Team:Hong Kong CityU/Partnership

Partnership with the HKUST iGEM 2020 team

Great minds think alike! This year, we are fortunate to have the HKUST iGEM team sharing the same vision on improving environmental pollution issues and promoting the application of synthetic biology. In view of this, our team has been collaborating with the HKUST team since July 2020 and together we have successfully achieved various outreach goals.


Figure 1. Timeline of our partnership events with the HKUST iGEM team

Our first meetup

In mid-June, our team reached out to the HKUST iGEM team and both sides have exchanged our ideas and goals for this year’s iGEM competition. We had our first face-to-face meeting on 21 July 2020, and came up with many ideas. Importantly, both of our teams would like to develop projects that would help alleviate the plastic pollution problem. After a couple of rounds of discussion, both teams agreed to collaborate on organizing several online events to promote the application of synthetic biology approaches to tackle plastic pollution.

Our first event - The mini talk (event details in

Our CityU team and the HKUST team decided to start our collaborative project with high schools as we would like to inspire more teenagers to engage in science and synthetic biology as a possible future career. On 22 August 2020, we held a mini talk for high school students entitled ‘Synthetic Biology: current technology and career’. Our CityU team and the HKUST team shared cutting edge knowledge on synthetic biology and its application, as well as introducing potential careers in the field of environmental protection. Our collaborative event was a great success and we received positive and encouraging feedbacks from teachers as well as the students of the participating high schools.

Meetup of the Six Hong Kong iGEM teams:

One-day Symposium (event details in

The CityU and HKUST iGEM teams were invited by the Hong_Kong_HKU iGEM team to co-host a One-day Synthetic Biology Symposium on 29 August 2020 which was participated by all six Hong Kong iGEM teams and students from the respective institutions. As the co-organisers and presenters at the event, all members from the CityU and HKUST teams delivered talks on promoting synthetic biology and sharing of research ideas with other teams and the general public. In addition, all student participants of the event gained useful knowledge and inspirations from the keynote lectures delivered by the different invited speakers who were experts in different fields of synthetic biology.

Connecting with the public on Youtube Channel

(event details in


On 4 September, our team and the HKUST decided to take a bigger step on the promotion of synthetic biology to further increase public awareness on various pressing environmental issues. To maximise our exposure to the public, we decided to create a YouTube channel, which is presently one of the most popular social media platforms that could be effectively exploited to help spread our thoughts and message. In the collaboration with the HKUST team, our team contributed various ideas (and script writing) on recent advances in synthetic biology, while the HKUST team provided technical support in terms of video animation and video editing. The two episodes co-produced by our two iGEM teams were released on our YouTube channel on 13 October and 25 October 2020.

Public talk: Environmentalist, Mr. Gordon So

(WWF), as invited speaker

After holding several outreach activities together, our team and the HKUST iGEM team decided to reach out to the general public in a more direct way. We contacted several NGOs in the field of environmental protection with a proposal to hold a public seminar together on “Challenges and management strategies of plastic pollution”. Finally, a representative from the WWF agreed to be a guest speaker for our public talk which was held on 18 October 2020. In the talk, we highlighted the seriousness of the current global plastic pollution problem and our iGEM teams shared the synthetic biology approaches for plastic waste reduction with the general public. Meaningful discussions were generated as the WWF representative shared their conservation approaches in tackling plastic pollution. The WWF sharing also inspired us to rethink and adopt a more environmental and social friendly SynBio approach to tackle plastic pollution.

Our future plans

From the mini talk to the public talk events, we and the HKUST team were challenged to passionately express our ideas to convince the audience to explore the potential and versatility of synthetic biology as a promising scientific approach to address many of the environmental problems our society is facing. In the future, we would like to keep on initiating more discussions on synthetic biology and promote its diverse capabilities to the general public. We are planning for more collaboration on the Youtube channel and several public events are baking! Stay tuned to our future collaboration with the HKUST team!

CityU HK IGEM 2020