We collaborated with the UGent_Belgium team (a.k.a. Vsycle) throughout our complete iGEM-trip. We started our collaborations by seeking for sponsors. We mainly focused on Belgian biotech companies to aid us financially. This did not really work out at first sight, so we prepared brochures where we presented ourselves and our projects. We also maintain a page on several social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube together. We retain the Twitter and YouTube channel. (Our team has a LinkedIn page as well.) Besides that, we also had two-weekly meetings to keep in touch with each other and our projects. In these meetings, we helped each other out with a lot of important stuff and practicalities like troubleshooting on sponsorships, planning and finding a camera operator and director for their promotion video. As a return, they introduced Bubbly pearls in their game ( password: igem2020iseenorigineelwachtwoord) and gave us really helpful insights into our Biopython tutorials for science communication. Finally, we also wrote a press text together to make our projects public.
Besides the extensive collaboration with the UGent_Belgium team, we also helped the Paris_Bettencourtteam by taking skin swabs for their project. This was actually really fun. We got to know more about our skin microbiome and in the meantime, we helped our colleague-iGemmers out! This was also an exciting way to get to know their project better. First, there were other plans to get more involved by discussing several items of our projects. Due to too little time, we could not find the right spot for these discussions in our busy agendas.
Besides these collaborations with other iGEM teams, we also participated in three meetups: The Virtual Benelux iGEM Meetup (organized by team Groningen), iGEMeetParis (organized by the Paris iGEM teams) and the iGEM 2020 Global Meetup. At the Benelux meetup, we presented our project, followed fascinating project presentations and webinars, and played an entertaining pop quiz and Google Maps Hunt! For iGEMeetParis, we created a small clip for their introductory world-tour video and we were absolutely surprised by their impressive and world-changing projects! At last, we also participated in the iGEM 2020 Global Meetup . We followed several eye-opening sessions and had some inspirational talks with other iGEM teams and instructors. Especially the ‘Communicating science to non-experts’ session was a very interesting one on how to bring your story as complete but straightforward as possible to others.
Besides all these virtual meetings and collaborations, we also wished to talk about our project at other events. Due to the pandemic and our small group, we were confronted with canceled meetings and we were sometimes not able to arrange another opportunity on our own. For instance, we planned to create a small presentation for the Biotechdag (organized by the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology, VIB). This is a one-day event that aims to bring biotechnology closer to everyone that is interested. We were also busy planning to make a project presentation for all interested students and academics of Ghent University and other universities to listen and discuss with us.
To conclude, we had very interesting collaborations. It also helped us to get a better vision of how we can communicate our idea in the future. We also used our collaborations to broaden our horizons and to look further than our “Food & Nutrition” project. With success‼