Revision as of 22:47, 25 September 2012 by BostjanP (Talk | contribs)


Results from our poll and also the results of the Eurobarometer special surveys conducted by the European Commission of biotechnology regrettably show that synthetic biology is to a large degree unknown in Slovenia as well as in Europe. We believe that the best way to promote synthetic biology is through stories of success and applications, which could help solve some pressing human problems that are important for each individual, such as medical problems.

In order to inspire the coming generation and ensure an enthusiastic population of young researchers from the field of synthetic biology and scientific research in general we should share our enthusiasm and visions for the future with younger generations such as high school students.

In previous years our iGEM projects were extensively reported in the media and in fact many of this year's team members were familiar with projects from previous years. Many of the iGEM team members of the past years visited their former high schools and presented their iGEM projects. That is one of the ways to incite the excitement for synthetic biology in promising young individuals. Involvement of young people in research and interaction with iGEM team members, both students and advisers, would be an even more ideal way to introduce them to this field. One problem is that some schools are remote from the laboratories where synthetic biology research takes place. Despite the emergence of Do it yourself biology (DIY biology) we feel that particularly at the high school level experimental research should take place in laboratories that have all the necessary equipment, well trained advisers and adhere to the appropriate safety measures.

Therefore with the help of our advisers and lab members that come from all over the country, we established connections with 12 high schools throughout Slovenia, taking care to also includ schools from less developed regions (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Locations of high schools in Slovenia included into the program of promoting synthetic biology and involving high school students in research.

We made a plan for the elaborate activities that would include (Figure 2):

  • Presentations of iGEM projects at schools by team members and advisers.
  • Organizations of two-day workshops on synthetic biology, covering the principles, applications and social aspects of synthetic biology.
  • Organization of field trips of high school students to the laboratory at the National Institute of Chemistry in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
  • Organization of round tables on medical applications of synthetic biology and ethics.
  • Organization of a summer research camp for synthetic biology in 2013.
  • Meeting with school-teachers to plan the introduction of the contents of synthetic biology into the curriculum for interested high school students.