Winners Announced for iGEM's 2021 Premier Synthetic Biology Innovation Competition

Students bring home grand prize and nominations to China, France, Germany, Netherlands and Singapore
By: iGEM Foundation
 
BOSTON - Nov. 17, 2021 - PRLog -- iGEM, the pioneering organization of synthetic biology, announced the winners of its annual international student competition at the iGEM 2021 Giant Jamboree. The Giant Jamboree is the culminating event of iGEM's annual synthetic biology innovation competition for collegiate and high school students.

Each year, thousands of participants from all around the world design, build, and test biological systems to solve local problems that help tackle global challenges – from climate change and environmental degradation to sustainable agriculture, human health, and more. As part of the competition, participants explore the ethical, legal, social, economic, safety and security implications of their work, which is crucial for building safe and responsible projects that serve the public interest. More than 60,000 people have participated in iGEM since it began in 2003.

"The intention of iGEM was always to make an industry of synthetic biology – to enable a revolution in becoming good at materials. We're only 20 years into this revolution, but some students will turn their iGEM projects into their future work and make their dreams become a reality. They will see this revolution become really big over the course of their careers." – Randy Rettberg, President of iGEM Foundation and iGEM Europe.

This year, 350 teams of student scientists and engineers from 46 countries and regions worked creatively and tirelessly to push the frontiers of synthetic biology – with or without access to a laboratory. Teams presented their accomplishments to the community and a team of over 300 judges on a new platform built to feature live judging sessions, team presentation and promotion videos, and a livestream of commentary, workshops, interviews, and more. The event is archived and accessible at https://jamboree.igem.org.

The accomplishments of the iGEM 2021 teams were amazing indeed – 169 Gold, 101 Silver, and 50 Bronze medals were awarded. View results for iGEM 2021 at https://jamboree.igem.org/results. Nominees and winners of the grand prize were:

Undergraduate:
  • Grand Prize: Toulouse_INSA-UPS (https://2021.igem.org/Team:Toulouse_INSA-UPS)  (France) for engineering Elixio, for sustainable production of the violet fragrance using atmospheric carbon dioxide.
  • 1st Runner-Up: NUS_Singapore (https://2021.igem.org/Team:NUS_Singapore) (Singapore) for creating PRYSM, a bioreactor to promote food production through on-site production of pesticides.
  • 2nd Runner-Up: ShanghaiTech_China (https://2021.igem.org/Team:ShanghaiTech_China) (China) for developing MIBOM, a flexible osteogenic glue to aid in treatment and healing of comminuted fractures.

Overgraduate:
  • Grand Prize: Marburg (https://2021.igem.org/Team:Marburg) (Germany) for developing a cell-free system to accelerate plant genetic engineering and tackle climate change.
  • 1st Runner-Up: TUDelft (https://2021.igem.org/Team:TUDelft) (Netherlands) for creating an accessible, rapid diagnostic test for vitamin deficiencies to combat hidden hunger.

High School:
  • Grand Prize: LINKS_China (https://2021.igem.org/Team:LINKS_China) (China) for engineering a humane, environmentally-friendly leather substitute from kombucha, spider-silk and natural dyes.
  • Runner-up: SZ_SHD (https://2021.igem.org/Team:SZ_SHD) (China) for designing a hair removal system to safely degrade keratin and alleviate the environmental hazards of keratin waste disposal.

About iGEM

iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that pioneered the synthetic biology industry and continues to advance the field through education, competition and industry collaboration. iGEM's annual student competition is the largest synthetic biology innovation program and a launchpad for the industry's most successful leaders and companies. iGEM will feature two new competition leagues in Latin America and India in 2022, designed to expand the role of synthetic biology in these emerging bioeconomies. All programs will convene at the Giant Jamboree in Paris, France in 2022. For more information, visit https://www.igem.org.
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