Competition/Coronavirus

Coronavirus Updates


To stay up-to-date, please makes sure that you are subscribed to iGEM Newsletters, or check the 2020 Competition Website often for updates

Jump to: Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Changes to the 2020 Competition Calendar

Tuesday August 11, 2020

To help us all adapt to the new competition conditions this year, we have made some changes to the 2020 Competition Calendar. Please see below for the full list of changes, and mark your personal and team calendars accordingly! More information can be found at 2020.igem.org/Calendar. Always check the official Calendar page on 2020.igem.org for the most up-to-date information about deadlines.

Full List of Changes

  • Final Team Rosters due: Friday, August 7 -> Friday, October 2
  • Final Track Selection due: Friday, August 7 -> Friday, October 2
  • Testing Day: Wednesday, August 12 -> Wednesday, October 7
  • Giant Jamboree Registration closes: Monday, August 31 -> Wednesday, September 30
  • Giant Jamboree Late Registration opens: Tuesday, September 1 -> Thursday, October 1
  • Team Project Promotion Videos: September TBD -> Friday, September 25 at 11:59AM EDT*
  • Final Safety Forms Due: Friday, September 11 -> Friday, September 11 (no change)
  • Team Project Title and Abstract due: Friday, September 25 -> Friday, October 9
  • Final Judging Form due: Wednesday, October 14 -> Friday, October 23
  • Github Freeze: Monday, October 19 -> Tuesday, October 27
  • Registry Pages Freeze: Monday, October 19 -> Tuesday, October 27
  • Wiki Freeze: Monday, October 19 -> Tuesday, October 27
  • Team Presentation Videos Due: TBD -> Friday, October 30 at 11:59AM EDT*
  • Poster Freeze: TBD
  • Opening Ceremony for Giant Jamboree: Friday, November 13
  • Giant Jamboree begins: Thursday, October 29 -> Saturday, November 14
  • Giant Jamboree ends: Monday, November 2 -> Sunday, November 22
  • Team Wikis Thawed: Thursday, November 5 -> Wednesday, November 25
  • Closing Date for 2020 Competition / Wiki Archive Date: Friday, December 11 -> Friday, December 18

More Information can be found on the official iGEM 2020 Calendar page:

*Note: Most due dates and freezes are at 11:59PM / 23:59PM EDT (midnight). The two new video deadlines will be at 11:59AM EDT (midday). Times are stated in EDT (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC -04), or EST (Eastern Standard Time, UTC -05) After November 1.

Join us at the iGEM 2020 Virtual Giant Jamboree!

Tuesday August 4, 2020

We are excited to announce the dates for the iGEM 2020 Virtual Giant Jamboree! Join us November 14-22 for nine -- yes 9! -- full days to gather for Competition, Community, Contribution, and Celebration.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge for iGEM this year. Global travel and large meetings are a major risk factor to spreading COVID-19. To prioritize the health and safety of our community, we will host the Giant Jamboree virtually this year. Even though we can’t come together at one big in-person event this year, the virtual format brings some exciting opportunities to celebrate iGEM at a scale never before experienced.

iGEM 2020: An exceptional Year

April 22, 2020



This is not a normal year. Together, we are facing the biggest pandemic in the past 100 years. Based on your feedback, we are adapting the iGEM experience - we have examined each part of the competition to make it even better this year. This is iGEM in the time of a pandemic. It will be different but it will be worth it.
See the full announcement here

Take a look at some of the changes on our "New for 2020" hub:

Ambassador Coffee Hours - Tell us your feedback!

Wednesday April 22, 2020

With the day-to-day changes everyone is facing around the world, we are looking for information from our community to help guide some decisions for this year. No one knows your situation better than you. Whether you are a PI, advisor, instructor, student leader, or student member, if you are thinking of participating in the iGEM 2020 Competition, we want to hear from you.

Starting Thursday, April 23 (tomorrow!) until Tuesday, April 28, our Ambassadors will be hosting video calls to hear from you and the other teams in your area. Please join any of the calls happening in your region to meet with the rest of the iGEM Community, and tell us about your situation.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Current as of Wednesday, April 22

Is the Giant Jamboree happening?

