Over the past 17 years, there have been close to 3,000 teams that have participated in the iGEM competition. And one thing is for certain, these teams have proved to both the judges, and the world, that iGEMers are great at building things! The iGEM Competition, and by extension the entire iGEM community, is amazing at the design-build-test cycle. Every year, iGEM teams around the world generate hundreds of prototypes of solutions to both local and global problems that have the potential to change the world. Every year a small fraction of these projects continue, either in an academic setting or as a start-up.The overarching goal of the Phoenix Project is to increase the number of projects that live on beyond their initial iGEM cycle. In this way, we hope that we, the iGEM community, can move forward in making engineering progress on these pressing issues by iterating on each others ideas.
One way we hope to accomplish our goal is by cataloging previous iGEM projects and making iGEM data more searchable. After all, You cannot build off of a project you cannot find! On this webpage, you will find a beta-version of a database we are building that is more searchable and approachable. Teams, we encourage you to take some time to explore the database and learn from the teams that came before you. Even if you have already selected a project for this year, try to find teams that had similar goals and pick up from where they left off. With 16 years worth of iGEM team's wisdom behind you, you will be able to take your project even farther.
And this project is not only for current teams. We hope to engage the whole iGEM community by recruiting a team of alumni who are passionate about data to help build a sustainable platform. Together, we will create a system to collect stories and insights from alumni about past projects, and in doing so create new knowledge about what iGEM teams have already accomplished. Importantly, once we have cleaned data from the past, we can engage current teams to capture their important information in a standardized and searchable format. Together, we will build a sustainable database that can be used for many years to come.
Goal 1- Engineering
If iGEM data is easily searchable, then it is easier to find past teams that worked on projects similar to yours or to be inspired to pick up where another project left off. We hope to help all teams that want to continue the work of a previous team by connecting teams to the alumni that were on that team, if possible, and by building a Project Phoenix team that is able to support teams. When we build off each others work, we make engineering progress and get these products closer to being ready to enter the world.
Goal 2- Stories
We want to answer the question, what happened to iGEMers and their projects? Updates on what happend to project can be used to tell stories about the incredible journey the iGEM community has been on in the last 17 years. When we understand how teams have grown and shifted over time, we can begin to understand how it is that iGEM has been able to lay the foundations for the field of Synthetic Biology. We want to hear your stories of how iGEM impacted you, and how your project and your experience lived on, in big ways and in small ways. Each individual's story is an important piece of the iGEM story.
Goal 3- Data
Every year iGEM teams generate a tremendous amount of data. Some of the data is captured in a structured, such as what awards team won, and some of which is captured in a unstructured way, such as a blog post about lessons a team learned in their iGEM journey, and some data remains uncaptured. We aim to make structured iGEM data more readily available to teams and more easily searchable, and to incorporate more data, that is currently unstructured, over time. We also hope to leverage the power of the iGEM community to help fill in the data gaps by creating opportunities to add to our database. Finally, we aim to understand what data matters most to the iGEM community and work with current iGEM teams to capture this data throughout their season.
Below are the team lists from 2004-2020, which contain information such as team names, locations, abstracts and medals they won. You can use the filter button in the top bar to filter the data to only show teams from your country, or teams from your track, or both. You can also group and sort the data by whatever metrics are important to you! Use the search button to look up keywords from your project and see if any teams have used them in the past.
This data is made available through Airtable, an online, collaborative platform for sharing and easily sorting data. For more information about Airtable and how to use it, check out this useful Airtable tutorial.
This is a first version database and we would love to hear your feedback. Fill in this brief survey to share your thoughts and ideas
If you are interested in building off the work of one of these teams, we would love to try and help connect you! Please reach out to us at email@example.com
Do you have an update to your project? Did it turn into a company? A research project?
We would love to hear about it! Fill in this form
Coming soon to Project Phoenix...
Contact previous teams!
Find out what happened to projects after the competition
Track how projects have evolved over time
Currently, the Phoenix Project is being run by Ronit Langer, a data scientist and the former After iGEM Ambassador Coordinator from 2020. Ronit is excited to bring her data skills and her passion for connecting and supporting iGEMers to help make the Phoenix Project a success.
If you want to get involved, please send an email to Ronit saying why you're interested and what relevant skills you have to the project (just passion is ok too!). Formal applications for the team will open soon, but if you want to get involved now, reach out.
We are not the first group to explore the world of iGEM data. Take a look at the iGEM Insights page [link] to learn how their group is using is using histotical iGEM data to study the science of science, which uses large data sets to understand the mechanisms underlying the practice of science and engineering -- from what problems people chose to work on, to the trajectories of the field and the careers of the people within it.
You can also take a look at what teams have been able to build using iGEM data, such as the iGEM Matchmaker project from the 2015 NTU Trondheim team. The iGEM Matchmaker used keyword analysis to help match teams with similar projects in order to ease collaboration. Although this project is not currently being maintained, it is an excellent example of what iGEM teams can do!
If you have an idea about how to use iGEM's data, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we would love to try and help.