Throughout the dewpal project we undertook several dissemination and communication activities to reach out to all relevant stakeholders in order to maximize its impact. Besides engaging the several stakeholders in order to translate our research into real-life applications, also responsible research and innovation were discussed and promoted. We assessed the different opportunities but also critically analyzed the different risks involved.
Several activities are being undertaken to inspire the youth to pursue a future in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). To this end we tried to make science, and synthetic biology in particularly, more attractive (notably to young people) and to increase society's appetite for innovation. Furthermore, we discussed our project with several experts in the various fields involved to improve our project and to help us with several aspects. Besides communication of our project and results to peers and the scientific community, we also discussed responsible innovation and research.
- Synthetic Biology KUL April 15 2016
- Kick-off event Center of Synthetic Biology Ghent University September 16 2016
- PhD seminars October 17 2016 on the faculty of Bioscience engineering of UGent
- Biological databases (Prof. Van Criekinge): student projects proposals (1st Master of Bioinformatics UGent)
On May 4th, our master students gave a presentation for fellow master students about the iGEM competition and possible subjects they could tackle, trying to get more people to know about iGEM and synthetic biology in particular. This created a discussion about other interesting things we could do for the competition.
- Predictive modelling (Michiel Stock): introduction into dewpal technology (2nd Master of Bioinformatics UGent)
Michiel Stock gave an introduction on how mathematics and programming are involved into our project.
- UGent Faculty of Bioscience Engineering newsletter
- UGent Student newspaper Schamper
- Facebook page UGent Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
- Twitter page UGent Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
- Prof. Dan Fernandez (CSUMB)
Dan Fernandez is a professor at CSUMB, teaching courses on physics and sustainability. The main focus of his research is collection of water through fog catchers. His expertise helped us in designing the most optimal shape for our project, as he provided guidance during the duration of dewpal.
- Kurt Van Houtte (FabLab)
Kurt Van Houtte is the coordinator of the UGent Fablab. He has helped us realizing the prototypes of our water collectors and provided feedback on how to print the more challenging designs. Kurt also give valuable input on how to produce the biotin-enriched PLA on a larger scale and how we can mass-produce our collector using thermo folding.
- Ali Oğulcan Dülger (Timelab)
During our project we developed a new type of 3D printing material, but in order to make this into a useable filament, we needed a filament extruder. However, industrial extruders are very unwieldy and out of our reach budget-wise. Luckily, Ali Oğulcan Dülger at Timelab graciously allowed us to use the filament extruder he built, in addition to providing us with useful information on filament extrusion parameters.
Our iGEM team is strongly committed to explore effective exploitation of the dewpal project results. We initiated key contacts, by seminars, sponsoring and crowdfunding with angels, VCs in additional to valuable contacts in established environmental industries. As such we reached out to key players in the value chain:
Outreach and expert input
We reached out to many companies and organisations in both the 3D-printing and biotechnology fields. This allowed us to investigate the interest and opinions of experts. One of these experts is Deepak Mehta, from the 3D-printing company "3Dee". Deepak is an expert in the field of 3D-printing. Furthermore, he uses his creative and technological skills to educate the new generation of youth. We arranged a meeting to discuss our progress on designing and printing the collector. He provided some valuable insights in the important factors in 3D-printing, such as extruding temperature of our filament. He also mentioned some useful ways how we could efficiently test the filament at different temperatures. Furthermore he advised us some tweaks and features we could include in our design to further optimize the shape and durability of our collector. Lastly, he offered to print some of our collectors to present at the Jamboree.
In our project we wanted to tackle a huge societal problem and demonstrate that innovative and cutting-edge technologies such as synthetic biology and 3D printing provide solutions. In order to reach the general public and to make them familiar with our project and synthetic biology in general, dissemination was done using modern, popular and interactive media:
- Interview with (inter)national popular media: De Knack (BE), De Volkskrant (NL), De Standaard , etc.
- Dewpal is present on social media, e.g. Facebook and Twitter
- Dewpal is on national television (VTM NIEUWS 18/10/2016):
Guiding high schoolers
Apart from previous things, iGEM is also about making students excited about the competition and synthetic biology. When contacting Deepak for his expext vision on our project, we also got to meet his son, Ritik Mehta. Ritik is a 15 year old STEM student with a strong interest in 3D printing, and technology in general. He even gave his own Ted talk in 2011. Besides technology, Ritik is also interested in synthetic biology.This was an ideal opportunity to guide him in his exploration into this field. Ritik came to Ghent on frequent occasions to follow us in the lab, and ask questions about our experiments. We went over the project with him, and Ritik was able to learn new, exciting things this way. Besides, he also helped us in the shaping and 3D printing process with his extensive knowledge in this field.