Start A Team/What Happens During iGEM


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Although it has a summer focus, iGEM is a year-round competition. Most teams informally begin in the first few months of the year. Teams spend this time recruiting student participants & faculty advisors, fundraising, and researching the principles of Synthetic Biology and brainstorming project ideas. The first deadline is team registration, which is May 1st. Teams must complete a roster on the iGEM website, submit a brief Team Proposal application, and pay a $1000 (US) team registration fee.

The team registration deadline marks the official beginning of the competition. A copy of all the standard biological parts contained in the Registry of Standard Biological Parts (almost all built during previous iGEMs) is shipped to all the teams. The timing of this roughly coincides with the end of most student's spring semester and the beginning of summer. Most teams now begin full time research and development of their project (although some teams are able to organize an iGEM class or independent study in the previous semester).

Teams spend the summer developing their project and documenting them on the iGEM wiki and the Registry. At the end of the summer, official team rosters and Jamboree fees are due. Note: the iGEM work cycle is not limited a 10-week window in the summer - teams may start working as early as they like and continue working up to the Jamboree deadline

The final deadline for submission of the team's project is in mid-October. To be eligible for presentation at the Jamboree, the team's project documentation on the iGEM wiki (1), part documentation in the registry (2), and the shipment of physical part DNA to the registry (3) must all be received no later than one week before the Jamboree. The Jamboree usually occurs at the beginning of November, at which teams share their work in the form of posters (4) and a 20 minute presentation (5). Judges award prizes in a variety of categories, including an overall Grand Prize, to teams based on their accomplishments as demonstrated by the five ways the teams share their project (1-5).

After the Jamboree, all the parts received are added to the Registry and presentation materials from all the teams are put online. Many teams submit their projects for publication in academic Journals, while others just relax before beginning again the next year.