Medal Requirements

The medals are a celebration of excellence, recognizing the effort and accomplishments of iGEM Design League teams. Through medals, we want to inspire and motivate teams to embrace iGEM values: respect, integrity, honesty, cooperation, and excellence.

iGEM Design League awards medals in three levels, click them to learn more.


Through your work and documentation, it is your responsibility to convince the judges that your team has achieved each of the medal criteria you are working towards.
You should clearly explain the outcomes of all your activities and strategies, providing insights on how you optimized and iterated your designs.
Be clear and direct when you present your work. Your judges will review the information you provide on your project pages, video presentations, and Judging Form.
The judges will use all of this information to inform their evaluations and decisions.
There is no limit to the number of teams winning each medal, and all teams compete to earn a medal. This is an individual assessment according to each team's accomplishments.

Bronze Medal

In order to obtain a Bronze Medal, all the following requirements must be met.

Successfully participating in the iGEM Academy.

  • It is a crucial part of the IGEM Design League to build a new educational experience to inspire you to #DesignWithBiology. In order to fulfill the "Successfully participating in the iGEM Academy" bronze medal requirement, teams must:
  • At least 2 (two) team student members need to attend the ENGAGE events. These events are part of the iGEM Academy experience, and you can identify them by the ENGAGE tag in the calendar and in this email. To help in this identification, please rename yourself when entering the Zoom rooms to Your Name (Your Team's Name).
  • Every team member is expected to fill the iGEM Academy Feedback form. This form will be available next week and must be submitted by 23:59 EDT on October 15th.
  • The iGEM Academy Certificate
    We are excited to give credit to students that experienced the iGEM Academy with a certificate. To be eligible for the iGEM Academy certificate, all you need to do is fill out the iGEM Academy Feedback form previously mentioned.

Provide all the deliverables in the specified deadlines:

  • Consent Form
  • Safety Form: Click here to submit!
  • Project Summary and Track Selection
  • Attribution Form
  • Each team must clearly attribute work completed by the student team members on the roster. The team must distinguish work completed by the students from work completed by others, including the host labs, advisors, instructors, PIs, and any individuals not on the current year's team roster. All of these attributions must be included on the team's wiki on the Project Attributions page.

  • Diagnostic and Other Surveys (more information soon)
  • Judging Form

    - The Judging Form is the primary way you will communicate your team's achievements with the judges.
    - When judges evaluate your team, they will look at your project page, watch your presentation video, and ask you questions during your assigned slot for presentation. All of this information is used during your evaluation.
    - Judging Forms include the criteria for medals, carefully fill out the Judging Form to reflect the work you want the judges to evaluate for each criterion.
    - Judging Forms also allow teams to nominate themselves for Special Prizes.
    - Failure to successfully complete the Judging Form will prevent the judges from evaluating your team for medals and/or prizes.

  • Promotional Video (2 min. Video)

    - The project promotion video is the introduction to your project: the problem, your solution, the engineering, and its impact. It is your project’s pitch.
    - This video will be the first entry point of your project to a broad audience: current and future iGEMers, friends, local community, etc. It will lead them into your other deliverables, like the wiki and presentation. It’s an important part of your overall presenting approach - you can use it to promote your team, outreach in fundraising, brainstorming creative ways to present with a short pitch, and finding out what other teams are doing.
    - The style and content are up to you. You can see some of the examples from iGEM teams in 2020 for inspiration.

  • Video Presentation (15-20 min. Video)

    The presentation video should be clear, engaging, and communicate your project to a broad audience. The focus of the evaluation will be on the technical content and how the scientific details of your project are communicated. This video should focus on clear, concise, and precise communication of technical aspects of your project (project design, results and data analysis, and conclusions). Your Human Practices work and other activities your team carried out should also be highlighted! The virtual format offers more flexibility than a traditional in-person presentation. We encourage you to creatively address the format and style of your presentation video.

