The main focus of the Giant Jamboree are the students sharing and celebrating their work.
Teams aim to tackle global issues, raise science and engineering awareness, and help their local communities. Projects span a very broad range but iGEM has a place for everyone, with 15 different tracks in which students can focus their research.
You can find more information about each track and the teams participating in each one below or for more details you can visit: 2015.igem.org/Tracks
The Community Labs track is open to any organization, academic or otherwise, that would like to participate in iGEM. It is also the only track available to non-academic teams. These can include DIY Bio labs, hackerspaces, public institutions, and basically any organization interested in the design and engineering of biological machines.
The quality of the air, water, and land, both on Earth and other heavenly bodies, limits the happiness of humans and other creatures. Can biotechnology be used to help clean the air, provide fresh drinking water, restore or enhance soil quality, terraform a near-Earth asteroid, or protect, preserve, or enhance natural biological diversity?
New Application is an apt description for a track that doesn't have a common problem, or focus, tying all projects together. It is the novelty of ideas and approach in investigating a question that may never have previously been examined that qualifies a project for the New Application track.
In 2015, high school teams will participate as a track within the main competition. This is an exciting change for the high school members. They will not only compete against other high schools, but also experience the excitement of the Giant Jamboree.
A major economic driver for most countries is energy availability and use. The ability for a nation to produce it's own transportation fuel, irrespective to its available natural resources, will be a huge source of economic growth in the 21st century. Synthetic biology may have the answer to some, if not all of these pressing global issues.
Food and Nutrition
People need to eat. Planes, trains, and automobiles need to eat too. Can biotechnology be responsibly used to produce food or energy without causing widespread shortages of either, and without harming the environment that future generations will inherit?
The ribosome is a programmable nanoassembler embedded within a reproducing machine. Could we responsibly use biology to manufacture useful products, from the nanoscale (atoms) to the descale (buildings and bridges)? What can biology be programmed to manufacture?
Health and Medicine
iGEM teams have access to many great advanced techniques and have the potential to make significant progress towards developing new therapy and drug concepts. Unencumbered by conventional drug discovery paradigms, teams can decide if they want to engineer cancer detecting systems into E. coli using organisms instead of molecules.
Policy and Practices
Policy and Practices has been a part of iGEM for many years as a core element of iGEM activities within each team. This new track is for teams that wish to work exclusively in the policy and practices area of synthetic biology.
Precise measurements lie at the foundation of every scientific discipline, including synthetic biology. The limits of our knowledge are set by how well we can connect observations to reproducible quantities that give insight. Measurement is also an act of communication, allowing researchers to make meaningful comparisons between their observations.
Art and Design
This track is geared toward teams interested in bringing together a range of artistic elements and design methods into synthetic biology. Art and Design teams are encouraged to form collaborations between artists, designers, engineers, scientists, and social scientists.
While DNA sequencing and synthesis are advancing in capacity at a rate about five times faster than Moore's law, they are not the only technologies necessary to bring about this revolution. The Foundational Advance track allows teams to come up with novel solutions to technical problems surrounding core synthetic biology technologies.
Computational work and software development are a very important part of synthetic biology. The software track has been set up for computer scientists and developers to nurture their knowledge of biology, and for computational biologists, bioinformaticians and biologists to enhance their aptitude for building software.
Information Processing in iGEM covers a diverse range of projects.Teams enter this track if they are attempting projects such as building elements of a biological computer, creating a game using biology, or working on a signal processing challenges.
Synthetic biology requires great hardware. Every synthetic biology experiment utilizes a variety of hardware, from liquid handling systems to centrifuges to culture machines and microscopes. Teams in this new track will show their skills hacking mechanical, electrical, and optical systems that interface with living ones. Teams will be judged on how innovative their hardware systems are designed, fabricated, tested, and documented.