iGEM EPFL 2016

Silver Medal Human Practices

In line with the rest of our project, our human practices project was all about tool creation and making synthetic biology more accessible. Public engagement and education were truly the unifying ideas behind our human practices.

At the beginning of our iGEM experience, we – like many other new iGEMmers - browsed the wikis of other teams to see what they had managed to develop. We found the availability of information and their stories exciting, but the density of information was often intimidating (or absent as many wikis are uploaded last-minute, and often at the time when projects were up and running and when collaboration is no longer needed). In addition, the long format of writing made them time consuming to read, and the focus on results often removed us from the experience the team had. We love the wiki format, and find that it’s a great way to learn about a project when you really want to know everything, but we felt a need to address the wiki’s limitations. After all, someone from the public who wants to learn about synthetic biology will more likely want to learn about a team’s experience. Besides, they would also like to have an overview of that team’s work before deciding to take a deep-dive into their project. It was with this in mind that was born, forming the centerpiece of our human practices efforts. is a media platform dedicated to iGEM. Through this platform we hosted media from different iGEM groups, as well as surveys that we created and that were sent to us. Excitingly, we were able to post interviews and project descriptions for nearly one tenth of all iGEM teams, and reached over 2000 visitors! We participated in an incredible amount of dialog, and met so many amazing people, and our experience is all online for the whole world to enjoy!

In addition to our interviews and project descriptions, we also hosted multiple surveys, conducted a survey of previous iGEMmers, and hosted photos sent by various teams. We also gave multiple presentations open to the public and interviewed a professional synthetic biologist about her experiences in the field, and the intersections of synthetic biology, public communication, and ethics. Head over to our Engagement page to learn more!


  • Interviewed 24 teams, and conducted more than 15 hours of interviews.
  • Hosted interviews and project descriptions for nearly 1/10 iGEM teams.
  • Had over 5'000 visitors, from around the world.
  • Presented our project to an audience of about 200 people.
  • Interviewed an expert in the field.
  • Conducted a survey of previous iGEM participants.