The 2020 iGEM Judge Application is now closed.
October 8

Judge applications for the 2020 Giant Jamboree are now closed. Thank you to everyone who applied!

iGEM 2020 Judging Applications

On this page you will find information on: Judging at the Giant Jamboree, Why Should You be an iGEM Judge?, Who Should Apply to be a Judge?, Expectations for Judges, Application Process, Recruitment Goals, and the Judge Application

Judging at the Giant Jamboree

Judging in iGEM is a fun, rewarding experience and requires commitment! Through the judging process, our judges will evaluate, celebrate, and help guide the next generation of synthetic biologists. Judges help the entire iGEM community celebrate the hard work and achievements of our iGEM teams.

We need judges — both experienced and new — who understand and value iGEM. Many of our judges come back year after year, and we gladly welcome new judges to apply as well.

Great news: no jet-lag this year! The Giant Jamboree is entirely virtual. Travel will not be a constraint for judges for the first time in iGEM’s history. We are hopeful that this will allow us to recruit an even more diverse panel of judges from our global iGEM community.

iGEM teams work incredibly hard on their projects, so we need judges who are also committed. Judges are expected to dedicate their time and effort to thoroughly evaluate the projects of their assigned teams. The judging process also includes attending virtual training sessions prior to the Jamboree, attending various sessions during the Giant Jamboree to interact with and evaluate your assigned teams, and providing written feedback to your assigned teams.

Judges at the 2019 Giant Jamboree

Why Should You be an iGEM Judge?

Judging at the annual iGEM Giant Jamboree is an incredibly fulfilling and worthwhile experience for all judges, whether you're returning as a veteran judge or are a new judge this year. Some of the benefits include:

Contributing to the iGEM Community: By volunteering to judge at the Giant Jamboree, you will contribute to one of the most meaningful opportunities that these students experience in synthetic biology. Providing constructive feedback to these dedicated students can be life changing for them as they continue through their academic career and beyond.

Networking: Much like the iGEM teams, you'll have the chance to connect with people from around the globe, to expand your synthetic biology community, and to form new collaborations beyond the Giant Jamboree. You will meet fellow judges, students, and other professionals from around the world and different walks of life.

Learning About New Technology: You will learn about the latest cutting edge work being done in synthetic biology from student teams who are driven to excel and who test the boundaries of synthetic biology through their projects.

Attending for Free: Judges will not pay any registration fee for the Giant Jamboree!

Who Should Apply to be a Judge?

We're looking for:

  • iGEM PIs, instructors, and advisors, from both current and past iGEM teams
  • People who have judged iGEM previously
  • iGEM alumni who want to stay involved, including professionals, graduate students, and post-docs
  • Professionals in the synthetic biology, biotechnology, and engineering industries
  • People who have experience in complementary areas, such as the humanities, art and design, and software

If you have colleagues who you think should apply, please feel free to direct them to this form. While previous iGEM experience is preferred, we gladly welcome new applicants - particularly those that demonstrate a strong knowledge of and value for iGEM.

Applicants must be at least 23 years old as of March 31, 2020, and have completed their undergraduate degree by June 30, 2020, to be considered for the judging panel.

If you are a student on a 2020 iGEM team, then you can't apply to be a judge this year, but you can apply when you graduate and become an iGEM alum!

Expectations for Judges

This year, the Giant Jamboree will have an expanded schedule to accommodate a global virtual audience. Most of the judging activities will take place from November 14-16 (Saturday-Monday) and will run across three time zones (EDT [UTC -4], CEST [UTC +2], and CST [UTC +8]). We are looking for judges who are available during one or more of these major time zones to ensure coverage for our teams. We plan to accommodate your personal schedule requirements when assigning you teams to evaluate.

Each judge will be assigned 6-9 teams to evaluate. The evaluation process will include:

  • Before the Jamboree: Reviewing Team Wikis (Click here to see examples from previous years) and watching Presentation Videos (new requirement this year)
  • During the Jamboree: Attending sessions between November 14-16 during the Giant Jamboree to interact with and evaluate your assigned teams. Judges are also required to provide written feedback for each of their teams in the Judging Ballot provided to them. Judges will also evaluate the iGEM Finalists (announced on Thursday, November 19) and vote for the winners at a voting session between 9-11AM EDT on Saturday, November 21.

Judges are also invited to celebrate with us at the Closing and Awards Ceremonies on Sunday, November 22, which will take place between 8AM - 12PM EDT.

