Team:NRP-UEA-Norwich/Human Outreach


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Human Practices

As part of our human practices we have looked into getting the message about synthetic biology out to as many members of the public as possible in order to raise awareness of the branch of science. We have covered a wide range of age and experience groups as well as various different types of media, including radio shows and live events.

STAR Radio

STAR 107.9 FM's Farming Show


Listen To Our Radio Show Appearence!

In early July we travelled to Cambridge to appear on STAR Radio's "The Business Hub" and "The Farming Show". We were interviewed by Mark, one of the presenters, about synthetic biology, iGEM, and our project. The interview went really well as Pascoe and Khadija got across all the information that was needed in a clear and concise way, and Mark was extremely helpful in making sure all the salient points of the project were brought out.

We were able to give a brief description of what synthetic biology is before talking about the future applications of synthetic biology for medicine, agriculture and business. We were also able to mention our event at the Norwich Forum in late August in order to help promote it!

A big thanks goes out to all at STAR Radio 107.9 for their help with the project in setting up the interview and allowing us air time to discuss iGEM and synthetic biology. Please visit the link above to hear the radio show.

The iGEM UK team meet up, hosted by the NRP-UEA team at Google campus London (Friday 17th August)


The NRPUEA iGEM team organised and hosted the UK team meet up at Google campus in London. The NRPUEA iGEM team greeted the UK teams, provided refreshments and a lovely buffet lunch, as well as chairing the speeches and making sure the day ran smoothly. There was a great atmosphere at the meet up, and the event was a huge success. The day consisted of a number of guest speakers, including advice and tips for iGEM success from Tom Ellis (advisor of the 2009 winning iGEM project E.chromi) and an interactive talk on synthetic biology and science communication from the BBC science presenter, Nature editor and Guardian writer,Adam Rutherford. The UK iGEM teams presented a poster and a 15 minute presentation about their project. This gave the members of each team the chance to practice their presentation skills before the European team meet up, as well as a chance for others to ask questions and see what other project routes the other teams have taken. The event was also available live on the internet via Google hangout, to allow the public and those that were unable to attend to still watch the presentations. Despite there being a few technical difficulties with the quality of the image, figures have shown that over 600 people watched the event.

Click here for programme PDF

The The Future of Science event held at the forum, Norwich (Sunday 19th August)

The Forum is located at the heart of the city of Norwich, and hosts a wide range of free events and exhibits to be enjoyed by the whole community. The venue is packed with restaurants, cafes and shops, as well as being home to Norwich library and BBC East Anglia. The NRPUEA iGEM team were fortunate enough to hold an interactive day at the Forum, giving the public a chance to engage within the world of synthetic biology. Before the date of the event, the team increased awareness via a range of techniques, including posters, leaflets and newspaper and internet adverts, including the Forums website. This resulted with a large turnout at the event, including the local press. At the Future of Science event, the team presented a selection of informative posters, revealed their new film on a large screen, as well as showing examples of work carried out by the students during iGEM. For example, the public could view E.coli which had been transformed with GFP within a UV light box, as well as carrying out a counting colonies exercise. The NRPUEA team also created a range of synthetic biology educational material for the event, to inform the public of the concepts and terminology of synthetic biology. The different activities were designed to interest a selection of different ages. The educational resources include a range of quizzes and worksheets such as crosswords and matching exercises. For younger children we designed a colourful jigsaw plasmid (as seen in image). The idea of this activity was for the participants to choose jigsaw pieces that represented the genes that code for certain characteristics, such as green or red hair, and piece them together to form a complete plasmid. Once they had designed their plasmid they made a biscuit creature that corresponded to the plasmid they had created. The learning outcome of this activity was to give the children an understanding that a different selection of genes, results in different characteristics, and that editing the DNA can result in a change in the characteristics. The activity was very popular and most of the participants seemed to understand this concept, as well as having great fun. The event attracted a range of ages, as well as mixed levels of previous interest into synthetic biology. It also became clear that many members of the public knew very little about synthetic biology, and therefore were very interested in finding out more about the new branch of biology and the iGEM competition. The NRPUEA iGEM team also took the opportunity to talk to the public and listen to their opinions about the work the iGEM teams are carrying out, which demonstrated how mixed the view of the public were. This was again another great day, and a huge success.

Team interacting with the public at the event.jpg
Child making plasmid.jpg