Safety/Exemplary Projects

Exemplary Projects in Safety and SECURITY

Teams that accomplish something special on safety and security during iGEM have been rewarded with a special commendation. This award is not always given and is presented by the Safety Committee to reward excellence.

Past recipients have included:

2020 TU Delft

For a safe-by-design approach that made Safety & Security a core project requirement and built small risk assessments into many design decisions, and for addressing how to determine what risks are acceptable through a systematic approach to stakeholder identification and consultation.

2018 Bielefeld-CeBiTec

For identifying a dual use concern in a project not using pathogens, consulting with the community on views around dual use issues, developing resources to help other teams think about this issue, having teams actually use it, and then rewarding them with a button for their wikis. This project has helped iGEM improve how it deals with these issues.

2017 Wageningen UR

For integrating safety and security into how they designed their project, decisions they made whilst working on it, and including these important topics in how they presented their work at the Jamboree

2016 Arizona State

For a White Paper on context specific risk assessment where they considered how risks associated with parts in their project might change if they were to come into contact with different organisms.

2015 Bielefeld-CeBiTec

For a report on the dual-use nature of advanced biotechnology – where its impact on society is determined by the intent of the user. This report was felt to be an excellent review of this issue - and an important resource for future iGEM teams.

2014 Aachen

For integrating safety considerations into the design and production of their project. This team undertook a series of experiments to determine whether safety-based decisions taken in project design actually resulted in the desired improvements.

2013 Lethbridge

For working with the gene synthesis industry to test whether their screening techniques could detect illicit orders that had undergone a frame shift. Their security work was directly connected to their main project. This was an excellent example of responsible whitehat biohacking.

2012 Paris Bettencourt

For a project focused entirely on safety issues. This team developed a three-level containment system designed to prevent horizontal gene transfer or a modified organism becoming an invasive specifies.

2011 IIT Madras

For developing a light-based screening technique that would reduce the need to use antibiotics in everyday experiments. The team linked their work to efforts to address issues around horizontal gene transfer and antibiotic resistance.


Help us find other examples of excellent work in safety and security. If you spot a team that you think has done great work on these topics please let us know by emailing safety [AT] igem [DOT] org.