Team:NRP-UEA-Norwich/Human Outreach


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=Human Practices=
=Human Practices=

Revision as of 13:28, 26 September 2012





Human Practices

The UEA NRP team really went up and beyond this year, caring out a wide selection of activity's to inform the public of both synthetic biology and iGEM, aiming to raise awareness of this branch of science. We used many methods of communication in order to cater for a range of audiences, including a radio show, newspaper articles, pubic events and talks as well as collaborating with all the other UK teams, in order to organize the UK team meet up and steam it live on the internet.

iGEM collaborations

The iGEM UK team meet up, hosted by the NRP-UEA team at Google campus London (Friday 17th August) The most open and publically accessible UK team meetup EVER

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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

Public engagement

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

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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.

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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. The day was a huge success.

Synthetic Biology activity sheets

File:Word Search of Synthetic Biology.pdf, File:Decode Disney.pdf, File:Questions comprehensive.pdf,File:Decode Music Artists and Films.pdf,File:Word Search of Synthetic Biology.pdf

Creation of fictious futurist company, Quanticare

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The team created Quanticare, a fictitious company set in the future that had formed as a result of the UEA NRP iGEM 2012 team. The fictitious company's latest development is to introduce a visual bio sensors in to the human body,in the form of a tattoo based health moniture, Cura. Not only did the development of the fictitious company allow the team to explore potential future applications of synthetic biology and bio sensors, but also via the creation of a film , fuel a range of ethical questions.The team used novel marketing techniques, such as sending a range of transferable tattoos, representing the product Cure, to the other UK teams. They did this aiming to raise interest in the NRP UEA iGEM project and through curiosity of finding out what the different tattoos symbolized attracting fellow iGEMers to look at our wiki and therefore develop an interest in our presentation and poster at the European jamboree.

The team collaborated with Artist Amy to create this fictitious Film

The team worked closely with their artist Amy in order to produce a futurist film, demonstrating one of the many possible future potentials of our project, as well as synthetic biology as a whole.Together Amy and the team explored a range of potential ways to grab the public's attention, as well as fuel ethical thoughts. They decided that inventing a fictitious future business (Quanticare) which had used the developments of the teams project as a stepping stone towards a futuristic personal health monitoring tattoo would be a very visual and appealing method of communication. The film was released at the teams public event held at the forum in Norwich, attracting lots of attention due to both the plot of the film, and its artistic touches. Watch the film for yourself.

Social Media

The NRPUEA iGEM team has been VERY active on a range of social media over the summer.Any one is welcome to follow the team on Facebook or twitter. The team keep everyone updated on what is going on, both in the lab and in our spare time. This has been a great method of connecting with the public, companies,researchers, as well as getting in touch with other iGEM teams. The NRPUEA iGEM team believe human out reach via social media is important since it allows the public to follow the teams achievements and lab results, as well as get to know the personality of the team members. please follow us on twitter @NRPiGEM or UEA iGEM 2012 page on Facebook.


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File:TweetReach nrpigem.pdf


Creating social media pages also allowed us to access information about who was checking our page out, showing interesting information, showing that social media techniques such as facebook attracted mostly 18-24 years olds interest, and that it attracted no attention from those above 65. Therefore the team though it was important to promote our project, not only through the internet, but also other techniques such as newspaper articles and radio shows.

The figure bellow hows the age ranges and gender of people who liked any posts from the NRP UEA iGEM team


Below is a list of the location that people liked the teams statuses from. This highlighted that the majority of followers were located in Norwich, however also many from a range of places over the world, therefore highlighting the importance of using such social media to reach these followers.

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As mentioned the NRP UEA iGEM team made facebook statuses and tweets very regularly and as the graph below shows, there was consistently a increase in action and interest for the NRPUEA iGEM team after.

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We championed the use of Google+, a new social network from Google. We encouraged the UK iGEM teams to utilise Google+ to help make the 2012 UK team meetup as open and accessible as possible.

Media appearances

STAR Radio

STAR 107.9 FM's Farming Show


Listen To Our Radio Show Appearence!

In early July the NRP UEA team travelled to Cambridge to appear on STAR Radio's "The Business Hub" and "The Farming Show". They 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.

The team 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 team featured on the university website a few times through the summer, as well as a brief article in the Eastern daily press newspaper.This was great, as allowed the locals of Norwich to become aware not only of the team and iGEM, but also introduce many to the scientific branch of synthetic biology.

Engagement with the wider scientific community

The team presented at the John Innes Centre Synthetic Biology conference

The john innes center (JIC) is a world leading center of plant research, the home of UEAs 2011 team, and is part of the Norwich research part. Researchers at the JIC recognized that synthetic biology was an important field and therefore hosted a synthetic biology confrere, with the aim of the day to enhance their reserches knowledge of what synthetic biology is, and projects in which synthetic biology is being used. when the NRP-UEA was invited to give a talk to the JIC researchers we were extremely excited, giving them an over view of what iGEM was, our project and how it developed over the summer, as well informing them about aspects of human practice the NRP- UEA team had carried out over the summer. the team took also showed them a clip of our futuristic applications film. The team enjoyed presenting their work and results, as well as using it as an opportunity to improve their presentation skills before the European jamboree. There seemed to be a real interest by their researchers in to our project, giving encouraging advice, with many asking further questions after the presentation. The researchers also seemed very interested to hear more about our human practices elements after the presentation, wanting to know what the public's opinion of the research carried out at Norwich research park was, as well as synthetic biology as a whole. File:JIC Synthetic Biology Workshop.pdf

SGM microbiology synthetic biology (September 3rd -5th)

The society of general microbiology held a 3 day synthetic biology conference at the University of Warwick. Three members of the UEA NRP iGEM team were lucky enough to go and enjoy talks on streptococcus, molecular motors, and the dynamics of the genome and designer microbes. The event also gave the team member the opportunity to meet other synthetic biology scientists as well as informing them of the current advances in the field and inspiring them with the future possibilities. The event also allowed the team members to present a poster and therefore engage with the scientific community, both informing them more about the iGEM competition and our project . The team believed it was important for the scientists in the synthetic biology world to have the opportunity to meet undergraduate iGEM members, allowing them to express the skills it has allowed them to develop and to encourage further interest in to lab groups forming teams, and funding iGEM projects.