Diversity and Inclusion

Initially launched to improve representation of women in iGEM, the Diversity & Inclusion committee mission has since expanded to address diversity and inclusion in iGEM across all contexts. These contexts include, but are not limited to: age, ethnicity, disability, gender, religion, and economic status.

On this hub, you can find an introduction to diversity & inclusion, recommendations on how to create an inclusive iGEM team, and some examples of what iGEM teams have done in the past.

Why are Diversity and Inclusion Important?

It is important for all of us - as members of the iGEM and STEM communities - to recognize the importance of building an open and welcoming scientific community.

Gender Diversity and Beyond

The iGEM D&I Committee has investigated gender diversity in iGEM since 2013. See the data we have so far! Moving forward, our committee wishes to focus on improving diversity in other areas as well.

Diversity & Inclusion Committee

Learn more about the D&I Committee and see how you can help us! See the faces behind all our initiatives and see how you can also become a member.

Build a More Inclusive iGEM

Take action! We must all work together to create a more diverse and inclusive community. See our committee's recommendations for building a more inclusive iGEM.

Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion

Several teams have worked on enabling equal opportunity in scientific practice. Get inspired by them!


Some believe that academia and STEM exist in a vacuum, that the pursuit of scientific knowledge operates independently of societal context. That is simply not true. We recognize that the same types of discrimination that affect larger society apply to academia and STEM too. Read the full statement.


If you have questions or suggestions feel free to contact the Diversity & Inclusion Committee at any time!

Email us at diversity[AT]igem[DOT]org

If you would like to remain anonymous, we welcome you to please submit your thoughts through this anonymous feedback form. The information collected will be kept strictly confidential, and will only be used to improve iGEM programming. Any feedback submitted or topics discussed will not have any impact upon team judging in the iGEM Competition.

Current Gender Diversity Statistics

The iGEM Diversity & Inclusion Committee has investigated gender diversity in iGEM since 2013, following inspiration from the 2013 Paris Bettencourt iGEM team. This team performed an extensive study of gender diversity within the iGEM Competition, and found that women were underrepresented at all levels of iGEM, with lower levels of representation for more senior categories of participants.

In 2018, self-reported gender data was collected from iGEM participants. We are so pleased to see that gender representation has improved greatly since 2013!

  • 42% of iGEM students reported as female or non-binary
  • 44% of advisors, instructors, and PIs reported as female or non-binary (up from 25% in 2017)
  • 50% of judges were female or non-binary (for the first time)

Figure 1: The gender statistics for iGEM 2013, compiled by the Paris-Bettencourt 2013 team. Figure provided by Aude Bernheim.

Figure 2: The gender statistics for iGEM 2018. All gender data collected by iGEM is kept strictly confidential.

Members of the iGEM community, we challenge you to help us improve these numbers for 2020 and beyond! We will need your continued help in improving gender diversity among iGEM students, advisors, instructors, and PIs as you advance in your careers. Our committee has offered several recommendations to help teams adopt diverse and inclusive practices, and we invite you to share your best practices and new recommendations with us as well.

Beyond Gender Diversity

Moving forward, our committee wishes to focus on improving diversity in other areas as well, such as age, ethnicity, disability, religion, and economic status.

For example, it is clear that there is uneven geographic distribution of iGEM teams by continent, and certainly there is the possibility for much more detailed analysis in evaluating global diversity in iGEM beyond this. We would like to better identify specific factors that contribute to these limitations and increase participation of teams from underrepresented regions.