamboree. See our new 2014 poster guidelines for more information.
  5. The description of each project must clearly attribute work done by the students and distinguish it from work done by others, including host labs, advisors, instructors, sponsors, professional website designers, artists, and commercial services. Please see the iGEM 2011 Imperial College Acknowledgements page for an example.
  6. Document at least one new standard BioBrick Part or Device used in your project/central to your project and submit this part to the iGEM Registry (submissions must adhere to the iGEM Registry guidelines). Please note you must submit this new part to the iGEM Parts Registry. Please see the Registry help page on adding new parts. A new application and/or outstanding documentation (quantitative data showing the Part’s/ Device’s function) of a previously existing BioBrick part also counts. Please see the Registry help page on how to document your contributions. To fulfill this criteria, you will also need to submit the part with its original part name to the Registry, following the submission guidelines.

Silver: In addition to the Bronze Medal requirements, the following 4 goals must be achieved:

  1. Experimentally validate that at least one new BioBrick Part or Device of your own design and construction works as expected.
  2. Document the characterization of this part in the “Main Page” section of that Part’s/Device’s Registry entry.
  3. Submit this new part to the iGEM Parts Registry (submissions must adhere to the iGEM Registry guidelines).
  4. iGEM projects involve important questions beyond the bench, for example relating to (but not limited to) ethics, sustainability, social justice, safety, security, or intellectual property rights. Articulate at least one question encountered by your team, and describe how your team considered the(se) question(s) within your project. Include attributions to all experts and stakeholders consulted.

Gold: In addition to the Bronze and Silver Medal requirements, any one or more of the following:

  1. Improve the function OR characterization of an existing BioBrick Part or Device (created by another team or your own institution in a previous year), enter this information in the Registry. Please see the Registry help page on how to document a contribution to an existing part.
    The growth of the Registry depends on having a broad base of reliable parts. This is why the improvement of an existing part is just as important as the creation and documentation of a new part. An "improvement" is anything that improves the functionality and ease-of-use of a part, so that it is more likely to be used by the community. "Characterization" is a measurement of a functional parameter of a part, preferably in absolute units, that can precisely and repeatably be performed in other labs.
  2. Help any registered iGEM team from another school or institution by, for example, characterizing a part, debugging a construct, or modeling or simulating their system.
  3. iGEM projects involve important questions beyond the bench, for example relating to (but not limited to) ethics, sustainability, social justice, safety, security, or intellectual property rights. Describe an approach that your team used to address at least one of these questions. Evaluate your approach, including whether it allowed you to answer your question(s), how it influenced the team’s scientific project, and how it might be adapted for others to use (within and beyond iGEM). We encourage thoughtful and creative approaches, and those that draw on past Policy & Practice (formerly Human Practices) activities.

Special Prizes

Special prizes are awarded to honor specific innovative and unique contributions to iGEM. The iGEM 2014 judging committee hopes to award the following Special prizes, conditional on the accomplishments presented by the teams.

  1. Best Policy & Practices Advance: iGEM projects involve important questions beyond the bench, for example relating to (but not limited to) ethics, sustainability, social justice, safety, security, or intellectual property rights. Describe an approach that your team used to address at least one of these questions. Evaluate your approach, including whether it allowed you to answer your question(s), how it influenced the team’s scientific project, and how it might be adapted for others to use (within and beyond iGEM). We encourage thoughtful and creative approaches, and those that draw on past Policy & Practice (formerly Human Practices) activities.
  2. Best Measurement Approach: There are a lot of exciting Parts in the Registry, but many Parts have still not been characterized. Designing great measurement approaches for characterizing new parts or developing and implementing an efficient new method for characterizing thousands of parts are good examples. Teams interested in competed for the Measurement prize are strongly encouraged to participate in the measurement interlab study.
  3. Best Model: Mathematical models and computer simulations provide a great way to describe the functioning and operation of BioBrick Parts and Devices.

