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Sheffield Award Gold Medal in iGEM Competition

November 21, 2014

The international genetically engineered machine (iGEM) competition celebrated its tenth anniversary in Boston, MA this year with 246 teams participating in the overall event. The competition involves student teams doing a ten-week summer project before submitting a wiki with all their work. At the Giant Jamboree, from 31st October to 3rd November 2014, teams gave talks on their research and present posters of their key findings. The University of Sheffield was awarded a gold medal for their collaborations and contributions to the competition’s DNA registry.

P1030242 (1)Five PhD students from Sheffield, with the help of two supervisors, took the initiative to recruit and train eight undergraduates in early 2014. They are Liz Court, Celso Gomes, Charlotte Green and Andrew Landels, all part of the Synthetic Biology for Human Health network based at Sheffield, and Robert Meckin (White Rose DTC STS pathway, Sheffield). An important aspect of the competition is for teams to undertake “policy and practices” work which includes sociological, educational and regulatory approaches to safety and the implications of scientific research. This year, the team followed up Sheffield 2010 iGEM team’s exploration of the knowledge and problems that emerge when “standarisation” is applied to social research.

More generally, iGEM is of increasing interest to scholars studying science and technology because of specific ways science is ordered, conducted and presented throughout the event and features in many STS articles on Synthetic biology (e.g. Balmer & Bulpin 2013; Molyneux-Hodgson & Meyer 2009; Cockerton 2011; Douglas & Stemerding 2013).

The Sheffield PhD advisory team is immensely grateful for all the generous contributions from departmental and central sources. For more information on the team project, see their wiki here: http://2014.igem.org/Team:Sheffield or contact Robert Meckin (r.meckin@sheffield.ac.uk).


Balmer, A.S. & Bulpin, K.J., 2013. Left to their own devices: Post-ELSI, ethical equipment and the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition. BioSocieties. Available at: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/doifinder/10.1057/biosoc.2013.13 [Accessed July 3, 2013].

Cockerton, C., 2011. Cockerton_Going_synthetic.pdf. Available at: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/637/1/Cockerton_Going_synthetic.pdf [Accessed October 18, 2013].

Douglas, C.M.W. & Stemerding, D., 2013. Special issue editorial: synthetic biology, global health, and its global governance. Systems and Synthetic Biology, 7(3), pp.63–66. Available at: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11693-013-9120-8 [Accessed August 14, 2013].

Molyneux-Hodgson, S. & Meyer, M., 2009. Tales of Emergence—Synthetic Biology as a Scientific Community in the Making. BioSocieties, 4(2-3), pp.129–145. Available at: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/doifinder/10.1017/S1745855209990019 [Accessed July 3, 2013].