SYNENERGENE Calls for Proposals/Rathenau Instituut


Take your iGEM Project to the next level!

Funded Collaboration

Partner: Rathenau Instituut

Due date: May 30, 2014
Questions: contact Virgil Rerimassie,

Is your iGEM team looking for an exciting Policy & Practices challenge? Would you like to take your project to the next level by exploring it with experts, policymakers, and the public? And would you like to get support and funding throughout this entire process? If your answer is "yes", your team might be an excellent candidate for our Call for Proposals.


The Rathenau Instituut is a partner of SYNENERGENE, a four-year collaborative project funded by the European Commission, aimed at fostering Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in synthetic biology. In order to examine how SynBio can be optimally embedded in society, the Rathenau Instituut and its SYNENERGENE partners aim to conduct "Real-Time Technology Assessments" of potential SynBio applications. To this end, we seek collaboration with iGEM teams, and we will focus on promising ideas for SynBio applications as developed in iGEM projects. Teams can conduct real-time technology assessment in the Policy & Practices (formerly: "human practices") component of their project, and will be supported by SYNENERGENE partners throughout the process. Teams can apply for support and funding by submitting to us proposals.

Rewards and support

Awarded teams will receive €5.000 each and be assisted in their work by the Rathenau Instituut and other SYNENERGENE partners, providing them an excellent way to work on the Policy and Practices dimension of their project through real-time technology assessment, and to enhance the overall quality of their project.


For this first call we are especially looking for projects dedicated to fighting antibiotic resistance, the use of cyanobacteria as a chassis, and the use of SynBio for environmental conservation. Proposals relating to the three themes are given special preference, but ideas for other themes are also more than welcome! We hope for proposals from teams in the Health & Medicine, Energy, and Environment tracks, but also from teams in the Policy & Practices or Entrepreneurship tracks. (Teams from other tracks are also welcome to submit proposals!)

  1. Antibiotic resistance – Resistance to antibiotics is an increasing public health concern. SynBio may make valuable contributions to addressing this challenge. For example, by developing micro-organisms that produce novel antibiotics, or by creating alternatives to the use and over-use of antibiotics.
  2. Cyanobacteria – SynBio researchers have high hopes that cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) can become a new sustainable platform/chassis, to produce biofuels and other useful substances. How can cyanobacteria be made an important new chassis for iGEM as well?
  3. Environmental conservation – Recently, conservationists and synthetic biologists have started joining hands and exploring ways that SynBio can help protect the natural environment. For example, one of the ideas is using SynBio to tackle ocean dead zones, where marine life has been killed by harmful algal blooms. How could iGEM contribute to nature conservation?


Each selected iGEM team will develop two different kinds of future scenarios relating to their project and its applications:

  • Application scenarios

    Application scenarios offer detailed and realistic descriptions of how SynBio applications could be fully deployed and embedded in society, including: design criteria for the products proposed, target manufacturers and users of the products, the needs and costs involved, legal issues of patenting, regulatory requirements, potential safety, social and ethical implications, and available or conceivable alternatives.

  • Techno-moral scenarios

    A techno-moral scenario is a story, artwork, or other tool to stimulate imagination, reflection and debate about ways in which SynBio applications may transform our society through wider impacts, including ethical, legal and social issues.

SYNENERGENE partners will take up the scenarios as a starting point for an interactive process of technology assessment, involving a variety of stakeholders and iGEM team members in workshop settings. The ultimate aim of these workshops is to develop socially robust agendas for SynBio innovation. The scenarios will also be used by SYNENERGENE partners as a tool in organizing public debates on the future of SynBio. Please expand the boxes below to read more about the scenarios that selected iGEM teams will deliver, and about the envisaged process of Real-Time Technology Assessment.

Proposal and application

Interested iGEM teams may submit a proposal (2 page A4, one thousand words maximum), including:

  1. A description of the intended SynBio project
  2. Potential applications of the project
  3. An indication of practices, actors, regulations and impacts that will be addressed in application and techno-moral scenarios.

Please send your proposal to by May 30, 2014.

More information

If you need more information or have any questions, please contact Virgil Rerimassie at the Rathenau Instituut:

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