Team:UiOslo Norway/HumanPractice/Media


UiOslo IGEM 2014


We live in an era where information flow is overwhelming. To inform the public about what’s going on in science we have to develop our social media skills in addition to being good at "selling" our research to the media. In other words we have to be good at science communication. Our team has focused on these issues and we have learned a few things that we hope can make it easier for next years team (under troubleshooting). We have also made a media-plan that might help future teams to see how to spend the time, and how to get in touch with the media. Below we've listed just about everything we've done related to media.


  • NRK (the National Broadcasting Company of Norway). We have contacted both the news and the science program Schrödingers katt.
  • Østlandssendingen (A part of NRK that only cover local news for eastern Norway)

None of these has made programs about iGEM as far as we’re concerned. We were filmed during the meeting with Drew Endy and the NTNU-team in Trondheim and the video was put on YouTube by the The Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board.

Newspapers and Journals

  • Aftenposten (one of the biggest newspapers in Norway). We wrote an article for the science part of the newspaper that was positively received. It has not been published. We have also been in touch with them to try to get an interview, but without sucess.
  • Varden (a local newspaper for one of the participants). No response.
  • Østlandets Blad (a daily newspaper for the eastern region of Norway).
  • Teknisk Ukeblad They wrote the following about us the (01.08.14):
  • Genialt (issued four times a year, it is the information from the Norwegian Biotechnology council) → The website of the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board (21.08.2014). The article was also published in their printed magazine, Genialt, issue number 3 2014.
    A picture of the article about us.
  • Argument (a newspaper issued by students) We will have an article printed in the next issue of Argument. This issue will be issued in middle of October, and therefore the article will not be linked to from our wiki.
  • Farmatid (the journal of The Norwegian Association of Pharmacists) We wrote an article and it was received by the editor in change. If it's published it will most likely be after the Giant Jamboree, and therefore not linked to.
  • Visste du det? (A school news paper for a secondary school in Nittedal)
    What was written about us there.
  • Universitas (a weekly newspaper for all the students in Oslo with student-related information). Their article can be found here. NB! It has been changed since it’s first release, and it is somewhat different from the article found in the printed edition, issue number 21, Wednesday 27. august 2014.
  • NBS Nytt - Norwegian Biochemical Society News. We will write an article about our experience in Boston and about iGEM in general.

Talking about science with the media can be troublesome

The latter news article needs further explanation. Universitas is the local newspaper for all students in Oslo. This means approximately 60 000 students. We agreed to have an interview with them and talk about our project and iGEM.

Indeed the interview was very nice. At the end there was one question about the possibility for terrorism and whether this could potentially be dangerous. We answered that safety and security are very important parts of the iGEM-contest and that this is stressed all the way during the process. However, the journalist had also interviewed one of our supervisor, Paul Grini, and the Director of the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board. Both thought they were being interviewed about iGEM. The journalist did also ask questions about safety and bioterror.

The article was issued with the headline “Fears a new bioterror-threat”. In the article it looks like ¨we, the students, pose a possible threat to society. The internet version is somewhat modified after we talked to the editor, but for interested readers it can be found here in norwegian: There is also a paper issue of this article with picture and name.

We had not foreseen this type of headline, and this came as a big surprise to us. After discussing the issue, we decided to write back to Universitas. They agreed to print our response, and we got a full page in the next issue.

Universitas printed a small, hardly noticeable, note where they state that we’re not terrorists. We also filed a complaint to the Norwegian Press Complaint Commity.

For us, this article was a very negative response to something that we thought of as very positive. All we wanted to do was to communicate the possibilities within the field of synthetic biology and iGEM. For other teams to avoid this sort of trouble we’ve made a troubleshooting-guide and a guide to how to get positive media attention.

Websites and blogs (not including our own)


  • Ekko (a radio program about science, part of the NRK). Positive response, but no result as yet.
  • Radio Nova (a student-run radio station, reaching all of Oslo, but also available online). Radio Nova has not had anything about us, as far as we know of.

Social Media

We have wanted to profile ourselves on social media as well in order to make information about our team and synthetic biology more available. We have decided to create accounts on some of the most used social media in Norway.