Application Process

This year we are accepting applications on a rolling basis. We will be evaluating applications twice per month and will contact applicants approximately two weeks after the evaluation period with a status notification, such as 1. invitation to judge, 2. invitation to serve as a reserve judge, 3. invitation to re-apply, or 4. decline for 2020 with an invitation to apply next year. Notifications will be sent twice a month, beginning in July, until our quota is full (expected by the end of September). We encourage you to apply early to increase your chances of being selected!

You can apply to be a judge before knowing if you can fully commit to attending the Giant Jamboree. Applicants who are invited to join the judging panel will be asked to confirm their acceptance and their availability. We can also provide an official invitation letter if you require that to secure permission from your institute to participate as a judge.

Once we have reached our quota of judges, we will close the application and add a notice to this page.

Applications will be anonymized and evaluated by experienced judges who belong to the Judging Corps Committee and Executive Judging Committee. If possible, please refrain from using identifying information in the answers to your application questions (Section 4).

Recruitment Goals

We will be recruiting a diverse judging panel with the following characteristics in mind:

  • Gender parity
  • Regional diversity with time zone coverage
  • iGEM experience (i.e., past and present team PIs, mentors, and advisors; previous team members; returning judges)

Please email traci [AT] igem [DOT] org and/or vinoo [AT] igem [DOT] org if you have questions!

Judge Application Form

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1. General Information

Full name: -

Username: -

1. Email

2. Age


Applicants must be at least 23 years old as of March 31, 2020, and have completed their undergraduate degree by June 30, 2020, to be considered for the judging panel.

3. Gender

4. Institution

5. Institution type

6. Position

7. Region Where you currently live/work :

8. Number of years of iGEM experience as a:

2. Jamboree Information

Please complete this section as well as you can. You will be asked to check or update this information prior to the Jamboree.

1. Please indicate which days/times you are available to attend the Virtual Giant Jamboree November 14 - 16.

Day 1AM - 5AM (EDT) 5AM - 9AM (EDT) 9AM - 1PM (EDT) 1PM - 5PM (EDT) 5PM - 9PM (EDT) 9PM - 1AM (EDT)
November 14

November 15

November 16

2. Please indicate your availability for Saturday November 21.

Day 9AM - 11AM (EDT)
November 21

3. Conflicts of Interest

There are many possible reasons why you might be unable to judge some teams impartially. For example if you are a PI or instructor for the team, if the team comes from a school that you attended, or a school where you work or if you mentored or advised the team informally.

These situations could lead to a conflict of interest and iGEM takes conflicts of interests very seriously. Judges are not permitted to evaluate teams for which they have a conflict of interest. If you are a PI or instructor, your first responsibility is to your team, and we will schedule your judging assignment so that you are able to attend your team's presentation.

To select multiple teams, use Ctrl-click or Cmd-click. Don't recognize a team name? Look it up in the Team List.

1. Team Affiliations:

Please select any teams you are officially affiliated with (i.e. you are listed on the team roster as a PI, Instructor, or Advisor).

2. Conflicts of Interest:

Please select any teams for which you have a conflict of interest for another reason. (For example, a team that you mentored informally, or a team from the university where you were an undergrad student.)

3. If you have any other conflicts of interest that are not indicated above, please describe them:

4.- Motivation

Your application will be anonymized for evaluation, so please refrain from giving out any identifying information in the answer to these questions.

1. Why do you want to be a judge in iGEM?

2. What professional experience do you have that you believe is relevant to iGEM (e.g., synthetic biology, hardware, software, human practices)?

3. What role do you believe judging serves in iGEM?

4. What features of an iGEM team and their project do you think are most valuable?

5. Track Preferences

iGEM teams compete in several "tracks", based on the topics of their projects. Please see the Track page for more information on each track.

This year the presentation scheduling for the Giant Jamboree will be dependent on timezones rather than tracks. It is possible that track preferences will not be taken into consideration, as teams and their judges will be grouped together based on timezone availability first, and track second. However, we will try to assign you to your track preferences wherever possible. If you are unable to evaluate teams in some track areas (software, for example), please put "Avoid" for those tracks.

Please indicate how highly you prefer each track. You may select multiple first, second, and third preferences.

Track First Second Third Neutral Avoid
Food and Nutrition
Foundational Advance
High School
Information Processing
New Application

Thank you!

Thank you for filling out this form. We look forward to picking a strong judging team for 2020!


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