  1. Best New Basic Part: Most genetically-encoded functions have not yet been converted to BioBrick parts. Thus, there are *many* opportunities to find new, cool, and important genetically encoded functions, and refine and convert the DNA encoding these functions into BioBrick standard biological parts. To be eligible for this award, this part must adhere to Bronze medal requirement #6 and have been sent to the Registry of Standard Biological Parts.
    Your best new Basic Part(s) should be visible on your Wiki’s Data Page (see http://igem.org/Sample_Data_Page).
  2. Best New Composite Part: New BioBrick devices can be made by combining existing BioBrick Parts. For example, Inverters, Amplifiers, Smell Generators, Protein Balloon Generators, Senders, Receivers, Actuators, and so on. To be eligible for this award, this part must adhere to Bronze medal requirement #6 and have been sent to the Registry of Standard Biological Parts.
    Your best new Composite Part(s) should be visible on your Wiki’s Data Page.
  3. Best Wiki: The team Wiki is the “face” of your iGEM project. The team Wikis serve as the main project information resource for future iGEM students and teams, as well as the rest of the world. This award honors the “model” Wiki page, which exemplifies what the following year’s Wikis should strive for.
  4. Best Poster: Posters should be attractive, clear, and concisely present your team's work. Please read over the poster judging guidelines for more information on how we are assessing the posters; formatting requirements and expected poster components are also specified here.
  5. Best Presentation: Presentations should be clear, engaging, and communicate your project to a broad audience.

  1. NEW! Best Part Collection: Did your team make a lot of great parts? Is there a team that ties all your parts together? Do you have more than 10 parts in this collection? Did you make a CRISPR collection, a MoClo collection or a collection of awesome pigment parts? Tell the judges you should be evaluated for the Best Parts Collection award! To be eligible for this award, these parts must adhere to Bronze medal requirement #6 and have been sent to the Registry of Standard Biological Parts.
  2. NEW! Best Supporting Software: Regardless what's the topic, iGEM projects often create or adapt computational tools to move the bigger project forward. Because they are born out of a direct practical need, these software tools (or new computational methods) can even prove surprisingly useful for others. Without necessarily being big or complex, they can make the crucial difference to a project's success. This award tries to find and honour such "nuggets" of computational work. To be eligible, your software has to be documented and made available under an OSI approved open source license.
  3. NEW! Best Supporting Art & Design: The cross-track Art & Design prize recognizes exceptional effort to use methods from art and design to explore the potential applications and implications of synthetic biology. For teams of primarily science and engineering students competing in any of the other tracks to be eligible for the Art & Design Prize, they must demonstrate at least ONE of the following:
    • Develop and document a meaningful long-term collaboration with artists and/or designers, whether they are fellow students, advisors, or other project partners. This relationship can take many forms: run a design brainstorming workshop together, co-host an event where artists and scientists share their work and expertise, involve artists directly with the work in the lab, or any other creative mode of collaboration.
    • Present a piece related to your iGEM project in the Art & Design exhibition at the Giant Jamboree. Your piece can be in any media and take any form, from video to sculpture to multimedia installation (but for safety reasons no biological materials please). If you are interested in participating in the exhibition, please email: artdesign [AT] igem [DOT] org by October 1st to arrange space for your project.

Grand Prizes

A small number of iGEM teams will be selected by the judges as iGEM Finalists. These teams will be selected based on the overall excellence of their entire project, from choice of project, to new Parts and Devices, to the quality of the Project Description, Poster, and Presentation, to the success and impact of the project, to consideration of issues of Policy and Practices, and so on. There will be three finalists from both the undergraduate section and the overgraduate section.

  1. Grand Prize Undergraduate: also known as the aluminum BioBrick Trophy; best overall undergraduate team project
  2. First Runner-Up Undergraduate: the next highest ranking undergraduate team project
  3. Second Runner-Up Undergraduate: the next highest ranking undergraduate team project

  1. Grand Prize Overgraduate: also known as the aluminum BioBrick Trophy; best overall overgraduate team project
  2. First Runner-Up Overgraduate: the next highest ranking overgraduate team project
  3. Second Runner-Up Overgraduate: the next highest ranking overgraduate team project

Track Prizes

The iGEM 2014 judging committee hopes to award the following Area prizes, conditional on the accomplishments presented by the teams. Each prize will be awarded at the discretion of the judges. Below are brief descriptions for each Area prize:

