Education and Public Engagement
Our team put effort on getting involved in science communication, as we truly believe that Synthetic Biology and iGEM have a lot of potential and we wanted general public to get to know about them. We also think that bioplastics can be a source of renewable material for our modern society and we aimed to spread the knowledge acquired.
Through presenting the bioproduction of PLA bioplastic, we communicated about microbiology, genetics and metabolic engineering. We made presentations in universities to talk about synthetic biology, we conceived a survey and we created a MOOC that we experimented in a high school following by questions and answers. Keep on reading to know more details.
Presenting in high school
At the beginning of the year, we made a presentation in Langevin-Wallon high school (Champigny-sur-Marne) to present them the paradigm of Synthetic Biology and let them know about iGEM. It was on the context of their Biochemistry course, with their teacher Mr. Laurent Martorell. Students got good feedback, and they asked us to repeat the experience when the project was more advanced: they were curious about the results!
We came back to the same high school on September, and we presented them the MOOC that we developed during Human Practices (check MOOC). The MOOC was useful for presenting both synthetic biology and our project. After the MOOC, we were thrilled to answered the students questions.
Interacting online and presencially on the high school, using the MOOC format
Public science events
We also participated to the ”Festival du Vivant”, celebrated around Paris in October. We went to Paris Diderot University, together with other iGEM teams, and we did a short presentation of the project adapting the content to general public.
A part from that, we also collaborated to the “Fête de la Science”, celebrated in University of Evry. Students came to iSSB to visit the lab, and we communicated them about synthetic biology throught our project. For instance, we helped an other high school student group on their Bio-plastic project!
Nowadays, Internet brings us the opportunity to spread knowledge and information everywhere where there is online connection. We decided to engage also using online platforms and arrive further.
For human practices, we created a survey where we ask participants about their awareness and ideas of bioplastics and PLA. We wanted to investigate how much did they know, but at the same time, we provided information, so they could learn while answering the survey. Check more about the survey here!
Also in the context of human practices, we conceived a MOOC and created a mini-version of it. We reproduced it later in the high school mentioned, but also a class of students on a Master of Systems and Synthetic Biology (mSSB). If order to keep the "MOOC spirit", we upload it on Youtube, so we could reach a broader audience.
We thought a crowdfunding campaign would be useful to both present our project online and improve our budget. We used the platform Ulule and we got some funding from diverse contributors. You can have a look here!
Wikipedia is widely used and we detected that iGEM definition was not present in some languages we dominated. We decided to improve the Frenchtranslation, and create new translations in Spanish and Catalan.
Regarding iGEM definitions, we also created and used eventually an "iGEM A to Z" document. Download it here!