  • Yes but with a format change - we are holding a Virtual Giant Jamboree this year.
  • We will still have judges evaluate your team projects and will have medals and prizes awarded to teams for the 2020 season.

If my university is closed, do we have any special considerations?

  • Yes, due to the continued impact of the novel coronavirus on teams, we have decided to extend the deadline for our regular registration rate of $5,500 USD to May 15, 2020, for ALL iGEM teams this year
  • If your university or school will be closed past May 15, please send us an email to hq [AT] igem [DOT] org and we will work with you and extend the deadline further.

When is the cancellation date for team registration?

  • The current cancellation date for team registration is May 15, 2020 with a $500 USD cancellation fee. Teams must notify iGEM in writing via email (hq [AT] igem [DOT] org) by May 15, 2020, to request a cancellation.
  • You may choose to either apply the full amount you have paid to your 2021 Team Registration Fee or receive a refund.

Should we move all iGEM team activities online?

  • We recommend you follow the guidelines provided by your university and local government to remain safe and healthy.
  • We do not recommend teams host in-person meetups in the coming months. Instead, consider switching to an online virtual meetup! If you need help hosting a virtual meetup, you can contact after [AT] igem [DOT] org and a regional ambassador can assist you.

How can we keep up to date with iGEM’s decisions?

  • Please subscribe to our Newsletters and add the email domain of igem [DOT] org to your contacts list to prevent our Newsletters from going into your junk email.
  • You can also check on the 2020 Main Page and follow us on social media.
  • We will also update this webpage with any news (https://2020.igem.org/Coronavirus)

Team Fee Extension Policy

Thursday April 16, 2020

Due to the continuing impact of COVID-19, teams must follow these instructions in order to request an extension of the regular team registration rate:

  1. Team PI completes the New Team application on iGEM.org: https://igem.org/New_Team
  2. Team PI completes the team fee form on N/A, selecting "wire transfer" as the payment method: N/A
  3. Team PI emails hq AT igem DOT org with the following information:
    1. team name, as shown on the team information page (http://igem.org/Team.cgi)
    2. team code, as shown on the team information page (http://igem.org/Team.cgi)
    3. Confirmation number
    4. documentation of the reason(s) the team is unable to transmit their registration fee by May 15 (ex: administrative offices are closed, banks are closed, etc.)
    5. expected date of when the team will be able to transmit their registration fee, and supporting documentation
  4. iGEM Headquarters will respond to the email to confirm the extension, or request additional information as needed

Please note that iGEM Headquarters must receive an email from the team PI in order to grant the extension, and teams must receive confirmation from iGEM Headquarters in order to receive an extension. The regular registration rate will end on May 15 and a late registration surcharge of $500 will apply beginning May 16, unless you request an extension by following the above instructions.

New rules and guidelines for iGEM teams in the context of COVID-19

Monday March 30, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly affect 2020 iGEM projects. Some teams may even want to respond to COVID-19 using the tools of synthetic biology. Regardless of your project choice, we want to caution that this public health crisis poses some special challenges for iGEM teams. We have created new Safety and Human Practices guidelines for teams conducting iGEM projects during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Click below to learn more about iGEM's rules for projects focused on COVID-19, and social distancing and responsible interactions.

Ambassador/Team Interviews

Tuesday March 24, 2020

With the day-to-day changes everyone is facing around the world, we are looking for information from our community to help guide some decisions for this year. No one knows your situation better than you. Whether you are a PI, advisor, instructor, student leader, or student member, if you are thinking of participating in the iGEM 2020 Competition, we want to hear from you.

At the start of the year, we recruited 26 iGEM Alumni from around the world to be your iGEM Ambassadors. During the year, they will be your regional representatives and community contacts. We want to try something new this year: we are going to use video calls to connect with you directly to learn about the challenges you are facing this year.

Starting Wednesday, March 25 (tomorrow!) until Tuesday, March 31, our Ambassadors and iGEM Headquarters will be hosting 1 hour video calls to hear from you and the other teams in your area. Please join any of the calls happening in your region to meet with the rest of the iGEM Community, and tell us about your situation. Visit this page: 2020.igem.org/Ambassador_Calls to find a time slot that works for you and your team, and just click the Zoom link to join in the call at the assigned time. You are welcome to join as many calls as you would like.

