Throughout the project’s runtime, SYNENERGENE partners collaborate closely with the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition (iGEM). iGEM is an annual competition seeking to engage undergraduate students and also DIY scientists in synthetic biology research. With a focus on innovation, international collaboration and ethical reflection about what can and should count as good practices, the competition already contributes to fostering responsible research and innovation (RRI). SYNENERGENE offers to help iGEM teams to deepen and extend their activities in this direction, bringing together young synbio scientists with specialists in technology assessment and RRI and relevant stakeholders.
iGEM teams are welcome to collaborate with SYNENERGENE partners in ‘real-time technology assessments’, supported by a special funding scheme. This work typically includes the development of two kinds of future scenarios based on the team's iGEM project. First, the development of ‘application scenarios’, which help the team in identifying viable and socially robust trajectories of innovation for their iGEM project. Furthermore, teams develop ‘techno-moral scenarios’, which critically examine the potential - positive and negative - societal impact of their innovation. At a later stage SYNENERGENE partners will be using these future scenarios in stakeholder workshops. This collaboration will offer the teams a great way of doing Policy and Practices work and moreover will enhance the overall quality of their iGEM project.
Further opportunities for collaboration include reflections of the experiences of iGEM teams with the media, supported by SYNENERGENE’s partners in the context of the media forum. With the members of the ECSITE network of science centres and museums, SYNENERGENE also offers considerable experience with public engagement activities reaching out to a broader public.
Open calls and invitations for collaboration will be posted on SYNENERGENE’s iGEM website.
To see the results of the first collaborations in the 2014 iGEM competition, click here.
Information about the results of the second round of collaborations (iGEM 2015) will be updated when it becomes available.