COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH
We took part in the Instagram game organized by the Aix-Marseille team aiming to get connected to other teams across the globe and know the topics of their projects interestingly and engagingly. The game aimed to describe our project with emoji, so that other teams can try to guess our project. After teams guessed the title of the project, the Aix-Marseille team provided their followers with short descriptions of the projects of corresponding teams. Not only this collaboration makes us think about our project in the language of emojis, but also provides us with a great example of how outreach projects can be conducted using Instagram as a platform for uniting all teams.
Our project description using emojis
Another outreach project we took part in is the Warwick iGEM Collective: our team took part in creating a booklet that contains information on how synthetic biology is key to our project and tasks associated with each team's project too, which was then spread among high school students. The line on the booklet highlights one of the main messages this collective delivers: It is impossible not to get inspired by how diverse is synthetic biology and how it is proven each year at the iGEM Competition. It was also useful to learn from iGEM Warwick on how to design online materials, and while composing our Guidebook on How to Organise a Successful Summer Camp, we looked at this booklet to learn how the Warwick iGEM Team acknowledges the contribution of all sides that made this project possible. By looking at their material along with other online files created with a similar aim, we had a chance to see and learn how they can be designed and structured.
We took part in the video collaboration with the answers to the questions:
- Introduce yourselves and your team
- What made you participate in iGEM
- What is your favorite thing about iGEM
This collaboration helped us in thinking about the place/role of iGEM in our lives and how participating in the competition is important to achieve our goals, such as making the world a little better. It was also interesting to try to explain our answers in only one minute, which was quite challenging and made us record the video several times. Thank you iGEM Team Saint-Joseph!
Due to the current pandemic situation, everything has changed a lot; we needed to shift from a traditional mode of living to a new one, and this lifestyle limited our social interaction. That’s why all of us felt isolated to some extent. iGEM team TU Darmstadt offered us a great opportunity, and iJET video collaboration, to see and feel that we are not alone. We needed to create a video where a paper plane is flown by our member in a lab coat. iGEM team TU Darmstadt did a great job at supporting all iGEM teams and showing that despite the huge distance and isolation between us we are together, we are one community that applies synthetic biology to tackle real-world problems. We had fun creating this video and posted bloopers while shooting the iJET video on our Instagram page. You can see what we have shoot below, and the full result of this outreach project is posted on Instagram page @igem_darmstadt, go have a look at it!
There are so many interesting ways to communicate with other iGEM teams and iGEM NAWI Graz found a great way to do it: podcasting! We happily decided to take part in this project after seeing their post on Instagram. During the process of recording, we introduced our iGEM project, discussed the problem of the Caspian Sea and endemic animals that live there, told how we came up with the idea of our topic and barriers that we faced while trying to contribute to solving the environmental problem of oil spills in our country. We also touch upon Human Practices projects that our team is holding, and ways we are managing to promote our events. This collaboration taught us how to create podcasts, what questions can be asked, how a host should behave, how to answer in a way that may interest a potential listener, and not to be shy when English words are forgotten, since both our and NAWI Graz teams are not native English speakers. It was a great experience! Since the global pandemic restricted us in many ways, it was very interesting to hear how COVID-19 affected the iGEM NAWI Graz team as well, so this fruitful discussion made us feel closer to the iGEM community and enabled us to share our ideas, aspirations, struggles, and stories of successful projects among other teams using not only text but voice.
This summer, we met with iGEM Moscow City to discuss potential collaborations and ways to interact. After this meeting, we knew about their Speaking Club project and were curious about the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with new people. Eventually, we took part in the Speaking Club conducted by this team, intending to get acquainted with members of other iGEM team members and discuss different questions raised in the field of synthetic biology as well as to answer some questions that have social importance: our views on friendship and qualities that a person should have, the way we cope with difficulties in life and get the strength to achieve our goals.
At the very beginning of the summer work on iGEM projects, we received a traditional offer from iGEM Düsseldorf to take part in their postcard collaboration, and the intention was to distribute those postcards among all iGEM teams. Eventually, 90 copies of the postcards prepared by our team were sent to iGEM Duesseldorf via an online platform. Also, iGEM Duesseldorf team thoughtfully provided us with an instruction how to use the website for sending postcards, and their instruction document served us as an example of clear explanation of platform usage, and later on, we implemented that knowledge while preparing instruction for using other platforms such as GoFundMe and Gather Town. By that, we want to show that any collaboration project is useful not only for its primary reason, but it helps to learn many other organizational details and contributes to knowledge increase in many hidden aspects. At the end of this collaboration project, teams receive all of the postcards including their own, and have a chance to know more about other teams and learn from each other’s creative results. Our team is thankful for this opportunity to be connected with so many teams and learn so much!
