iGEM Guide to the Future online

iGEM is an international competition for the genetically engineered machine (iGEM), a competition in synthetic biology. Every year almost 300 teams participate with inventions ranging from rapid diagnostics to bioremediation or energy production. All teams are composed of students, from high-school to post-graduate levels.

The iGEMer’s Guide to the Future is an interactive web-based tool that supports iGEM teams in their integrated human practices work and to do responsible research and innovation. It’s the result of a four-year collaboration with iGEM teams and supports them in making their innovation sensitive to their contexts. The Guide creates a space and a process to think about synthetic biology in its context. It contains a variety of tools and activities that aim to gather knowledge and integrate it into in their innovation process and design. This allows to underline not only what genetic engineering can deliver to improve our societies but also under what conditions these innovations can help.

The Rathenau Institute is actively involved in the debate on synthetic biology and has been monitoring national and international developments as of 2006. Expectations of synthetic biology are running high, but also raise ethical and intellectual property issues. In cooperation with universities and funders the Rathenau Institute supported iGEM teams as partner of SYNENERGENE. This European project – led by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) – researches how the concept of ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’ (RRI) can be integrated in synthetic biology. The Rathenau Institute acknowledges that RRI practices are (still) no part of the basic curriculum of future scientists. This project analysed their needs regarding RRI and created a practical, online Guide that will help them to work and think RRI in their future activities.

The iGEMer’s Guide to the Future will be available to all from May 17th 2017 on synenergene.eu and rathenau.nl.

Click on the image to open the guide:

Guide to the Future