We will use the Zoom application to host the video calls. We recommend downloading the Zoom app ahead of time. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to after [AT] igem [DOT] org

Speak to you soon!

Best wishes,
Traci and Ronit
Director of the Competition and Ambassador Program Co-ordinator
iGEM Foundation

Regular Registration Extended to April 30th

Tuesday March 17, 2020

Due to the continued impact of the novel coronavirus upon our community worldwide, we have decided to extend the deadline for our regular registration rate of $5,500 USD to April 30, 2020, for all of our iGEM teams this year. We hope this will make signing up for the competition easier for everyone.

We are working hard to determine the final deadline for team registration this year and will update you all once that date has been set.

If your university or school will be closed past April 30, please send us an email to hq [AT] igem [DOT] org and we will work with you and extend the deadline further.

Thank you for your continued support and patience as we navigate through this pandemic together. As always, we hope everyone on our teams and in our community stays safe and takes the recommended precautions to stay healthy.

Message from iGEM Headquarters

Friday March 13, 2020

Dear iGEM Community,

We are continuing to monitor the coronavirus situation closely at iGEM Headquarters. The staff in the Boston office are being proactive and have begun following the CDC recommendation of social distancing by working from home from March 13-27. As a result of this decision, email will be the best way to contact iGEM during the next two weeks.

Please direct your questions to the appropriate email below:

  • general inquiries: hq AT igem DOT org
  • team registration inquiries: registration AT igem DOT org
  • high school consent form inquiries: documents AT igem DOT org
  • sponsorship inquiries: sponsor AT igem DOT org

Team Registration
If your university or school is closed due to COVID-19, we will extend our Regular Registration period for your team so your team will not have to pay the late fee. If your university or school is closed, please send us an email at hq [AT] igem [DOT] org.

The Giant Jamboree Will Take Place as Scheduled
As of now, we are still planning to hold the iGEM Giant Jamboree in Boston from October 29 - November 2, 2020, at the Hynes Convention Center. While we hope the Jamboree will take place as planned, we are also working on alternative Jamboree plans in case there are travel restrictions to the United States in October.

Regardless of the Jamboree format, we want our teams to know that their hard work this year will still be celebrated, evaluated, and rewarded! Team projects will be evaluated by our judging panel and medals and prizes will be awarded for the 2020 season.

Stay Informed
We will continue to keep our community informed of any changes and decisions that will impact our teams through our 2020 Main Page, competition newsletters, social media posts, and on our dedicated coronavirus page.

We hope that everyone in our community will stay safe and take the precautions necessary to stay healthy during this pandemic. We will continue to work with our staff and our committees to find ways to make iGEM 2020 a success. As always, we welcome any questions, concerns, or feedback you may have and ask that you communicate with us through email (hq [AT] igem [DOT] org) for the next two weeks.

Best wishes,
Traci Haddock-Angelli, Ph.D.
Director of the Competition
iGEM Foundation

iGEM HQ working remotely

Thursday March 12, 2020

Please note that iGEM Headquarters will begin working remotely due to COVID-19, and will not be able to receive phone calls. Please direct questions to the appropriate email:

  • general inquiries: hq AT igem DOT org
  • registration inquiries: registration AT igem DOT org
  • consent form inquiries: documents AT igem DOT org
  • sponsorship inquiries: sponsor AT igem DOT org

A message from the Director of the Competition - COVID-19

Monday March 2, 2020

Dear iGEM Community,

As teams around the globe are excitedly starting their 2020 iGEM experience, many teams are facing serious challenges due to the impact of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. We want those teams to know that we are aware of your difficulties and that we are hoping for the best for your teammates and families.

If your university or school is closed due to COVID-19, we will extend our Regular Registration period for your team so your team will not have to pay the late fee. If your university or school is closed, please send us an email at hq [AT] igem [DOT] org.

The 2020 Giant Jamboree will still take place this year from October 29-November 2. We will keep you updated as we get closer to the event, in case we need to change the format if COVID-19 impacts travel in October.

We hope everyone in our community stays safe and healthy this year. We will continue to monitor the situation as the iGEM season continues. If you have any questions or concerns, please send us an email.

Best wishes,
Traci Haddock-Angelli, Ph.D.
Director of the Competition
iGEM Foundation