Working together with other teams has benefited the development of our project in several ways. First, by collaborating with CCU_Taiwan and SDU Denmark, we could bring considerable impact to the community. With CCU_Taiwan, we provided each other with information and resources. While with SDU Denmark, we worked together on education and raising mental health awareness. Without each other, we would not have come so far, and our project would have been shaped differently from the existing one.
The Beginning of Our Partnership
Through the Taiwan online conference, we met CCU_Taiwan after all the Taiwan teams presented their projects. After that, we decided to collaborate on holding the iASK Symposium with CCU_Taiwan, and that is how our partnership started. The difference in our topics did not prevent us from sharing our thoughts. Instead, we provided insights from another standpoint, allowing us to recognize our projects’ shortcomings and develop more refined solutions.
A symposium held by NCKU_Tainan and CCU_Taiwan was dedicated to iGEMers. Our teams wanted to organize a seminar acting as a bridge connecting official iGEM staff and iGEMers. Fellow iGEMers may have difficulty understanding the judging process, an essential part of a competition. Therefore, we held an online symposium that allowed direct communication between the judging committee and iGEMers. We especially thank Dr. Janie Brennan and Mr. Patrick Wu for accepting our invitation to the iGEM Judging Program Committee. They explained the requirements for each criterion and explained the best way to achieve them. We also invited the 2019 iGEM Grand Prize-winning team’s leader, Sabrina Yeoh, to share how their team succeeded.
Visiting Biotech Company (Meetup for the first time!)
On September 7, our team and CCU_Taiwan together visited a biotech company based in Taiwan. Dr. Lance, the CEO of Trade Wind Biotech, personally showed us around the manufacturing plant. Our firsthand experience visiting a biotech company provided insight into synthetic biology and entrepreneurship.
After a factory tour, we presented each team’s project to Dr. Lance and received feedback with some suggestions on how we could improve our overall project, especially on presentation and entrepreneurship parts. It was a nice and enjoyable afternoon while we also had some probiotic coffee produced by TWBIO! To express our gratitude, we prepared small gifts for Dr. Lance. Through this visit, both our teams met up physically for the first time and discussed further about our partnership, especially in the entrepreneurship part.
Our teams had several discussions throughout the season. First, we shared how we conducted our surveys and exchanged our thoughts on the survey responses. Unsurprisingly, most Taiwanese are still wary of GMOs, so we considered this when developing our business plans and market analysis. In addition, since both of our teams are based in Taiwan, we discussed Taiwan's laws and regulations for GMO-based products. Our active discussions brought many beneficial and inspiring ideas for both teams, and we unanimously agreed that raising the Taiwanese's acceptance of GMOs should be prioritized before launching our products.
How We Started
Earlier this year, our team was looking for a partner with a similar topic. Luckily, through CCU_Taiwan, we were informed that SDU Denmark’s project was also related to depression. Thus, we contacted them through Instagram and arranged an online meeting together. During our first meeting, both of the teams presented their projects. Although our solutions were different, we shared the same goal of relieving depression.
In our first meeting, we discussed the potential collaboration between the wet lab and dry lab subteams. Because SDU did not have a concrete idea for their dry lab yet, we offered them the idea of developing an online mental health sharing platform. Unfortunately, due to the lack of resources in both our teams, this plan was later discarded.
Other than that, we collaborated in the modeling section. We held another meeting solely to discuss and exchange ideas about our current modeling progress to see how we can work together at this level. One of the highlights is introducing the modeling software COPASI by our team, enabling them to start their modeling plan. Since both teams did not have much experience developing software, we gave each other advice during the development process.
Apart from technical collaboration, we also worked together on human practices. Our goal was to raise public awareness regarding mental health issues and assist our business model. Despite the time difference, we managed to overcome it and engage in a memorable partnership.
Depressured Card Game
NCKU_Tainan, SDU Denmark, and Moscow designed an educational card game with depression as its main topic. The game consists of 120 questions and answers revolving around our projects and depression. It is available in four languages: Chinese, Danish, English, and Russian. For easier access, we uploaded the card game to Quizlet, where participants quickly accessed the game. We hope we can share more knowledge and raise mental awareness in the community through this game. For more information regarding the rules and content, you can visit:
Working on similar topics does not necessarily mean our target audience is the same. For example, SDU Denmark worked on drug development and setting drug manufacturers as their potential customer group, while our team decided that our customer group was the average working group. Despite the differences, we provided opinions from our perspectives and assisted each other in constructing business models, such as SWOT analysis and canvas model. They even shared the business models they received from some companies with us, which helped and inspired us a lot in our entrepreneurship section. We kept up dynamic discussions every week through online meetings, which was beneficial in advancing our project. More about entrepreneurship.