iGEM 2019 funding call now open

‌‌Funding has been awarded from BBSRC, EPSRC & The Wellcome Trust for UK wide iGEM teams.

The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition is a worldwide synthetic biology competition (see www.igem.org) that is primarily aimed at undergraduate university students. Teams are usually highly multi-disciplinary, covering wet (e.g. cloning, protein expression) and dry lab (e.g. mathematical modelling) approaches. ‘Human practices’ are a key part of iGEM, with students expected to participate in outreach events. Students present their project both orally and in the form of a poster at a Giant Jamboree.

We are pleased to once again offer a limited number of awards to fund UK University iGEM teams supported by grants from BBSRC, EPSRC and The Wellcome Trust.

For successful teams, 50% of the stipends, for up to equivalents of 100 student weeks will be provided together with a contribution towards consumable costs. The deadline for this scheme is 31st January.

Some changes have been introduced this year:

  • An important change for the coming year is that we are happy to consider flexibility in the appointments. we will offer the equivalent of ten, 10-week 50% stipends and that teams can then decide for themselves how they will distribute this (perhaps 8 students for 12-weeks, or 12 students for 8 weeks etc.). However, this should be discussed with the iGEM application coordinating team during the application process. We must be reassured that there is a sensible rationale for the model adopted, and that there is a suitable educational experience to be had for each member of the team. A minimum contribution of 5 weeks for each student is required.
  • Consumable support will be provided at level reflecting the available funding; applicants will be asked explicitly to explain their strategy for raising additional funding.
  • The time scale for application/assessment will be changed to allow teams to take advantage of the ‘early-bird’ iGEM Jamboree registration rates. The deadline for Applications will therefore be Jan 31st 2019.

Preparing the application (Sponsor/Institution):

The applicant (sponsor/PI) will act as one of the project supervisors and should be PhD qualified or hold a senior research or academic position. The students must be registered for their degree at an institution in the UK. Students should have completed a minimum of one year of study on the programme, but not have started their final year at the time they take up the funding.

  • Projects may start at any time between 1st April and 15th July.
  • The application should include clear evidence of how the project will have significant input from the students.
  • The contribution of the sponsor(s) to the team should be considered and explained.
  • You will be required to elaborate on the physical arrangements for supervising the team. Where will the team be located? Will all of the team be in the same physical location? How will the ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ parts of the project be integrated? How often will the students meet with the sponsor and other advisors?

iGEM Application Form 

Further enquiries:


Some comments from past teams:

“This summer project has been the best summer I have had. iGEM has improved all of my laboratory and scientific skills and I feel like a much more competent scientist now. It requires a complete range of skills so everyone can improve all of those aspects, with specific emphasis on communication of the science to broad ranges of people. The iGEM project has also improved my confidence as well as my interpersonal skills, which will benefit me in both my future academic career as well as in my social life. I could not recommend the project enough to anyone who wishes to try it; it is hard and it is scientifically challenging, but it is most definitely worth it!”

“iGEM is hard work. Probably the hardest work I’ve done a student – but so rewarding to get a Gold Medal at the jamboree. I feel like a real scientist at last.”

“Synthetic Biology is the future. Well, it’s now, but it’s also the future! This summer has opened my eyes to new possibilities – I’m switching my degree route from forensics to something else!”

“Looking back, I feel really lucky to be part of the Dundee iGEM team. It’s something that I will remember forever.”

"The project is an amazing opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and skills into a real research environment. Not only that but everyone gets to contribute to a relevant aspect of today's industry and real-­‐world problems. To have my team go against world-­‐leading universities and come on top in our designated track really puts things in perspective for everyone -­‐ students, supervisors and our University as well."

“iGEM has given me an amazing opportunity  to make use of all the knowledge and skills that the University of Dundee has equipped me with over the last years to actually help people. This was not just a science project for us; it was a cause. We have all put so much effort and especially love into the project and it was all worth it.”

“iGEM allowed me to travel all over the world, and develop my lab skills as well as public speaking, which has made a huge difference to my self‐confidence. However, iGEM hasn't just given me skills for the future, it's changed my life. Working with patients and health professionals in the CF clinic made me realise I saw myself in medicine, and as a result I have applied for medicine this coming year. I am extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity and would highly recommend it to future students.”

“Becoming a member of Imperial iGEM this summer contributed extensively to both my professional and personal paths. Implementing an idea that could make a difference and choosing a project that would come together at the end became our main drives over the summer. We devoted long hours, large doses of perseverance and hard work to live up to these two objectives. We learned how to design project ideas and evaluate their feasibility, plan experiments ahead, manage the laboratory and materials, and understood that science does not always bring positive results. However, keeping our goals always in mind, we also learned to find alternatives to the limitations that we encountered along the way. This summer was a steep learning curve for all of us, but was always supported by the efforts of our mentors and advisors.” 


First published: 8 January 2019

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