Human Practices

Human Practices Hub

Using synthetic biology to address real-world problems requires thoughtful engagement with the world. In iGEM, we call this engagement Human Practices. We ask every team to think deeply and creatively about whether their project is responsible and good for the world.

Human Practices is not any specific activity or set of activities. While the most successful iGEM teams will engage with Human Practices issues throughout their project lifecycle, this engagement can take many shapes, reflecting the diverse contexts and intentions of iGEM projects.

Video: Introduction to Human Practices

"Human Practices is the study of how your work affects the world, and how the world affects your work." — Peter Carr, Director of Judging

Doing Human Practices During A Global Pandemic

The ongoing public health crisis caused by COVID-19 may make Human Practices more challenging this year. For example, teams will need to cautiously plan any in-person interactions with people that might be affected by their projects. This is particularly true when teams are planning to work with vulnerable populations, including those susceptible to this disease, such as people over 60 years old, immunocompromised populations, and those with underlying medical conditions (such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer).

All teams must comply with local social distancing or infectious diseases control measures when designing and performing Human Practices. The Safety and Security Committee and Human Practices Committee, along with iGEM Headquarters, have created a page with additional guidelines on your work in the context of COVID-19: You may also wish to read the iGEM Blog post on Doing Human Practices During A Global Pandemic.

How to do Human Practices

Learn about Human Practices, why it's important for your iGEM's project success, and see tips for teams.

Frequently Asked Questions

See answers to questions like "How can my team integrate Human Practices into our Foundational Advance project?"


Getting started? These resources can help you understand methods for responsible research, public engagement, and much more.

Exemplary Projects

Explore the inspiring and impactful Human Practices work done by past iGEM teams.

Beyond the Competition

How did Human Practices become part of iGEM? What does it look like in the real world?


Questions? Suggestions? The Human Practices committee is here to help!


If you have questions or suggestions please check out the FAQ or email us at humanpractices [AT] igem [DOT] org

We love hearing from teams as they explore the Human Practices issues that arise during their iGEM season. Best of luck with your projects!