Tracks/Community Labs


Revision as of 21:32, 7 February 2014 by Meagan (Talk | contribs)

iGEM 2014 Community Labs New Track

We are excited to announce that iGEM is establishing a Community Labs track for iGEM 2014! This track will allow Community Labs and established DIYBio groups to participate within iGEM for the first time.

Introduction to iGEM Community Labs Track

iGEM is an engine for innovation. In this manner it is aligned with both traditional scientific research institutions and the free market. But participants in iGEM will tell you that beyond the accolades of scientific publishing and economic reward, the real motivating force that energizes innovation is a simple desire to push technology as far as possible - and to HAVE FUN. Innovating for the sake of innovation itself is an intrinsic and separate motivation, just as a valid and important as a wish to advance science or make millions.

The worldwide community of amateur biologists, biohackers, citizen scientists, or otherwise non-institutional scientists is motivated by this incredibly powerful force. They want to push the envelope of biological technology. They want to, in general, increase the power of an individual to understand biological systems - “to understand things” - and to prototype biological designs - *to build things*. They ask why the tools we use as biological engineers - protocols and equipment and organisms and genes - are the way they are, and imagine how they could be made simpler, less expensive, or just easier to work with.

DIYBio workshop held by Ellen Jorgensen at Yale

In 2014 for the first time, the iGEM competition will expand to include the DIYbio community by adding the Community Lab Track. iGEM requires a large investment in time and money to participate, but its format as annual competition actually facilitates fundraising, recruitment, and general motivation to do something BIG. It provides a compelling vehicle to organize a team, a lab, and get a project done on time. It is our hope that the new DIY track could stimulate the formation of many new community labs, with great benefit to the DIYbio community.

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, etc. It’s also permissible to collaborate with an institution for the parts of the project that require licensed facilities, as long as it is clear that the regulated activities are being performed solely within the designated institutional space and supervised by appropriate personnel.

As in the past, all iGEM teams must submit a safety page. The Community Labs will have to describe their facilities in detail, and work with organisms and procedures appropriate to the biosafety level of their facility, and follow recombinant DNA guidelines.

Genspace at Maker Faire London 2013

Community Lab track details

Community labs will be able to compete alongside traditional iGEM teams for the same prizes. Teams will be eligible for the Grand Prize, as well as other prizes such as the Best Human Practices, Best Software and Best Part awards.

If you participate in iGEM this season, we will ship you a copy of the 2014 distribution as well as fulfill any part requests for the duration of the competition. You get space on this 2014 wiki to display your project, a presentation slot and poster board at the Giant Jamboree.

Community Lab track requirements

  • Two Principal Investigators. These people are our first point of contact for your team.
  • A legally-recognized company to host the team.
  • More requirements to come soon
  • Community Labs track Committee

    We have a great committee to help coordinate this endeavor.

    1. Chair: Ellen Jorgensen
    2. Jason Bobe
    3. Mac Cowell