A collaboration called “Biogallery” - a photography project - organized by iBowu_China 2021 was a valuable experience to us because we could spread about our project more and keep memories collected during preparation for the iGEM competition in the form of a gallery offered by their team. The task was to document our iGEM experiences during the last several months and attach a 100-word description of our project. The hardest part of the task was to choose pictures to send them, as they were all important and memorable for us! Thanks to iGEM iBowu_China 2021!
iGEM Nantes organized a collaboration among many iGEM teams called “Languages You Speak”. We took part in this Instagram challenge: listing languages our members speak. It was quite an interesting collaboration to participate in because we found our members have interests also in learning different languages other than studying and doing experiments, which helped us know each other better and have more common things to discuss. Moreover, by looking at the responses of other iGEM teams, we saw that we share common interests not only in biology but also in the languages we speak. This gave us a notion of both diversity and unitedness.
At the beginning of August, we took part in the project called expARTiments, which was initiated by the NOUS iGEM team. We were asked to send photos of our experiments, or microscopes, schematics, diagrams, plots, or anything else that we captured and found creative while working on our project. The pictures were needed to create a mosaic out of them that can represent the experience of all teams that took part and print it as a poster. If you look at the mosaic closely, you can see tiny details that represent the idea of uniting science and art.
There are many ways to popularize science, but the one we all have missed is a live exhibition. This year not all iGEM teams and universities have the opportunity to present their works, share a science atmosphere, and engage the community in science through offline events. However, in Estonia TUIT 2021 team had this chance, and we were delighted to help the team from Estonia organize such a wonderful event. We sent photos taken in our laboratory for the Scientific Art Exhibition, where the Estonia TUIT team collects art pieces and presents them at the exhibition printing out the photos and putting them in frames. Despite the long-distance and isolation, we felt that we participated in the exhibition.
Another collaboration conducted with this team was a video collaboration: it was needed to capture one day of our team in the time-lapse video. Even though such videos are short, they tell a lot and we were curious to see how one can 1 day be speeded up and summarize the key message of a day and how the daily routine of different iGEM teams looks like.
The task from iGEM Korea_HS was to send group photos of members creatively and interestingly, and add a short description of the project. Due to reason that not all members of our team were not on campus and lived in different cities, we couldn’t take the group photo together. However, we came up with the idea of joining us this way. In the photo, members are represented by characters from our favorite cartoons and movies. The image illustrates the idea despite we are different and having diverse backgrounds, we work together as a big superhero team. For the chance to unite us in such form, we thank Korea_HS 2021 team!
A great collaboration between many iGEM teams and meeting organized by iGEM TAS_Taipei regarding the task of meeting Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations in projects conducted by iGEM Teams. We did the tasks of iGEM Korea_HS: translated their pamphlet and distributed it among children from socially vulnerable categories and found a person who has taken chemotherapy for the interview with their team. In terms of our goal, which is quality education, iGEM Bochum translated our posters as a task from our team. Afterward, we prepared a presentation and took part in the conference on September 18, when we presented our project and listened to the current topics of other iGEM teams. In the meeting, we discussed what kind of SDG goal we have, what tasks each team assigned, and what tasks we completed. That was a heartwarming meeting because we could meet with many iGEMers and see how all of us contributing to the achievement of SDG goals and shaping the future of our world.
You can take a look at our presentation by the following link
One of the first conferences our team took part in was a Biodiversity symposium held by iGEM UNSW Australia, and it was our true pleasure to take part in it! This event was dedicated to the question of how iGEM teams' projects help to save the biodiversity in the world. Each team had a designated time for speaking and showing their presentation. Our members, Malika and Aiman prepared a presentation about our project and its contribution to saving biodiversity in the Caspian sea, which surprised many participants of the biosymposium, since they were not fully aware of how important is Caspian sea is and what kind of endemic aquatic animals live there. It was very interesting to meet so many iGEM teams, listen to them, and look at all iGEM projects from the perspective of environmental scientists. We were glad to hear from the guests of the event that they liked our presentation and were impressed by students’ deep knowledge about the subjects they study and work on. It is always inspiring to gather with like-minded people with whom you are united by one goal: to make the world a better place. Not only for human beings but for all other living organisms as well.
