Team:Wageningen UR/miniSymposium


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Online video symposium

Making connection with close competitors in an early stage of the competition

iGEM Mini Symposium

When we started to create an iGEM team, we were eager to show our ideas to our friends and convincing others to join the unique experience that iGEM offers: creating an own idea, building a project around it and manage the project. And all these are with undergraduate students. After the project definition decision, we’ve got a request of another Dutch team (TU-Eindhoven) to help them starting up and to talk in general about projects. We were very interested in the idea, and we saw the potential value of such a meeting for getting in touch with the nearby competition to informally talk about the teams idea’s, goals, dreams and their expertise that they could offer in collaboration. A good moment where you can see how other teams like your idea, and are able to give some constructive advises on the ideas. In the end, iGEM is a competition, but collaboration is also a big part of iGEM.

The Wageningen_UR team therefore saw the need of organizing a small symposium for all the Dutch teams, in an early stage of the competition. Our idea was that looking at wiki pages and mail contact is not enough to bond to your fellow iGEM teams: a meet-up was missing in the current way iGEM teams approach their nearby “colleagues”. So we, with agreement of TU-Eindhoven, started the initiative to host a mini symposium for all the Dutch teams, to have a chance to get involved with each other. The idea was simple, we arranged a lecture room and everyone was offered 30 minutes to show their dreams and indicate where they might need some help of other teams. We included enough time to have small discussions about the projects, and organized a barbeque in an old laboratory to informally bond with the other teams and celebrate the ending of a useful day.


We were very pleased that every team was enthusiastic and every team was able to join for the full programme. Thanks to the WURtv, we were able to record every presentation and broadcast them on the internet for everyone who was interested but was not able to join. These movies are still available:

Presentations part 1 and Presentations part 2.

After the presentations we arranged a nice indoor barbeque (Dutch weather) in one of the old university buildings that is not used anymore. We could not have dreamed of a better surrounding to interact with our fellow iGEM teams: an old laboratory room. Every team stayed until the last opportunity to take a train back home, which is of course a great indication of how they have enjoyed the experience of that day.

One of the good things that was obtained from this day was that every team got a honest feedback about their project and everyone was motivated to help each other out to advise how to approach certain problems. More importantly, the day was a unique experience for everyone, and a real opportunity to test the presentation skills needed for the jamborees and when you approach investors. Because of the informal setup and the iGEM audience, it was a perfect first trial to give a talk about a project, and see how people react to your story.

Last, but certainly not least, the day was the base of a true bonding of the iGEM teams. On this result alone, we would recommend all the next iGEM teams to host such informal meetings in an early stage of the competition, to learn what your close competitors are up to and to get involved with them. After the evening, there was a big need for a national interaction and collaboration. Some of the initiatives that started after this event were:

  • A follow up meeting before the regional jamboree to show each other what we are willing to present on the jamboree and to practise organised by TU-Eindhoven
  • A better national-wide collaboration and sharing of information, with a national Facebook page to aid the communication
  • Due to our national effort, we were offered a stance at the Discovery Night Festival in Rotterdam, Eindhoven and Amsterdam, hosting a party with science and art for over 5000 visitors