Tracks in the iGEM competition allow teams to focus their project towards a specific subject area within synthetic biology and allow them to know who they will compete against for the track award. Traditionally iGEM teams have chosen to enter their projects into one of the following tracks:

If you browse through the track links to the left of this page, you can find a short description of each track with abstracts and links to winners from the 2011 - 2013 competitions.

This is the second year of our New Tracks program. Teams can compete in subject areas that traditionally were not recognized in iGEM or didn't have the opportunity to participate. The main difference between the regular and new tracks is medal criteria. New tracks will compete based on their own requirements.

Teams participating in the standard iGEM Tracks are not required to choose a track until later in the summer.

New Tracks

We are keeping seven new tracks in iGEM 2015. On top of our regular tracks such as Foundational Advance and Health and Medicine, we also have the new tracks listed below. Participation is open and we don't intend to limit the number of teams in each track.

Many of these tracks have featured in iGEM in the past. They are considered new tracks in 2015 to highlight that these teams will be evaluated based on different criteria than other teams. We are working on the evaluation requirements for teams and will post them as they become available later in the iGEM calendar.

Each of the new tracks is administered by a committee. Please see our Committees page for more information on the roles and responsibilities of each committee.

Changes to the new tracks in 2015

Entrepreneurship After running an experiment for three years, we are retiring the Entrepreneurship new track. The synthetic biology community has changed a lot in the last few years and is beginning to mature with regard to entrepreneurship and commercialization. There are an increasing number of synthetic biology incubators and accelerators that are well suited to commercialization. However, we are introducing an entrepreneurship award that all teams can compete for. Many teams have gone on to successfully build a business after iGEM and we would like to reward those thinking about this during the competition.

Microfluidics We introduced the microfluidics track in 2014 and had a few teams participate in the inaugural round. We learned that many teams have access to sophisticated foundries and that teams will innovate in synthetic biology given any available area. Having microfluidics as the only hardware area in iGEM was too narrow, so we are opening the hardware track and including microfluidics in this new track.

Hardware. Teams have built and presented hardware projects in iGEM for many years, but we have never had a track or award dedicated to rewarding work in this area. Because of this continued interest, we recognize that synthetic biology hardware projects have a place in iGEM so we are creating a track and a cross-competition to recognize this work.

High School. For the last few years, we have allowed high school teams to participate in their own Jamboree earlier in the year. With the introduction of the new tracks program in 2014, we now have a mechanism to allow high schoolers to come to the main competition and participate on the same stage as the collegiate teams. We now have requirements and high school teams are now eligible for medals.


Awards in iGEM in 2015 are taking on a new dimension. For example: while you will be able to compete in the Measurement track for the Measurement track award, there will also be a Measurement prize available across all tracks.

New Track teams have the same eligibility for awards as all other iGEM teams, pending confirmation from the judging committee. For example, this makes them eligible for (but not limited to) the Best Poster, Best Presentation, Best Wiki, Best New Part (Natural) awards as well as the Undergraduate and Overgraduate BioBrick Trophies.

There are several new prizes that all iGEM teams are eligible to win. These are:

  • Applied Design
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Education and Outreach
  • Integrated Human Practices
  • Measurement
  • Software

This allows us to reward teams who do excellent work in areas beyond their core track. If you make an excellent piece of software, for example, you will now be able to select your team for the software prize, even if you're not in the software track.


Teams who choose to enter these tracks will need to meet iGEM Requirements unless otherwise stated. Requirements specific to each new track are stated on the new track pagse, as well as on the iGEM 2015 Requirements page.


If you have any questions about these new awards please visit our corresponding wiki pages or contact HQ [at] iGEM [dot] ORG.

Be sure to check back soon for more details.