    Technical requirements
    1. Length: The total length of the video, including the intro sequence, should not exceed 1200 seconds (20 minutes). - Important: Accelerating the speaking portions of your video to fit into 1200 seconds (20 minutes) is considered a form of cheating and may result in serious consequences for your team, up to and including ineligibility for medals and/or awards.
    2. Size: The total size of the video should not exceed 1GB.
    3. Format: Video file format should be .MP4
    4. Resolution: Full HD: 1920 x 1080 (1080p) or higher (4K: 3840 × 2160).
    5. Aspect ratio: 16:9, landscape orientation.

    Content requirements
    1. Only team student members listed on the official team roster are allowed to present or narrate the team presentation. Advisors, instructors, and PIs are not permitted to present.
    2. Intro: You should insert the official iGEM Design League Intro Sequence at the beginning of your video. Download it here.
    3. Credits: Everyone who contributed to the making of the video should be attributed at the end by short 2-3 seconds text. If you collaborated with someone outside of your team, it is mandatory to provide attributions for them too. You should also clearly attribute who did the video work on your team’s Attribution page.
    4. Copyrighted Material is NOT allowed: You can only use materials that are appropriately licensed for reuse, such as open-source code or Creative Commons licensed images or video clips. The music you use can only be royalty-free or specifically licensed to your team for creative commons use. You must attribute and credit all the creators and licenses of the music.
    5. Consent: You should get informed consent for the appearance of people in your video. If there are minors, below 18, appearing in your video - you are required to get parental consent. Please look into Safety Policies on interviews here as well as VRT resources for forms here.
    6. No country flags are allowed to be displayed in your videos: iGEM is an international competition and we do not want to have any country emphasized over another.
    7. Rules of Conduct: Your video should be compliant with iGEM’s values and iGEM Rules of Conduct. The iGEM Foundation strictly prohibits harassment of any kind. Harassment can be verbal or nonverbal and includes offensive comments, distribution, display, or discussion of offensive material. Your video should not contain disturbing images, violence, or other potentially sensitive content.

    Subtitles & narration requirements
    1. Subtitles: Please submit subtitles/captions of your video as a separate .vtt file. Do not include the subtitles directly in the editing of the video. The subtitles must be in English, and we also encourage teams to provide additional caption files in other languages.
    2. Narration Language: Primary narration language of your presentation can be in English, Spanish, or Portuguese, however, subtitles must be provided in English and if you are showcasing a presentation, any text on the screen must be in English as well.
    3. Multilingual Narration: We encourage recording additional versions of your presentation in your native language too (if it is not English) or in other languages your team speaks. This can benefit you in reaching out to your local communities. This is not a requirement and doesn't affect the judging of your presentation.

  • Project Webpage in the Just One Giant Lab platform.
  • The Project Page Sections
    Your project page will consist of 3 Project Sections as well as one Documents section. NOTE: All the sections are optional, although several are related to one or more medal requirements. Some of these are also tied to special prizes evaluations. However, before you consider filling all the sections, we URGE you to only fill the sections that apply to your project and those you can back up with data, results and relevant information. The judges will appreciate it.

    You can find all the details in the guide to the JOGL project webpage here.

Silver Medal

In order to obtain a Silver medal, all Bronze criteria must be met, plus all Silver criteria as well.


Collaborate with one (or more) 2021 iGEM Design League team(s) in a meaningful way.

Some ways to achieve this include:
- Mentor a team (or be mentored by a team)
- Troubleshoot a project
- Host a (virtual) meetup
- Model/simulate a system
- Validate a software/hardware solution to a synthetic biology problem

We invite you to also think outside of these areas for your collaboration.
- This can be a one-way collaboration where one team benefits from another team.
- Simply filling out a survey for a team is not enough to demonstrate a significant interaction.

