Judges at the 2019 Giant Jamboree

The 2021 Judging Application is Now Closed

Judging at the Giant Jamboree

Judging in iGEM is a fun, rewarding experience and requires commitment! Through the judging process, our judges will evaluate, celebrate, and help guide the next generation of synthetic biologists. Judges help the entire iGEM community celebrate the hard work and achievements of our iGEM teams.

We need judges — both experienced and new — who understand and value iGEM. Many of our judges come back year after year, and we gladly welcome new judges to apply as well.

iGEM teams work incredibly hard on their projects, so we need judges who are also committed. Judges are expected to dedicate their time and effort to thoroughly evaluate the projects of their assigned teams. The judging process also includes attending virtual training sessions prior to the Jamboree, attending various sessions during the Giant Jamboree to interact with and evaluate your assigned teams, and providing written feedback to your assigned teams.

To understand more about our core judging values, please watch our Introduction to Judging video from 2020:

"Being a judge is a very gratifying, educating and awesome experience!"

- Dimitrios Michailidis, University of Sheffield

Why Should You be an iGEM Judge?

Judging at the annual iGEM Giant Jamboree is an incredibly fulfilling and worthwhile experience for all judges, whether you're returning as a veteran judge or are a new judge this year. Participants in iGEM will gain the experience of a lifetime. Be a part of the journey. Become an iGEM judge!

"Although it was crazy and I felt overwhelmed at times, I loved the community feel and all of the students networking and talking science. It was overall an incredibly AMAZING experience."

- Melanie Sabourin, Public Health Agency of Canada

Contribute to the iGEM Community

By volunteering to judge at the Giant Jamboree, you will contribute to one of the most meaningful opportunities that these students experience in synthetic biology. Providing constructive feedback to these dedicated students can be life changing for them as they continue through their academic career and beyond.

As a judge, you will:

  • Help teams learn from their experience by giving both positive and constructive feedback
  • Identify areas of excellence that deserve to be celebrated through awards
  • Take part in shaping the next generation of researchers, entrepreneurs, and leaders

Who Should Apply to be a Judge?

We're looking for:

  • iGEM PIs, instructors, and advisors, from both current and past iGEM teams
  • People who have judged iGEM previously
  • iGEM alumni who want to stay involved, including professionals, graduate students, and post-docs
  • Professionals in the synthetic biology, biotechnology, and engineering industries
  • People who have experience in complementary areas, such as the humanities, art and design, and software

If you have colleagues who you think should apply, please feel free to direct them to this form. While previous iGEM experience is preferred, we gladly welcome new applicants - particularly those that demonstrate a strong knowledge of and value for iGEM.

Applicants must be at least 23 years old as of March 31, 2021, and have completed their undergraduate degree by June 30, 2021, to be considered for the judging panel.

If you are a student on a 2021 iGEM team, then you can't apply to be a judge this year, but you can apply when you graduate and become an iGEM alum!

"This is not just about training scientists; this is about training the next generation of bioengineers and entrepreneurs."

- Dr. Hans-Joachim Wieden, University of Lethbridge

Benefits for Judges

Attending for Free: Judges will not pay any registration fee for the Giant Jamboree!

Networking: Much like the iGEM teams, you'll have the chance to connect with people from around the globe, to expand your synthetic biology community, and to form new collaborations beyond the Giant Jamboree.

Learning About New Technology: You will learn about the latest cutting edge work being done in synthetic biology from student teams who are driven to excel and who test the boundaries of synthetic biology through their projects.

Application Process

We are accepting applications on a rolling basis. We will be evaluating applications once per month (we will download applications on the 15th of the month or the closest business day) and we will contact applicants approximately two weeks after the evaluation period with a status notification, such as 1. invitation to judge, 2. invitation to serve as a reserve judge, 3. invitation to re-apply, or 4. decline for 2021 with an invitation to apply next year. Notifications will be sent once per month, beginning at the beginning of June, until our quota is full (expected by the end of September). We encourage you to apply early to increase your chances of being selected!

You can apply to be a judge before knowing if you can fully commit to attending the Giant Jamboree. We can also provide an official invitation letter if you require that to secure permission from your institute to participate as a judge.

Once we have reached our quota of judges, we will close the application and add a notice to this page.