Our team joined the GMO discussion held by iGEM DTUBioBuilders. Even though there were only two teams, ours and iGEM DTUBioBuilders, it was an interesting and meaningful discussion that helped to understand people’s opinions about GMOs in Denmark and in Kazakhstan. We discussed potential reasons lying between people’s negative attitude to GMOs and their future role in providing people with enough amount of food. We believe that such important topics need to be raised even when the audience is not huge, since it stays, first of all, in the mind of the one who is addressing the question. By explaining the situation regarding GMO regulations in Kazakhstan to iGEM DTUBioBuilders, we had a chance to look at the situation from another angle, and believe that this event was insightful to both sides. We thank iGEM DTUBioBuilders for asking questions of great importance and giving them a chance to speak.
We organized a Workshop: Innovative Approach to Inclusion and Diversity in order to raise awareness about issues faced by people that were historically excluded from society. This event was aimed to help and give other iGEM teams practical knowledge to make their projects more inclusive by listening to the lectures from Inclusivity specialists and asking their own questions regarding inclusive projects held by them. To know more, you can visit our section that is devoted to Inclusivity, Sustainability and Education.
Our expectations did not match with the reality: even though we focused on iGEM teams mainly, we were surprised to see that among 58 responses, 87% of registered individuals were outside of the iGEM competition, and 13%, or 7 teams, that are Greece_United (NOUS), TEC_COSTA_RICA, Bolivia, iGEM Patras 2021, IGEM-RUM, NOUS (Greece_unted) demonstrated interest in the event. Not only did we help them to know new and important information regarding inclusion issues, but also we ourselves managed to ask a lot of questions from invited specialists and it helped us to create an Inclusivity guidebook for other iGEM teams, that can be accessed on Sharing Experience section.
We have collaborated with the iGEM CCU_Taiwan team and translated their parent-child picture book called “The War on Germs” to the Kazakh language! As the CCU_Taiwan team says, this book provides kids with the correct knowledge about bacteria, and we would add, in a very funny and interesting way. Our team helped to spread the Kazakh version of the book via social media such as Instagram and asked channels that help spread materials in the Kazakh language to share our post. It was also useful to learn from their experience, like the way how iGEM CCU_Taiwan sent us their materials served as an example of how such kind of collaborations can be held since we have also sent our science posters for translation later. The book is indeed interesting and illustrations make it very engaging and funny, which is just right for children of young age. You can find and download the PDF version of the book via this link:
You can find and download the PDF version of the book via this link:
Another exciting collaboration was done with team iGEM SCU-China in which we translated IntestiNO game documents prepared by iGEM SZU-China to the Kazakh language. The idea of creating such a game was to spread the knowledge about synthetic biology and molecular biology of the gut based on a popular board game - UNO. It is a lovely game that our members played a lot. Therefore, we were more than happy to help in SZU-China translate their IntestiNO into our language and share not only enjoyable but also informative games to others.
Our team prepared 8 posters that we spread at schools of Kazakhstan. The aim of this project was to contribute to developing science materials in Kazakh language, since there is a lack of popular science and synthetic biology materials for in mother tongue of children in our country. We sent these posters to other teams in order to make them available for high school students of other countries as well, and thereby contribute to the development of materials related to synbio and biology worldwide.
We are grateful to iGEM Nantes, Crete, CCU_Taiwan, Bochum, Team Saint Joseph (Turkey),KU Leuven for supporting our initiative and taking part in our collaboration! You can have a look at our posters in the Education section
We are grateful to iGEM Nantes, Crete, CCU_Taiwan, Bochum, Team Saint Joseph (Turkey),KU Leuven for supporting our initiative and taking part in our collaboration!
You can have a look at our posters in the Education section
Istanbul Tech Team offered a collaboration both interesting and thought provoking. The whole idea of the collaboration was to ask iGEM teams about ethical issues and collect their perspectives regarding examples in which ethical value of the choice was challenged. In addition, we discussed the future of using stem cells to grow new organs in animals and applying them in transplantation As we all know, ethics is the main part of doing science, which should be considered always before any experiments. Therefore, making the rational, most efficient and important decisions is the necessary quality of professional scientist. This collaboration tested our capability of thinking critically and logically. We were really challenged, but we also enjoyed the whole process. We not only learned how to discuss such questions, but also tried to apply this model of thinking in our project to evaluate it in terms of ethics.
One of the biggest and truly inclusive collaborations was with iGEM Crete in the building of a database that will contain Braille alphabets for several languages and help blind or visually impaired individuals to convert information from general texts into texts with Braille symbols. Our main task was to invite other iGEM teams to participate in enlarging the database with Braille’s alphabet of their language and send iGEM Crete several versions of Braille’s alphabet and include our posters in this database. As part of our job, we sent them Braille’s alphabet of languages such as Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Mongolian, Turkish, Russian, and Tatar. On the other hand, they helped us with the translation of our educational posters into Greek language. We want to thank iGEM Crete for this great idea on behalf of all iGEM teams that took part in this collaboration.