What does inclusivity mean? Inclusivity stands for including diverse people with different social or ethnic backgrounds – everyone, regardless of their gender, national origin, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs, should have an equal chance of participating in research and of accessing science communication. Especially science requires a variety of different points of views in scientific discourse, which can only be guaranteed by providing diversity in the science world. Because of diversity’s major impact, our iGEM Team aimed to provide an environment everyone feels welcomed and recognized in. To ensure this, we decided for one unbiased advisor in our team in charge of helping with disagreements and solving conflicts. Furthermore, Frank Olaf Lohmann, a psychology student, attended our team seminars and provided support for appropriate social interaction. This way, we managed to create a very respectful and supportive atmosphere which helped us work even more efficiently and grow together as a team. Our success can be seen in the diversity of our own team, for example in the equal participation by men and women: 56 % of our team members are female, while 44 % are male.

With those steps, we wanted to ensure equal treatment and recognition in our own team. However, another important aspect of inclusivity is the accessibility of our research and results to a broad audience. How did we tackle inclusive accessibility?

Wiki design

One of the major obstacles for disabled people when it comes to scientific communication is website design. Due to the fact that a lot of research papers and explanatory content are published on the internet, often without a thought of visually, mentally, or hearing-impaired people, educating yourself with a temporary or permanent disability becomes even harder.

Therefore, our goal was to reduce as many barriers as possible on our Wiki. To achieve this, we created an easy-to-use website with a clear and well-structured layout, highlighting the most important aspects. We also put effort into using bigger buttons and a larger font size to make our website easier to access for people with minor visual or mental handicaps making it harder to process information. In this manner, we also paid attention to the color contrast on our website. Moreover, every video we used for our project regarding science communication provides English subtitles to make it accessible for hearing-impaired people. We also recorded a high number of articles and mainly important research of our project. This way, our content is even approachable to blind people interested in our science.

Explanatory videos

However, inclusive involvement does not only refer to including disabled members of our society, but also making content accessible for people with different social backgrounds or knowledge. Therefore, we visualized important methods of genetic modification with explanatory videos in an easy understandable way. We produced videos for several topics: importance of synthetic biology, organisms and their requirements for genetic modification as well as the methods PCR, gel electrophoresis, cloning, transformation and recombinant protein expression. Our team especially focussed on explaining the fundamentals of those topics, pointing out the function of DNA, protein synthesis and major cell processes - all explained from the start. Furthermore, we emphasized the importance of genetic modification with vivid examples, like Golden Rice, Insulin production or biosensors against environmental pollutants.

Enabling people with different levels of knowledge to inform themselves about dangers and chances of synthetic biology is also an important part of including all members of society.


During this process, our whole team learned to adjust not only to the most addressed target groups but more importantly to every member of society with its own qualities. Having a disability or a certain social background should not exclude you from participating in everyday life. That is why we tried to start with our little part in science communication and make it more accessible for a broad audience.

© iGEM Hamburg 2021