Communication is key
The first step is getting together with your team and preparing your message. You need to think of a clear, concise way in which you can explain your project and why you need help funding it. Presenting your project may be a balancing act; you will need to give the right amount of information so your audience can connect to what you are doing, but be careful to not overwhelm them. A simple and compelling idea can go very far.
A good presentation is important but also consider creating a brochure in which you state the goals of your team. Having a team identity (logo, team color, presentation layout, etc.) will help you look professional and serious about what you are doing.
Recording your story in a short promotional video is also a good idea. Let your audience see who they are helping; it will be easier to relate to project if they see who is working behind it. A short video is also useful if you plan to obtain money via an online crowd-funding platform.
Remember that your wiki is a valuable tool during this stage. You can use it as your website to tell your story to the outside world.
Be sure to answer these questions:
- Who are you?
- What is your team’s project?
- Why did you choose to work on this project?
- What will you use the money for?
- Why is the iGEM Competition important to you?
Be sure to have a budget ready when you present your project to possible funding sources. This will help you explain why you need money and will give your team a serious and professional image. There are several things you need to consider for making your budget, some expenses vary from region and country. You can consult other iGEM teams from your area to get an idea of their budget.
Team Registration Fee
To participate in iGEM 2021, each team must submit a registration fee. This amount must be submitted before the registration deadline. Team registration will open in March. More information about the fees and deadlines can be found here.
In a normal iGEM year, we would encourage teams to get together and share their work at regional team meetups. These events can sometimes have associated expenses that would need to be included in the team budget. Due to the current global situation, we do not recommend teams host in-person meetups in the coming months. Instead, consider switching to an online virtual meetup!
Some iGEM teams help students who are working on the project to support themselves during the summer. This aid can take form of funds to pay the student’s expenses, social service hours or professional service hours in some countries. Talk to the department heads at your institution to get the help you need to work full time on your project.
Talk to your instructors and advisors regarding what lab materials are available at the institution. It is advisable to create a specific lab budget where you state your team’s needs for developing the project. Some of these materials might already be in your school and can be provided for your team.
Also consider reaching out to local biotech companies, they can provide you with lab materials such as lab gloves, pipettes and other useful supplies.
Teams are encouraged to create their own personal branding material. Logos and mascots can be used to present your project to the rest of the world.
Be as creative as you want! Some local companies can help by sponsoring the creation of these items so be sure to look for their support.
Teams have designed
- Comic Books
Attending the Giant Jamboree
There are additional team costs associated with attending the Giant Jamboree, including the registration costs.
The format of the Giant Jamboree in 2021 is still unknown, but it is a topic we are actively working on at iGEM HQ, and we will be sure to notify teams as soon as the format is confirmed. If the Jamboree will be virtual, the fee will be charged per team at the Regular Registration rate starting at $2500 per team. If the Jamboree will be in-person, the fee will be charged per attendee. The in-person fee is TBD. More information coming soon.
Once you have your communication strategy and budget, you can start approaching funding sources. Gaining support from university or government officials is not just good for your team - it can help to build a lasting legacy for iGEM teams after you too!
Your School or University
The first place you should request funding is from your school or university. Try speaking with department heads, school deans, or work with your team PI to get iGEM into their budget and grant proposals. If there is not already a synthetic biology department, teams can seek support from biology, biochemistry, medical, and/or engineering departments.
Local or State Government
You may consider approaching your local, state, or federal government to set up funding for multiple iGEM teams in the region. See if your state or country has a bio-economy or synthetic biology strategy, or any initiatives focused on innovation and STEM.
You should aim for the majority of your team activities (participation, registration, lab work, stipends, etc.) to be funded via the sources mentioned above. Here are some other ways to get extra funding for your iGEM team:
Companies may be interested in providing financial support to a team if the project aligns with their interests. Teams may offer brand exposure based on the level of financial support on places such as their wikis, T-shirts, or presentations. Put your team's branding and communication materials to work to tell a compelling story that will align with the company's interests.
Sometimes companies who are unable to provide financial support are more willing to provide in-kind sponsorship. This can come in the form of free access to their goods and services. Consider reaching out to local biotech companies, they can provide you with lab materials such as lab gloves, pipettes and other useful supplies. This type of sponsorship can reduce laboratory-associated costs, and allow you to divert those funds to other aspects of your project.
Some educational institutions have alumni associations that can assist in providing funding for your project. Consider talking to your school's alumni association about this. We also encourage you to work with the iGEM alumni at your school and in your region. Contact After iGEM to get connected to past participants (email after [AT] igem [DOT] org).
iGEM Partner Special Offers
The iGEM Foundation is supported by various sponsors. We work every year on getting special offers for our iGEM teams. More information is coming soon.