Ambassador Diary, Europe: Chapter 1

Jul 05, 2019

Europe is one of the most densely populated iGEM areas, with a significant number of teams per country. And as such, we are with two ambassadors, from two opposite sides of Europe; Niek (Netherlands) and Nemanja (Montenegro). Our goals are to increase awareness of iGEM in eastern Europe, and to involve policy-makers in iGEM & iGEMers in policy-making! Here’s a few events we visited recently:


Niek’s Experience:

1. Hello Tomorrow Summit- March 2019

Our year started off at Hello Tomorrow Global Summit, one of the largest deeptech entrepreneurial events in the world, organized by people who participated in iGEM themselves. Two days were filled with amazing pitches and a co-organized After-iGEM event where we met lots of past iGEMers from the Paris Area.


2. OECD - April 2019

Next up was an invite to talk about Synbio and iGEM at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Here I met 90 people from over 25 countries, and talked with them at length about the iGEM, synbio, biosafety and the power of science communication.


3. iGEM Meetup in The Hague - June 2019

The Dutch government coaches iGEM Teams every year in collaboration with the Rathenau institute, who you might know of the from the iGEMers guide to the future. This year however, they decided to open the event to all European teams. Over 120 students came to the old US embassy in The Hague to a day filled with workshops, presentations, serious games and a panel with iGEM alumni.



There are many meetups coming up, as well as a very interesting invitation to speak at the geneva disarmament platform!


Nemanja’s Experience:


4. The first SynBio Conference in Cyprus - March 2019

I started my iGEM season in Europe by attending the first ever Synthetic Biology event in Cyprus - organized by the 2018 European Ambassador - Thea Chrysostomou. She introduced SynBio and the iGEM competition to the cypriot students, who will participate in iGEM in 2020. It was also a great opportunity for 2018 iGEM Alumni from Greece, Spain, UK, and France to get together and present their own iGEM journeys.


5. Organizing the iGEM Spring Festival in Germany - May 2019

Next was an iGEM festival organized by me and the iGEM Team from Bonn. Scheduling the meetup at the beginning of the season, teams had a chance to meet each other early on and get feedback on their project ideas. More than 200 students (iGEMers and the public) attended, showcased their projects, and competed for awards. We also organized an After iGEM Reception for alumni in the area and had a discussion with representatives of the industry and academia.


6. World Cafe by German Association for SynBio - June 2019

During the festival in Bonn, I met with the head of the steering committee of GASB (German Association for SynBio) who is also an iGEM Alumni. I was invited to a stakeholder meeting concerning various topics in Synthetic Biology. There I met with industry and university representatives, and introduced iGEM to them. It was also a great chance to meet some iGEM Sponsors like IDT, Twist, and Promega. Next up on the GASB event list is the big German SynBio conference in September!


Coming up soon:
The summer is the iGEM Meetup season. I’m also preparing a plan for events in my Balkan region - to kick-off an interest for SynBio and iGEM!



Join upcoming European events:

  • German iGEM Meetup (Düsseldorf, Germany): 5-7 July 2019
  • Greek iGEM Meetup (Larissa, Greece): 12-14 July 2019 (Thea)
  • European iGEM Meetup (Paris, France): 25-27 July 2019
  • Summer School of Systems and Synthetic Biology (Pisa, Italy): 22-26 July 2019
  • Summer School of Science (Cetinje, Montenegro): 14-18 August 2019
  • EUSynBioS Symposium (Brno, Czech Republic): 30 Sep 1 Oct 2019

And more coming soon!

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