Beyond the Competition

Synthetic Biology

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iGEM is more than a competition. It is a program dedicated to the advancement of synthetic biology. Below are just some of the activities we have participated in that are part of the broader impact.

Scroll down to learn more about iGEM's participation in:

  • 12th APBA Biosecurity & Biosafety Conference on Aug 22 - 25, 2017
  • 2nd OIE Global Conference on Biothreat Reduction on Oct 31 - Nov1, 2017
  • SB7.0 Singapore on June 13 - 16, 2017
  • 'After iGEM' event in Singapore
  • mSBW 4.0 at Boston University on May 6 - 7, 2017
  • SynBioBeta London on April 3 - 6, 2017
  • iGEM Reception in London, UK on April 5, 2017
  • SXSW on March 15, 2017
  • iGEM Strategy Retreat on February 22 - 23, 2017
  • iGEM Safety & Security Retreat on February 20 - 21, 2017
  • UN Biodiversity Conference on December 2 - 17, 2016

iGEM will be participation at:

  • Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution & Design (SEED) in British Columbia, Canada on June 20-23
  • ISMB ECCB 2017 in Prague, July 21-25
  • Gordon Research Conference on Synthetic Biology in Stowe, VT on July 30 - August 4
  • International Workshop on Bio-Design Automation (IWBDA) in Pittsburg, PA on Aug 8-11


Aug 22 - 25 , 2017

The 12th APBA (Asia-Pacific Biosafety Association) Biosafety Conference on Biosecurity & Biosafety – New Challenges of Bio Threat in a Rapidly Changing World of Science & Technology,, will be held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from 22 August to 25 August. Piers Millett, iGEM Director of Safety and Security, will present iGEM's Safety and Security program at the event.

Learn more about the event by visiting


Oct 31- Nov1, 2017

The 2nd OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) Global Conference on Biothreat Reduction, will be held in Ottawa, Canada from 31 October to 1 November. Piers Millett, iGEM Director of Safety and Security, will introduce iGEM's Safety and Security program at the event. Showcase iGEM's work to the animal health intergovernmental organization and participants will come from the veterinary sciences, safety and security communities.

iGEMers are also invited to present a poster of their work as it relates to human or animal health (infectious diseases) as well as those with interesting safety or security issues.

Learn more about the event by visiting


June 13-16, 2017

iGEM attended the 7th International Meeting on Synthetic Biology, SB7.0, in Singapore. The iGEM Foundation hosted a booth and spoke at the event, and shared the news of its newest programs and initiatives with the attendees.

iGEM's impact on the Synthetic Biology industry was on full display, with more than half of the event speaker list comprising of members of the iGEM community.

Speakers from iGEM included:

  • Meagan Lizarazo, iGEM Vice President, presenting at the 'Sharing by Sharing' session
  • Piers Millett, Director of iGEM Safety & Security, presenting at the 'Security' session
  • Megan Palmer, Director of Human Practices


June 15, 2017

iGEM co-hosted an 'After iGEM' reception in Singapore, with LEAP and the SB7.0 Biosecurity Fellows. Event attendees included members of the iGEM community that were present at SB7.0

The event celebrated the introduction of the 'After iGEM' initiative to the Asia Pacific audience, and featured a networking reception for over 150 leaders in Synthetic Biology, from the iGEM, LEAP and Biosecurity Fellowship communities.


April 4-6, 2017

iGEM participated in the 'World Showcase' Lighning talk on Tuesday, April 4th. Meagan Lizarazo, iGEM Vice President, joined industry leaders as they presented new initiatives within the field of synthetic biology.

iGEM announced a new program focused on supporting the iGEM community as they move beyond the competition. This new initiative will be supported by multiple community engagement activities - one of which was a reception for iGEMers at the event held on April 5th.

Along with speaking at the event, iGEM hosted an exhibitor booth. We thank the many iGEMers who stopped by to say hi and see what's new with iGEM.


April 5, 2017

iGEM hosted a reception for all iGEMers present at the SynBioBeta conference in London. Over 50 iGEMers attended the reception, bringing together iGEMers from across EU.

The event featured a networking reception that focused on garnering ideas and interest for community building activities that would facilitate iGEMers community engagement after the competition.

Please look for announcements on our new programs in the upcoming weeks.


March 15, 2017

iGEM's ground breaking work on safety and security was showcased at SXSW on March 15, 2017. A panel arguing that it was time for a security update for biotechnology saw iGEM's work in this area being highlighted as how to effectively build a security culture and laying the foundations for more sustainable, scalable, security solutions. The panel included current or former iGEM track and committee chairs in software, human practices and safety and security.

Panel included:

  • Megan Palmer, Senior Research Scholar and a William J. Perry Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University and member of iGEM's Human Practices Executive Committee and Advisory Group ]
  • Ed You, Supervisory Special Agent FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate Biological Countermeasures Unit Federal Bureau of Investigation and promotes FBI outreach to address biosecurity at iGEM
  • Piers Millett, Principal of Biosecure Ltd and Director of Safety and Security and Co-Chairs the Safety Committee at iGEM
  • Edward Perello, co-founder of Desktop Genetics Ltd and formerly co-chaired the iGEM software track


February 22 - 23, 2017

iGEM hosted its first global strategy meeting in Granada, Spain in February, 2017. Over 20 leading experts in synthetic biology from Europe, North America, and Asia joined iGEM headquarters for this inaugural meeting. 

With the goal of understanding regional dynamics, all participants were invited to discuss their experiences and views about iGEM and synthetic biology overall. This sharing of local views lead to both a heightened appreciation of the challenges our teams encounter and a greater awareness of situational concerns that iGEM should consider in the future.

The meeting also focused on enhancing the iGEM community experience beyond that of the competition and the Giant Jamboree. Attendees brainstormed ideas to further cultivate and harness the ever growing talent that makes up the iGEM community. Look for more details on engagement activities in the upcoming months as we prepare to introduce a new program for 2017 and beyond!


February 20 - 21, 2017

iGEM held its first Safety & Security retreat in Granada, Spain in February 2017. Representatives of regional biosafety associations from the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region were in attendance. The meeting looked at both emerging issues that could challenge safety and security in synthetic biology and what iGEM might need to do to address them. Efforts at the meeting were expert-led, drawing upon the collective knowledge present to help identify issues iGEM will need to deal with in the shorter-term and those we will need to consider in the years to come. This meeting was the first in a series of planned events on safety and security.

Learn more about what was discussed HERE and remember to check out the Safety Hub on the wiki to see what we have been up to. 


December 2 - 17, 2016

The UN Biodiversity Conference took place in Cancun Mexico from 2 - 17 December, 2016. Over 7,000 participants from 170 countries and over 400 organizations came together to combine efforts to protect biodiversity on a global scale. The Cartagena and the Nagoya protocols were an essential component of this meeting as these two crucial international agreements strive for the safe and fair use of genetic resources.

Representatives from the iGEM Foundation along with a group of 5 iGEM delegates attended the 13th Conference of the Parties in order to be part of the international conversation regarding synthetic biology.

Learn more about what was discussed HERE

iGEM Foundation

Dedicated to education and competition, advancement of synthetic biology, and the development of open community and collaboration.