In order to reach out to the society LiU iGEM has participated in several fairs and events to get in touch with the public and other students and spread the word about iGEM and synthetic biology.
Nordic iGEM Conference
The team from Stockholm Sweden decided to invite all the Nordic iGEM teams to a mini iGEM conference. The conference was held in late June and a total of nine teams from; Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden were represented. It all started with some mingle and a barbeque, where the teams had a chance to get to know each other and get a sneak peek about what each team had decided to do for their project.
The second day had a much more hectic schedule, the day started with a mini jamboree where each team had a presentation about their project and how the progress of the project. Later, we attended several workshops, the topics were; Speculative design and Unsolved ethics. The hosting team from Stockholm had invited the Finish lecturer Marko Ahteensuu to talk about the ethics in synthetic biology. The workshop in speculative design was held by two members of the Stockholm iGEM team. All the new information from the other teams and the very inspiring workshops really made the team excited to get our own project started.
The finale was the Gasque at the end of the day, where all the teams dressed up for the formal dinner party. The winning team of the mini jamboree was announced and team UCPH was the lucky winner. They received the prize, a golden pipette, and were asked to host the next Nordic iGEM Conference.
NärCon, the greatest cosplay event of Scandinavia, took place at Linkoping University. Of course LiU iGEM seized the opportunity to spread the knowledge about iGEM and synthetic biology. One might think that cosplay, videogames and synthetic biology have nothing in common. However, that is not true since everyone has a relation to synthetic biology, even though it is not intentional. As earlier mentioned, it is important that the knowledge about synthetic biology and research reaches the public so it can be accepted before it gets implemented in the society.
Since NärCon is an event when costumes, comics and different fiction characters are in focus, our mascot Miss Mona fitted right in and made some new friends. It was a few days of successful dialogues with the visitors about iGEM and synthetic biology.
In connection with the reception of new students at Linköping University, a hike is annually organized in order to inform and encourage new students to get involved in university associations. LiU iGEM took the opportunity to show them our project and our organization. We gave a short presentation about what we do and thereafter played a game inspired by synthetic biology. The students were asked to work together and build different molecules with their own bodies. Before leaving, the students had the opportunity to leave their contact information if they wished to learn more about iGEM and our project.
KALAS is a great fair that mainly refers to the new students from all programs at Linköping University. With 8000 students visiting students, KALAS is the largest event for new students in Sweden. We were on site to reach out to all students about our project and arouse an interest for iGEM and our student organization as well as synthetic biology. It was an excellent opportunity to recruit interest from a wide set of skills for future projects and engagement. LiU iGEM had our own table and was giving handouts to the visitors to inform about iGEM.
Lecture for students at Linköping University
This year, we were asked to host a lecture for the third year engineering students in the course of gene technology at Linköping University. During the lecture we mainly presented our project and discussed different aspects of synthetic biology. It was a good opportunity to introduce iGEM to students who are interested in the subject and to give them a chance to ask questions about working with this type of projects.
Everyone obtains information in different ways; for example some by listening, others by watching. When it comes to science, the text and information sources can be quite heavy if you are not used to read concise texts and are not familiar with technical terms. Since we aim to reach out to all of the public, we wanted to make our project and information accessible for everyone independent of background and preknowledge of synthetic biology. With this in mind, we made a short film where we explain our project in a basic way with illustration in order to concretize.
Industry and commerce
NuLink is a municipality owned Business Corporation that acts as a communication channel between the municipality and the business community. LiU iGEM in help of NuLink are spreading the message of our research, synthetic biology and young entrepreneurship through Nulinks many channels such as website and social media. Besides an opportunity to spread our message among companies, it also creates opportunities for future cooperations.
Additionally LiU iGEM has been working on getting connections with different local companies. By letting the industry know we exist we can find suitable cooperation for the future as well as support and knowledge from companies that are working towards a common goal. LiU iGEM has visited and informed companies working both with urban planning and oil testing hoping to maintain a prospective contact.
By frequently updating our Facebook and Instagram account we have allowed our followers to see how our work is proceeding. In our posts we interviewed different personalities connected to the project, showed different experiment from the lab, informed about fundraising and cooperations with other iGEM teams.
Reaching the broader public
We also believe it is important to share our work with the broader public in order to raise the awareness of potential solutions for climate friendly fuels. The project has been highlighted in three different newspapers; Östgöta Correspondenten, Affärsliv and LiU-Nytt as well as in on the local news channel SVT News.
Each year Linköping University hosts an event called The Quintek days, this year it will be held in the beginning of November. The purpose for this event is to introduce and increase the interest for science and technology to girls in the senior year at high school. This year LiU iGEM will be there as well, to introduce the girls to synthetic biology and higher technical studies. We hope that this will increase the common knowledge for synthetic biology and that the girls will be inspired to higher education.
New iGEM teams
We had ambitions of starting new iGEM teams at other universities in Sweden with science departments, unfortunately the interest was not high this year but the ambition still remains.