Jobs/Human Practices

International Genetically Engineered Machine

iGEM Foundation

The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of synthetic biology, education and competition, and the development of an open community and collaboration.

Human Practices Program Officer

This job posting is now closed. Look forward to future openings within iGEM's Respect & Responsibility team in January!

What happens when synthetic biology becomes a tool that anyone in the world can use? What problems can we solve with it? What problems might be created by our work?

The iGEM Human Practices program encourages young synthetic biologists to reflect on the big-picture, beyond-the-lab implications and context of their work. We strive to create a community where reflecting on whether your work is good for the world is an integral part of the engineering design cycle.


As iGEM’s first Human Practices Program Officer, you will work full-time on strengthening the iGEM Human Practices program. You will:

Help iGEM teams think deeply and creatively about addressing real-world problems using synthetic biology

  • Act as a clearinghouse for issues related to responsible innovation, bioethics, human-centred design, stakeholder engagement, sustainability, and other human practices topics
  • Manage day-to-day Human Practices interactions with teams
  • Work with the Human Practices Committee to support teams (e.g. attending meetups, writing blog posts, updating judging materials)

Practically and empirically build a culture of responsibility

  • Shape strategy and norms for iGEM, the world’s largest synthetic biology competition
  • Run experiments and develop a structured process to learn lessons from iGEM’s Human Practices Program in collaboration with iGEM Insights
  • Share lessons with relevant technical and policy communities, attending workshops and writing academic publications

Engage with the broader synthetic biology and responsible science communities

  • Empower youth participation in science diplomacy by overseeing the Delegates Program
  • Build global community by overseeing our Ambassador Grant Program
  • Lead the organization of meetings and workshops on human practices issues


Required Qualifications

  • Degree or equivalent practical experience in responsible innovation, bioethics, or a relevant social science
  • Qualitative research experience
  • Working proficiency in English
  • Willingness to travel internationally and participate in workshops and meetings

Appreciated Qualifications

These are not required, but we would be especially excited about candidates that have these qualifications.

  • Understanding of iGEM and its community
  • Experience in bioethics or applied philosophy
  • High degree of comfort with biotechnology and synthetic biology developments
  • Working proficiency in any of these languages: Mandarin, Hindi, French, Spanish
  • Direct community connections to life scientists in Africa, Asia, or Latin America
  • Skills or experience in science communication, community organizing, event planning or program management
  • Ability to attend meetings during the Paris-Boston timezone overlap (12:00-16:00 UTC)


You will work within iGEM HQ under the VP for Respect and Responsibility. Your close collaborators will include:

The position offers the following:

  • 60,000 USD per year salary (negotiable for exceptional candidates)
  • Ideal start date: December 2021 - January 2022, but position will remain open until filled
  • Equivalent to a full time position
  • Flexible working hours, remote-friendly
  • No location requirements - happy to explore relocation to Paris
  • International team (coworkers in France, USA, Canada, UK, Mexico, Brasil + larger group of part-time colleagues covering every continent)

How to apply

The application process will involve three phases:

  1. An application (likely takes 30-60 minutes) about your relevant experiences, motivations, and ideas
  2. For the top 12-16 candidates, a longer work test that will ask for your thinking on Human Practices issues
  3. For the top 3-4 candidates, interviews with our team and long-time members of iGEM’s Human Practices community

We are an international team and welcome applicants from any country and of any age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or citizenship.

The application can be found at: