The pandemic situation that continued in 2021 significantly affected the work processes of iGEM teams and fostered us to look for new ways to integrate our projects. Online format prevalence of the activities opened the door for more cooperation. We believe that by sharing our experience, we can help other iGEM teams as much as their experience helped us in their endeavors. We are happy to have an opportunity to spread knowledge. And getting relevant knowledge and guidance from other iGEM teams is equally important. Creating such co-guiding opportunities helps to go beyond the project and find new development opportunities. In the frames of our sharing experience activities, we have created a guidebook, organized workshops, and used the experience and opportunities presented by other iGEM teams.
Summer Camp Guidebook
This August, our team has organized a nationwide Summer Camp aimed at increasing science literacy among high school students of Kazakhstan and providing them with an opportunity to learn more about the diversity of career pathways in science. We have designed a guidebook to provide instructions for the organization of a successful online summer camp. It is intended for those who are also going to hold a similar event.
This guidebook includes:
- How to come up with ideas, topics, and formats for your camp
- Detailed instructions for each day
- Guidance on obtaining and managing the financial support and funding
- Guidance on the promotion of the camp
- How to find speakers for each day
- How to select, evaluate, and monitor summer camp participants
- Dealing with technical problems
- Recommendations from our team on every aspect of the organization
- Ready-made templates and instruction for letters and presentations
Inclusive iGEM Project Guidebook
As part of our campaign to raise awareness about inclusiveness and how to make the project inclusive and welcome diversity, we have hosted a number of events and campaigns, such as workshops with experts on the application and implementation of inclusiveness and diversity; an educational campaign to introduce materials for children with disabilities in local urban and rural schools; Collaborating with other iGEM teams to increase the number of visually impaired educational materials in different languages. We wanted to summarize and present all our experiences in detail and share the knowledge and expertise of the experts with other iGEM teams to help them integrate inclusiveness and diversity into their projects. With this goal, our team has developed a “Practical tips on making your project more inclusive” guidebook.
This guidebook includes:
- History and development of Inclusion
- Creating materials for people with sight problems
- Language inclusion
- Inclusion of socially vulnerable categories of people
- Welcoming minority groups: queer community, women in IT and stem
Applying the experience and knowledge of other iGEM teams
It is important to not only share your experience and knowledge with others but also to use the already existing information and tips by other iGEM teams, thereby promoting the co-operative space within the iGEM community and fostering the experience distribution between the teams. Therefore, we focused on exploring what the experience of previous iGEM teams has to offer.
INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY
ORGANIZATION OF THE TEAM
One of our big projects was the campaign for inclusion and diversity in education and science. The previous experience of the Concordia Montreal 2020 GEM team helped us organize some events. Their outline on inclusiveness helped us understand the effectiveness of inclusive workshops and meeting with experts in the field. In this way, we were able to interview professionals who helped us improve the inclusiveness of our events.
Our other big project Was Biohackathon, in the organization of which we were assisted by the experience of iGEM 2018 Team Vilnius-Lithuania, namely by their guidebook on holding a successful international biohackathon. Despite the fact that this guide was created in non-pandemic times, we were greatly helped by advice from there on budget management, troubleshooting, and post-event activities, even when conducting a biohackathon in online format.
The Code of Conduct of the Concordia Montreal 2020 ¡GEM team gave us some tips to improve the organization of the team and the quality of communication between members. The members of our team kept in touch with each other and coordinated their actions all the time, as well as monitored visits and assignments distributed among the members.