Registration Handbook for 2020

On this pageThis includes information on: user accounts, team accounts, team names, team composition and team section, applying for a team, team region, adding a secondary PI, and managing the team roster.

Below is the handbook for registering for iGEM 2020. Please take a look through this information carefully.
If you have any questions, please email us at hq [AT] igem [DOT] org.

User Accounts

The first step in the entire iGEM registration process is to create a user account for yourself. Everyone must have a user account - PIs, instructors, students, advisors, and anyone else on the team. You will need an user account In order to:

It is extremely important that you have a user account!

In order to create an account, go to the create an account page by clicking on "Log in/create an account" in the upper right corner. It will look like image 1.

When you're creating your user account, you will be asked for TWO names: your real name and your user name. Your user name will only be used to log in to iGEM and the Registry. Your real name will be used for everything else - including keeping track of edits that you make, attributing credit to anything that you have done, and any other presence that you have on iGEM and the Registry. Your user/login name can be anything that you want but your real name must take the form [first name] [last name]. Your real name must be in English, otherwise it will not print correctly on your participation certificate at the end of the season. At this time, we can only accept characters A-Z and numbers 0-9 (username only); special characters are not supported.

When you create an account you will be asked for the school or organization you are affiliated with. This is NOT the name of the iGEM team you are on. This is the school that you attend or the organization that you are with. Once you have created a user account, you will automatically have a user page.

If you ever forget your user name or your password, you can come back to the login page:

  • If you forget your user name, you can contact HQ to retrieve your user name.
  • If you forget your password, you can enter your user name and a new password can be emailed to you.

Team Accounts

In order to participate in iGEM, you must first apply for your team. You must be a team PI in order to apply a team - student members are not allowed to apply for a team.

Team Names

The first component of a team application is the team name. The team name may only include the name of the school(s) represented on the team, or the city/country/region in which the school is located. A team name must follow these rules:

  • be 20 or fewer characters (including letters, and underscore/hyphen)
  • should indicate your school name(s) and city, state, country and/or region
  • only contain letters A-Z, and a-z
  • may contain numbers 0-9
  • can contain underscore (_) or hyphen (-)
  • cannot contain the year (i.e. "20", or "2020")
  • cannot contain spaces
  • cannot include the words iGEM, team, or synthetic biology
  • cannot include the team's project name
  • cannot include the name of your school mascot
  • cannot include sponsor names

For examples of team names, please see the 2019 team list.

Team Composition and Team Section

There are different roles on an iGEM team - PIs, instructors, students, and advisors. Please note: A 2020 iGEM team must have at least one PI. The PI MUST be a faculty member or staff member. For high school teams, the PI must be a high school teacher or principal. The team's PI will serve as the official point of contact for iGEM Headquarters; PIs must be able to receive emails / phone calls from iGEM HQ and respond promptly. For more information about team roles, see the Team Roles page.

Students typically make up the majority of a team roster. To allow more individuals from different educational levels to participate in iGEM, there are three sections in the competition. Teams are placed in the undergraduate, overgraduate, or high school section depending on the ages of their student team members:

  1. Undergraduate teams have student team members who are 23 or younger as of March 31, 2020
    On these teams, team members who are older than 23 can serve as instructors or advisors.

  2. Overgraduate teams have student team members who are older than 23 as of March 31, 2020

  3. High School teams have only student team members are high school students on March 31, 2020; includes students who graduate from high school in the spring of 2020

Regardless of section, the student team members must be the ones actually doing the majority of the lab work. Any work not done by iGEM student team members must be clearly attributed to whomever conducted the work and this will be taken into consideration during judging.

In addition to team instructors and students, there are some auxiliary roles on an iGEM team. These could be advisors, sponsors, part time support from other professors, industry liaisons, etc.

Lastly, an iGEM team can represent more than one school, and can be comprised of members from one or more schools. In addition, one school can have more than one iGEM team.

Applying for a Team

As indicated above, only team PIs can apply for and register an iGEM team. To do so, you should have already obtained a user account. If you have not already done so, please return to the create an account page.

Once you are logged in with your user name, go to the iGEM Team Application page and you can begin applying for your team. You will need to have the following information:

  • team name (see requirements above)
  • shipping information (to receive your DNA distribution)
  • primary PI information (including email address and phone number)
  • secondary PI information (including email address and phone number) -- optional, but strongly recommended
  • primary student contact information (email address, phone number) -- optional

Once you have filled in all the necessary information, you can submit your application. Note that this is an application - your information will be sent to iGEM Headquarters (HQ) and we will review it and either accept it or contact you for more details. This is a manual process, not automatic, so it may take a few days! We will be as efficient as possible when it comes to accepting iGEM team applications.

Team Region

The region (Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America) that your team will be participating in will be automatically selected based on the address information entered when completing the team application.

All teams will be competing at the iGEM 2020 Giant Jamboree.

Adding a Secondary PI

To add a secondary PI, the primary PI must add the user to the team roster. To do so, please follow these steps:

  1. First, make sure the secondary PI has a user account.
  2. Log in to
  3. Go to the Team List and click on your team name.
  4. Halfway down your Team Information page, in the Controlling Team Membership box, click on Add A Member.
  5. Search for the user you want to add using their full name, not user name.

Alternatively, the secondary PI can join the team using the Join A Team page.

See the Team Requirements page for details on why teams need to have a primary PI and are strongly encouraged to have a secondary PI.

Special Exception: High School Teams

Since HS rosters are controlled by iGEM HQ -- see below -- HS secondary PIs cannot be added by the primary PI. Instead, secondary PIs must join the team directly using the Join A Team page as a pending team member.

Managing Team Roster

The team roster can be built up in three ways:

  1. The team PIs (except HS PIs; see below) will receive a team registration code that they can provide to team members. Team members can then create user accounts and add themselves to the team roster with the registration code by joining the team at
  2. When team members create their user accounts, they will be able to join an existing iGEM team as pending members if they do not have the registration code. Team PIs and instructors will be able to accept pending memberships by logging in and going to the Team Information page.
  3. Team PIs can also manually add team members to the team roster by inputting their user names into the Team Information page. In order to do this, the team members must have already created their user accounts. This last method of adding team members is the most time-consuming since the PIs will need to select from a list of all matching user names.

To view your team roster, go to the iGEM 2020 Main Page, and click on the list icon in the upper right corner to view the drop-down navigation menu. Click on Teams and go to Team List to view the complete list of teams, and then click on your team name.

Special Exception: High School Teams

For high school teams, iGEM HQ has to manage the roster instead of the team PIs because we require consent forms for all participants. Your team members should join as pending members using the Join a Team page and once iGEM HQ receives their respective consent forms, we will approve their application to join the team. Because the high school teams are typically comprised of minors, we must be more strict with membership and permissions.