Human Practices

  • Explain how you have determined your work is responsible and good for the world, starting with your place of origin. Is your project solving a local problem? Is the synthetic biology ecosystem the right solution? Engage with society to reflect and explore the potential impact of your project.
  • Human Practices (HP) is the “bigger picture” part of iGEM, the process of creating active feedback loops between iGEM projects and the world in which they exist. The Human Practices Hub contains a wealth of information, resources, and examples, including Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Through their Human Practices efforts, teams must convince the judges that they have carefully and creatively considered (i.e. taken a thoughtful and innovative approach to both reflect and act upon) whether their projects are responsible (i.e. conducted with care and foresight) and good for the world (i.e. can be reasonably anticipated to benefit and not harm people, and other ethical considerations like the just distribution of benefits and harms).
    To do this, teams engage with issues in ethics, sustainability, inclusion, security, and many other areas. These issues are complex, and often don’t have a single or simple answer, so Human Practices work can take many forms, such as investigating the ethics of a project, engaging with communities impacted by it, or finding ways to show that the project’s technology meets a real need. In general, we want to see the teams draw on their Human Practices work to construct evidence-based arguments in support of their technical decisions.
  • Human Practices activities should address both why a project idea is important and how the idea should be implemented in practice. Teams should provide a convincing rationale for why they designed their project the way they did, and should build upon and reference prior work.

Education and Communication

  • Create an Infographic to communicate your project and its potential impact for the community using appropriate communication and design tools and strategies.
  • Measure the impact and your results of your communication strategy.
  • This infographic should be a visual representation of your project description.

Computational Biology

  • Successfully make use of at least one computational biology tool to validate your design, and justify with data obtained from these tools, how your design will work according to your predictions.
  • The use of the computational biology tools should in some way contribute to your project design and to have a better understanding and predictability of your design.
  • We suggest you use some of our sponsored tools such as Benchling and Teselagen.
  • Feel free to go beyond these tools in an effort to model and justify how predictable the model is.

Design Roadmap

  • Design is the first step in the design-build-test-learn cycle in engineering and synthetic biology. However, implementing design principles can help you better understand a problem and a solution.
  • For this requirement you are expected to demonstrate you applied a design approach for your project and guide us through your process. Some examples you can look into are design thinking, design justice, double diamond design.
  • Be sure to present a diagram of the steps you followed as well as an explanation of what actions you took on each of these steps.
  • Remember that this is a suggested way to present the methodology you will follow. We recommend you also check the posts from our Design Week on Instagram @igemdesign for assistance on this requirement.

Gold Medal

In order to obtain a Gold Medal, all Bronze and Silver criteria must be met, plus at least three (3) Gold criteria must be met. Two (2) of these are mandatory and the remaining are optional.

Excellence in Biological Engineering Design (mandatory)

  • Expand the use of protocols, techniques, approaches that demonstrate an excellent understanding of your biological system and what it takes to characterize it in a build and test stage. You need to demonstrate the implementation of the key principles of synthetic biology in your designs: Standardization, Optimization, Build and Test.
  • 1. Standardization. Collaboration is a crucial component of the iGEM spirit. In order to make biology easier to engineer, iGEM promotes standardization as a key element for the projects. You should think of your designs as standard, modular and interchangeable systems that can be used for future teams and research groups. Please take a look at the iGEM and RSBP suggested standards for assembly, biobrick, and device design, and consider them in your projects. NOTE: To be considered for this medal requirement, your designs must reflect you followed iGEM Standards for biological parts, devices, or genetic circuits. Learn more here.
  • 2. Optimization. We encourage you to use computational biology, bioinformatics, and math modeling to better understand how your projects will behave in a specific concept in order to improve their potential performance. Please show us how you optimized and iterated your designs, provide a picture of your initial idea and compare it with your final version. At this point you should ask yourself: Are you ready to build and test your design in the lab?
  • 3. Build and Test: Propose how you would generate a proof of concept for your design in the lab. You must write down the protocols, materials, methods as well as equipment that you would require to test and measure proof of concept for your design. Some things to consider are, what is the minimum information you need to confirm your design works? What does it mean for your design to work? Will you measure fluorescence or another chemical reaction?

Integrated Human Practices (mandatory)

  • Expand your engagement with society, and use your insights from research and discussions to iterate and optimize your designs. You must demonstrate that your interactions helped you reshaping your project from what you initially proposed.
  • Teams should show how they have carefully considered whether their project is responsible and good for the world at many stages throughout their project and that they have reflected and acted upon these considerations.
  • Teams should document a thoughtful approach to exploring these questions.
  • Their Human Practices activities should address both why their project idea is important and how the idea should be implemented in practice. Teams should show that they have created feedback loops between their project work and the world in which it exists, and how the purpose, design and/or execution of their project evolved based on the information acquired through their Human Practices activities.
  • This Criteria is evaluated on the following aspects:
  • How well was their Human Practices work integrated throughout the project?
  • How inspiring an example is it to others?
  • To what extent is the Human Practices work documented so that others can build upon it?
  • How thoughtfully was it implemented?
  • How well did they explain the context, rationale, and prior work?
  • How well did it incorporate different stakeholder views?
  • To what extent did they convince you that their Human Practices activities helped create a project that is responsible and good for the world?