  1. Best Energy Project: World energy consumption has increased by roughly a factor of six since 1950. In May 2013, atmospheric C02 readings taken at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii surpassed 400 ppm for the first time, an unsustainably high concentration of CO2. Can we use synthetic biology to create energy technologies that produce less CO2, make energy using feedstock and waste materials or otherwise sustainably generate energy?
  2. Best Environment Project: The quality of the air, water, and land, both on Earth and other heavenly bodies, limits the happiness of humans and other creatures. Can biotechnology be used to help clean the air, provide fresh drinking water, restore or enhance soil quality, terraform a near-Earth asteroid, or protect, preserve, or enhance natural biological diversity?
  3. Best Food and Nutrition Project: People need to eat. Can biotechnology be responsibly used to produce food or nutritional molecules without causing widespread shortages of either, and without harming the environment that future generations will inherit?
  4. Best Foundational Advance Project: Just thirty-five years ago, scientists could not cut and paste pre-existing fragments of genetic material like we can today. The discovery and application of DNA recombination allowed us to assemble new genes. The synthetic biology community needs other enabling technologies that help to make new accomplishments possible. What are other types of basic tricks does nature use? Have you discovered and applied one that could revolutionize synthetic biology?
  5. Best Health and Medicine Project: Many health and medical problems might best be addressed by improved biological technologies. What can synthetic biology do?
  6. Best Information Processing Project: The diversity and abundance of biological properties, behaviors, and parts presents a huge information processing challenge. Has your project led to an innovative system that allows us to navigate and use lots of information quickly and effectively?
  7. Best Manufacturing Project: Have you ever heard of nanotechnology? Well, biology is a nanotechnology that already exists, and that actually works. The ribosome is a programmable nanoassembler embedded within a reproducing machine. Could we responsibly use biology to manufacture useful products, from the nanoscale (atoms) to the decascale (buildings and bridges)? What can biology be programmed to manufacture?
  8. Best New Application Project: We're guessing that you have great ideas that nobody has ever thought about, or if they have they forgot to tell somebody else. Can you imagine an entirely new application area for biological technology?

New Track Prizes

We are introducing seven new tracks to the iGEM 2014 competition. On top of our regular tracks such as Foundational Advance and Health and Medicine, we also have the new tracks listed below. Each of the following new tracks is eligible for a best in track award. New Track teams have the same eligibility for awards as all other iGEM teams, pending confirmation from the judging committee. For example, this makes them eligible for (but not limited to) the Best Poster, Best Presentation, Best Wiki, Best New Basic BioBrick Part awards as well as the Undergraduate and Overgraduate BioBrick Trophies.

  1. Best Art & Design Project: Teams of art and design students with input from scientific advisors can use art to drive their iGEM projects, while also making scientific contributions. We are looking for projects that use art and design to consider and explore current and future implications of synthetic biology (including stakeholders, communication, pedagogy, thinking outwards).
  2. Best Community Labs Project: The Community Lab Track will have the same focus on bench research as the traditional iGEM track, however we are also looking for projects that increase the accessibility of synthetic biology. These might include kits such as Genomikon, or equipment hacks such as the Open PCR. We especially want to encourage teams that may not be able to conduct genetic engineering experiments within their labs due to local regulations, but who might innovate in the areas of equipment, software, outreach, education, etc...
  3. Best Entrepreneurship Project: Entrepreneurship in iGEM is about fostering the development of a new industry where Synthetic Biology is the underlying technological platform. As with any new industry, it is not clear which business plans will be the most successful. But, there are also more fundamental questions: What Business models will succeed, how will intellectual property affect company formation and funding, what skills are required at each stage of company’s life cycle, how will government policies promote or hinder new companies, what will be the social contract with Synthetic Biology companies?
  4. Best Measurement Project: With all the instruments in our laboratories, why isn't measurement a solved problem in synthetic biology? Part of the problem is knowing what to measure and in what context. The iGEM Measurement Track will aim to address some of these problems.
  5. Best Microfluidics Project: Microfluidic, or “lab-on-a-chip” technology, is a maturing field of research involving miniaturized systems where fluids are manipulated on the scale of nanoliters and picoliters. With microfluidics it is possible to perform high-throughput biological experiments integrating multiple functions in devices no larger than a postage stamp.
  6. Best Policy & Practices Project: In previous years, iGEM teams that have made significant contributions to integrating broader social considerations into the design of their synthetic biology devices, have been awarded with the Special Prize for Best Human Practices Advance. This year we are introducing a dedicated ‘Policy & Practices’ track for teams looking to contribute detailed work grounded in the humanities and social sciences. The new name of ‘Policy & Practices’ is intended to reflect a broadened and matured vision for activities in this track - and across iGEM as a whole - that has evolved from the strong track record of Human Practices at iGEM.
  7. Best Software Project: Computers have been around for a long time. Why don't we have more, great software tools to help everyone engineer synthetic biological systems based on standard biological parts?
    See the Software Track Page for details.

Please send us any comments or suggestions for awards and judging by email to the judging committee at judging AT igem DOT org.