At iGEM, the students are the head scientists of the project which means that they can determine the direction of the team and the subject they will work on. They do of course have the opportunity to ask senior scientists for help and guidance along the way.
An iGEM year consists of three sections:
- Team formation, brainstorming, and project planning
- Lab work and data analysis
- Jamboree preparation.
In general, section 1 takes place from February until May, which is part-time. Section 2 takes place over the summer months from June until August and is a full-time period for all team members. The wrap-up section 3 takes place from September until October, which can be part- or full-time depending on your function. The iGEM year ends with a giant jamboree, where all teams from all over the world come together and present their work, at the end of October or the beginning of November.
The iGEM competition was organized for the first time in 2003 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology . It has grown over the years and is now the largest synthetic biology competition, with more than 360 teams participating from all over the world. These teams include high schools, undergraduates, and/or graduated students, each competing in separate competition categories of the iGEM competition. The competition gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and push the boundaries of synthetic biology by tackling everyday issues in the world.
Since 2012, Eindhoven University of Technology has participated in the iGEM competition. Every year, a new student team works together to design, build, test and measure a system using interchangeable biological parts and standard biology techniques. With support from the academic staff of the Institute of Complex Molecular Systems, the Eindhoven teams have accomplished interesting results and even won prizes for Best New Application and Best Innovation in Measurement.