Improve an existing iGEM Design

  • Look for existing iGEM Projects and their parts, systems, devices they implemented to solve a local problem through synthetic biology. Improve or optimize their designs using an engineering approach so they can be applied to a local problem.
  • Engineering is the creative, rigorous application of knowledge about a system to solve problems or develop new technologies and products. Perhaps most importantly, engineering represents an unbiased lens through which problems can be viewed and solved. It is a mindset and a framework that enables systematic thought about the assumptions and approximations in a design, defining both what is known and what is unknown in order to gain a view on the expected performance of a design. In this mindset, success and failure are equally valuable since they both provide answers to the question at hand and help validate or dismiss our assumptions.
  • Engineering Methodology - General Outline:
  • Identify and demonstrate understanding of the problem
  • Gather data (and cite sources) and recognize unknowns and constraints
  • Select applicable guiding principles and theories
  • List assumptions, approximations and simplifications
  • Establish quantifiable measures of success
  • Show how the problem was solved
  • Validate the results
  • Communicate the solution

Education and communication excellence

  • Expand your impact on education, science communication and/or outreach. Create innovative educational tools and science communication activities to establish a two-way dialogue with new communities and a broader audience, discussing public values and the science behind synthetic biology.
  • Measure and Document your approach as well as the lessons learned by everyone involved.
  • Teams should show how their activities establish mutual learning and/or dialogue with new communities about synthetic biology. Activities do not have to be directly related to the team’s project but may look at wider issues related to iGEM or synthetic biology.
  • Some questions to help guide you:
  • How did you determine the type of materials you produced?
  • Who is your target audience and how will your materials be used by that audience?
  • How will your materials encourage an open dialogue with your audience?
  • How did you make your materials accessible to a wider audience?
  • Note: Teams should not “proselytize” or “market” iGEM and synthetic biology by telling the community that synthetic biology is great and will “save the world”.

Collaboration excellence

  • Collaborate throughout the season with at least one other 2021 iGEM Design League team on a set of shared objectives related to both your projects. This partnership should go beyond the Silver medal requirement collaboration.
  • Develop and nurture meaningful partnerships and collaborations with other iGEM Design League teams. Multi-disciplinary cooperation should help you to expand your vision and improve your designs.
  • Some questions to help guide you:
  • How did your collaborative work inform and shape your project at different stages?
  • How did each team in the partnership benefit from the collaboration?
  • How did your teams work together throughout the season?
  • Note: Compared to the Silver Medal Collaboration criterion, partnerships should be more central to the success of both teams’ projects and teams should be working together throughout the season (not a single interaction). A partnership and the Silver Medal Collaboration may be done with the same team(s).

Policy, biosafety and/or biosecurity excellence

  • Propose and implement fresh insights for synthetic biology policies and regulations, as well as new approaches to biosafety and biosecurity from your reflections and research.

Entrepreneurship excellence

  • Develop an entrepreneurial vision for your project, exploring new business models and using tools to understand how you could turn your project into a startup in the short term.

Diversity and inclusion excellence

  • Create, implement and measure new approaches and strategies to embrace diversity and promote inclusion in the synthetic biology field. Demonstrate how you worked to have diverse and inclusive team and project.

Arts and creativity excellence

  • Develop and implement innovative approaches in the intersection of the synthetic biology ecosystem with arts and creative fields or industries.

Important Deadlines

Stay tuned for more information!


Final Team Roster Form


Consent Form


Project Summary and Track Selection


Promotional Video (2 min. Video)


Safety Form


Project Webpage in the Just One Giant Lab platform


Judging Form


Complete the iGEM Academy Feedback Form


Video Presentation (15-20 min. Video)