Starting an iGEM team and getting a project started can be a challenge even for returning teams. Below you'll find some highlighted items that teams should be working on before and during the iGEM season.
It is our hope that this page will be helpful to all iGEM teams, whether this is your first time participating in iGEM or if you are returning as a seasoned veteran. If you have any suggestions for content or questions, please send an email to us at hq [AT] igem [DOT] org!
Preparing for the iGEM Season
Students and instructors who are interested in having an iGEM team for the upcoming season often begin preparing between November and February. Below are some helpful tips to get the process started for the 2020 season.
The "Off" Season - November through February
- If you competed in 2019, have an iGEM debrief with your PI and team
Assess successes and failures, discuss interest in continuing next year, etc.
- Raise awareness of iGEM at your school
Run informational sessions, post flyers, talk to Professors and fellow students
- Find a PI to mentor your team and provide lab space
This may be a challenge if you're a first-time team, but stay positive! Make sure to talk to numerous Professors in your Biology, Biomedical Engineering, and Engineering departments and gauge interest early.
- Recruit interested students
Advertise that you're looking to find interested students with flyers and/or recruit students from courses.
- Start fundraising efforts (this should be an on-going effort throughout the season)
Email and call local companies, talk to the head of your department or college, investigate other on-campus funding sources like undergraduate research opportunity programs (UROP).
The iGEM Cycle
The iGEM competition cycle can be seen on the right.
Not all teams follow this cycle (for example, you may start work earlier or later than this shows), but this is the general flow of the major tasks involved with participating in iGEM.
This is based on the 2020 season, with the Giant Jamboree taking place in late October.
Click to expand
February, March, April, and May
- Start a Team
Decide the final team from the group of interested students
- Brainstorm Project Ideas
Many teams will have multiple brainstorming sessions, with and without the team instructors
- Determine Team Goals and Tasks
This can be challenging, but well worth the effort in the end. A list of high level goals and a detailed list of tasks needed to reach those goals will help your team stay focused on the project
- Read the Competition Requirements (not shown on cycle)
Make sure that your team has covered all aspects of the requirements, deliverables, and deadlines, as some aspects may be very important to know before starting to plan your project
June, July, and August
- Start Wet Lab Work on Project
You should get trained in protocols and follow your school's safety regulations, and start working on your project
- Run Functional Experiments
This can be done throughout the cloning process once you have a functional device. Test your device and collect your data.
- Process and Plot Results
Determine which software you need to use to process your data, determine the units you want to display, and make sure you include your controls during data analysis and show them on your graphs/plots
- Work on your Team Wiki and Registry Part pages
You should be continually working on your Team Wiki and Registry Part pages throughout the project. Don't wait until the last minute!
September and October
- Prepare and Practice Oral Presentation
Similar to your Team Wiki, you should try to work on the presentation throughout the project. Final touches should be done in October.
- Prepare Poster
Once you have your final data plotted and ready to show, you should make your poster and practice presenting it.
- Attend the Virtual Giant Jamboree
Meet other iGEM teams, celebrate your work, and have fun!