Applications will be anonymized and evaluated by experienced judges who belong to the Judging Corps Committee. If possible, please refrain from using identifying information in the answers to your application questions (Section 4).

Recruitment Goals

We will be recruiting a diverse judging panel with the following characteristics in mind:

  • Gender parity
  • Regional diversity with time zone coverage
  • iGEM experience (i.e., past and present team PIs, mentors, and advisors; previous team members; returning judges)

Please email traci [AT] igem [DOT] org if you have questions!

Login or Register

In order to fill out the Judge Application, you must be signed into our software.

If you have an existing iGEM account, please login to your iGEM account at the top of this page by clicking on the small, orange "login" in the thin black bar.

If you are new to iGEM, please register for an account here: Apply for a New Account

Judge Application Form

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1. General Information

Full name: -

Username: -

1. Email

2. Age


Applicants must be at least 23 years old as of March 31, 2021, and have completed their undergraduate degree by June 30, 2021, to be considered for the judging panel.

3. Gender

4. Institution

5. Institution type

6. Position

7. Region Where you currently live/work :

8. Number of years of iGEM experience as a:

2. Jamboree Information and Your Availability

Please complete this section to the best of your ability. You will be asked to check or update this information prior to the Jamboree.

You are expected to start the judging process once you receive your team assignment on October 22. You will be expected to start reading through the team wikis the weekend of October 23. The team presentation videos will be available starting on October 29 so judges are expected to watch those videos starting the weekend of October 30. Team wikis and team presentation videos must be viewed before your assigned judging sessions take place on November 4 - 7.

1. Please indicate which days/times you are available to attend the Giant Jamboree taking place in November. The times listed below will cover the Judging Sessions that will take place on November 4 - 7.

Day 6:00 AM - 9:00 AM (EDT) 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM (EDT) 10:00 AM - 13:00 PM (EDT)
November 4 (Thursday)

November 5 (Friday)

November 6 (Saturday)

November 7 (Sunday)

2. Please indicate your availability for Saturday, November 13. This will be the Final Judges' Meeting for voting on the final Grand Prize winners.

Day 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM (EDT)
November 13 (Saturday)

3. Conflicts of Interest

There are many possible reasons why you might be unable to judge some teams impartially. For example if you are a PI or instructor for the team, if the team comes from a school that you attended, or a school where you work or if you mentored or advised the team informally.

These situations could lead to a conflict of interest and iGEM takes conflicts of interests very seriously. Judges are not permitted to evaluate teams for which they have a conflict of interest. If you are a PI or instructor, your first responsibility is to your team, and we will schedule your judging assignment so that you are able to attend your team's presentation.

To select multiple teams, use Ctrl-click or Cmd-click. Don't recognize a team name? Look it up in the Team List.

1. Team Affiliations:

Please select any teams you are officially affiliated with (i.e. you are listed on the team roster as a PI, Instructor, or Advisor).

2. Conflicts of Interest:

Please select any teams for which you have a conflict of interest for another reason. (For example, a team that you mentored informally, or a team from the university where you were an undergrad student.)

3. If you have any other conflicts of interest that are not indicated above, please describe them:

4.- Motivation

Your application will be anonymized for evaluation, so please refrain from giving out any identifying information in the answer to these questions.

1. Why do you want to be a judge in iGEM?

2. What professional experience do you have that you believe is relevant to iGEM (e.g., synthetic biology, hardware, software, human practices)?

3. What role do you believe judging serves in iGEM?

4. What features of an iGEM team and their project do you think are most valuable?

5. Track Preferences

iGEM teams compete in several "tracks", based on the topics of their projects. Please see the Track page for more information on each track.

This year the presentation scheduling for the Giant Jamboree will be dependent on timezones rather than tracks. It is possible that track preferences will not be taken into consideration, as teams and their judges will be grouped together based on timezone availability first, and track second. However, we will try to assign you to your track preferences wherever possible. If you are unable to evaluate teams in some track areas (software, for example), please put "Avoid" for those tracks.

Please indicate how highly you prefer each track. You may select multiple first, second, and third preferences.

Track First Second Third Neutral Avoid
Food and Nutrition
Foundational Advance
High School
Information Processing
New Application

Thank you!

Thank you for filling out this form. We look forward to picking a strong judging team for 2021!


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