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Intro to judging in 2014

Welcome to judging in iGEM in 2014! If you’re new to iGEM, you’re probably working hard on your project, trying to make sense of all the requirements, medal criteria, part submission guidelines and other facets of iGEM so that you can present a great project at the Jamboree later this year.

Requirements to participate in iGEM in 2014

Before evaluation, you should familiarize yourselves with the requirements for iGEM this year. We have 9 requirements for track teams. You can see them in more detail on the Requirements page, but in summary here are our requirements:

  1. Team Composition
  2. Team Structure
  3. Registration and Other Fees
  4. Project Documentation
  5. Part Submission
  6. Attribution
  7. Safety
  8. Project Presentation
  9. Positive Contribution

We also have separate requirements for new track teams, as the scope of work is different for these teams. Please also see the requirements page for more details.

Awards and award eligibility

In iGEM, you can win a medal, an award, a track prize and our grand prize, the BioBrick trophy. For each of these prizes, you are competing with different groups or requirements.

Full details can be found on the awards page, but here is a summary of awards this year:


All iGEM teams are eligible for medals. Every team can win a gold medal, if they meet the gold medal criteria. You are competing against yourself with medals. We have updated the medal criteria for iGEM’s tracks this year. We have also added new criteria for our new tracks to help focus your work more on your chosen subject area. New in 2014: New Track teams have their own specific medal criteria so check out your track page for more information!

See the full Medal Criteria on the awards page.

Track Awards:

There are awards for the best team in each track. You will be competing against all other teams in your track. Your team can only be in one track in iGEM, so you can only win a single track award. New in 2014: there are now 15 track awards including our New Tracks. There are now two tracks for “Food and Nutrition” and “Energy”.

See the full Track Awards on the awards page.

Special Prizes:

We have special prizes to reward the best wiki, poster, parts, etc. There is one prize for each special area and many of these prizes have criteria associated with them. For example, if you want to win any of the part awards, your part must be RFC #10 compatible, you must send us the DNA and the part must be in the shipping plasmid PSB1C3, or you won’t be eligible for the part award. New in 2014: There will not be a “best new standard award” in 2014.

See the full Special Prizes on the awards page.

Grand BioBrick Trophy:

Any team can win these trophies, but you are competing with every other team in your section (Undergrad or Overgrad), so competition will be strong.

The judging system in iGEM has evolved over the last 10 years to meet the challenges of evaluating the incredibly diverse scope of work we see in the competition. We have medals so that teams can learn what milestones they should strive to achieve. We have awards to reward excellence in many areas of our diverse competition. And we have the Grand Prize to pick the best team.

So how should we think about judging this year?

Everyone should strive for excellence in iGEM and we have many, many opportunities to reward excellent work. Only one team will win each section, but participating in our competition will enrich the lives of all iGEMers.

Our philosophy is “Synthetic Biology based on Standard Parts” and this philosophy is very much embodied in our requirements and medal criteria. Looking at the medal criteria, it’s clear we emphasize making, sending, sharing and characterizing standard parts a key part of the judging. There is a bronze medal criterion to create, characterize and send us a BioBrick part. The silver medal criteria as well as the first gold medal criterion were written to emphasize the creation of new, well characterized BioBrick parts so that we can continue to grow the Registry of Standard Biological Parts.

If you don’t know about RFC #10 and you can’t name the four illegal restriction sites, please check out our page on standards. All parts that you send to iGEM HQ must adhere to one of our supported standards.

How should we think about judging if we are a new team in 2014?

If you’re participating in iGEM for the first time in 2014, a lot of the evaluation could seem a little confusing. We care a lot about parts, and we have some very specific requirements about creating, documenting and sending them to us. Check out our pages on assembly standards and RFC #10 to learn more.

It is important to understand about synthetic biology, parts and why characterization and documentation on the Registry is so important. We also have a calendar of events, so check it out for all our deadlines in 2014.

How should we think about judging this year if we have participated many times?

There are a few differences in terms of the evaluation this year. We will be evaluating the medals, track prizes and special prizes at the Giant Jamboree this year, instead of separating out awards at the Regions. With a single event and no regions, there will only be one of each award per section in 2014.

Medal requirements have been slightly modified this year, so please read over them again.

To make judging easier this year, we’re also going to freeze the Registry at the same time as the wikis. You’ll need to have your parts be ready to go at the same time as your wiki.

Important Dates

We have a series of deadlines this year that apply to all teams and regions simultaneously. There will only be one wiki freeze and there will also be a freeze on the Registry to aid judges in their evaluations this year. Be sure to study the official iGEM Calendar of Events to find out the final dates for different judging requirements.

Other Requirements and Information

Judging Forms

Teams will be required to submit a judging form that outlines their accomplishments according to the Judging Criteria. Details on where/how/when to fill out this form will be provided when they are available.

Wiki and Parts.igem.org freeze

Experienced teams will be familiar with the wiki freeze, the time in the iGEM calendar when we disable editing to allow judges to work without changes. This date will now be two weeks before the Jamboree and for the first time, we will freeze the parts Registry.

Part Characterization, Measurement and Improvement

This year, we’re changing the medal requirements for characterizing, measuring and improving a part. We’re introducing a contribution system, instead of the experience page, that you can read more about on our page.

Judging Committee

  • Peter Carr, Director of Judging
  • Beth Beason, Co-Head Judge
  • Janie Brennan, Co-Head Judge

For Judges

Information for Judges page

The 2014 World Championship Jamboree Information for Judges page contains information on how to cast your ballot on teams, where the room locations can be found and where to find all the posters. This page will be updated closer to the 2014 World Championship Jamboree.

Judges Dashboard

Please login to your Judges Dashboard to see the teams you have been assigned.

2014 Judging Handbook

Learning how to judge an iGEM team is a complex task and one that we are always working to improve. In 2012 and 2013, the judging handbook was mainly focused on how to perform assignments. This year, we are introducing the judging handbook in two parts. Part 1 of the handbook is dedicated to describing great examples and winning teams from previous years. This handbook focuses on the factors contributing to the success of these teams from the perspective of the judges who evaluated them.

Part 2 focuses on how to perform your judging assignment.

Please download the handbooks here:

  1. iGEM 2014 Judging Handbook Part 1 v1.0
  2. iGEM 2014 Judging Handbook Part 2 v1.0