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Why host a Nordic iGEM Conference?

When starting our new team this year, we discovered that there were no meetups to which we were invited. Since our team is very international, we were eager to have an opportunity to meet other igem teams. In collaboration with the Uppsala iGEM team, we decided that we would organize a Nordic iGEM Conference (NiC). We wanted NiC to be an annual event that would be hosted by a different team every year. To make the conference affordable for everyone we planned the sleeping arrangements and food for all attendees.

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We were happy to welcome 60 students from eight out of ten Nordic iGEM teams. Teams present at the Nordic iGEM Conference were Oslo, SDU Danmark, Aalto Helsinki, Linkoping, Copenhagen, Gothenbug as well as Uppsala and us, Stockholm. We also had the pleasure to have Randy Rettberg, presedent of the iGEM foundation, in our company for the conference.

The aim of the conference was to get to know other iGEM enthusiasts and discuss our projects. One of the highlights in this year’s NiC was the competition in the Nordic iGEM Jamboree. This small Jamboree was a fun test run for all Nordic iGEM to prepare for the Giant Jamboree in September. This was a preparation for each attending team to practice their presentation skills in a competition setting. The judging was thus performed according to iGEM Giant Jamboree Standards.

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The aim of NiC was also to be able to have some time to meet other devoted iGEM participants, share our interests and have some fun together. On the first day, we organized a barbecue so we could meet the other students in a relaxed environment. On the second night, we held a traditional Swedish student dinner, with singing. On the last day, we also offered the teams a guided tour of the city of Uppsala.

Workshop sessions

Later in the day, some workshops were organized. Participants got the opportunity to choose to attend two workshops from a list of five. The workshops were the following:

Awesome solutions for the lab:

Is there a technical problem you have solved that might benefit others? If you plan to attend this workshop this might be good to discuss with you team and think about this question before the conference.

The future of iGEM technology:

What new or future technologies could be the future of iGEM? The sky's the limit, so anything from current technology that is not yet available to iGEM labs, to technology that is only in your imagination.

Unsolved ethics: Is your project suitable for supervillains?

Are there ethical considerations that the teams have missed? Let’s help each other gain new insights into our projects and prepare ourselves for questions that might come up in Boston in September.

Funding the fun: The road to Boston

How much money do you need to raise? Do companies sponsor you with materials and equipment? What are your sponsors getting out of sponsoring you? How do you contact companies and how persistent are you?

After iGEM: Unexpected applications

How would you make the projects available to the community? Can you think of aspects of the other projects that might have applications that the teams have not yet considered?

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