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Whether you aspire to become an entrepreneur, a philosopher, or an expert on communication etc., Synthetic Biology will need your skills and help stimulate your growth.

A team will be composed each year and will engage the most creative, dedicated and driven students from all faculties of SDU. This team will face the task of designing, developing and creating a solution to a real-world problem. The team will use state of the art technology to push the limits for what people think is possible, so whether they will generate super bacteria through cloning, fuel a car with yeast or make human cells that fight cancer, cool science is guaranteed. A criterium for the project is respect for the Sustainable Development Goals.

As the project is intricate and requires a broad variety of skills, bringing people from various backgrounds together will be essential in making a successful team and project. Some of the roles that will need to be filled are listed below. It is possible to fit in more than one role or have something completely unique to contribute. In either case we can’t wait to hear what you can contribute to the team!

What is the point in curing cancer if nobody knows you have done it?

Communicating the project to the relevant audience is essential and the communicators will be responsible for making this happen. Generating media attention, teaching high school students, presenting for the general public, presenting for experts in relevant fields, getting in touch with the people who will need to implement the solution. Moreover, communication also entails producing presentation materials in the form of videos, posters, folders, teaching material, books etc. These things and many more are examples of external communication that will be part of the project.

You will get experience in conveying information at various levels, generating the channels to Danish and international media and branding. For the project to have a clear concise output, we are looking for communicators that are skilled in either writing or presenting and have an interest in interacting with media and the general public.

No project can exist outside of the context of its time and place, and the human practitioners have the tools to analyse, understand and fit this project to the contemporary world.

A recurring issue in scientific advances is the fact that most people are unaware of – and uninterested in – the change science is driving. To avoid this pitfall, you will have to reflect on past, present and future and tailor the project to succeed in the world today. You will become an expert in demonstrating the relationship between disciplines, making moral considerations and project management.

The human practitioners should be critical thinkers, be able to see the project from a narrative and historical perspective and be interested in ethical considerations.

A large part of the programme is to use synthetic biology to solve a problem and generate data to prove that the system works in the real world.

The people interested in doing the laboratory work will spend a lot of time in the wet lab, performing genetic engineering and characterising your biological system. You will get experience with various scientific techniques, carrying out research and communicating science on various levels.

The people on this part of the project will need a strong interest in molecular biology and eagerness to perform bench top work.

Modelling is an increasingly powerful tool in science as it allows us to predict how a system will perform in conditions we cannot test.

As the project is restricted to less than a year, modelling is an essential tool of the Synthetic Biology talent programme. Furthermore, the team will have to build their very own website to showcase the many things the team will have accomplished by the end of the project.

People in this category can expect to gain experience in applying their mathematical or coding expertise in real-life scenarios. This means picking up new skills and collaborating across scientific fields. For particularly gifted coders, there is also the possibility to develop new bioinformatics tools.

For this category we are looking for people with a strong interest in graphic design, web design, coding, mathematical modelling, or data processing in general.

In order to make the project a success, the product must be applicable in the real world. Designing a useful product requires planning and considerations already in deciding what problem you will solve.

Continuous investigation of the requirements for the final product and actively integrating these features into the project will be a key role of the product designers. Furthermore, many projects will have commercial potential and you will be the driving entrepreneurial force on the team.

The people on this part of the project will need to have an innovative approach, an interest in product development, and a go-getter attitude.

For a successful project, Synthetic Biology 2021 will need driven and inspired students who dare turn their ideas into reality.

The visionaries will steer the many aspects of the project and help focus the efforts of the rest of the team. You will get experience with translating the knowledge they have from their respective field of study into tangible actions, internal communication, and overall project management.

The people on this part of the project will need a strong drive, passion for their field of study, and people skills.

Practical information

The talent programme will begin in February 2021 and continue until November 2021 with mandatory regular personal attendance. The workload will be greatest over the summer and in the autumn semester.

There will be 20-25 participants, all of which will work together on the same project as a team. Travelling will be a part of the project, as the team will need to attend meet-ups, present your work and finish the project in Paris, but all travel expenses associated with the talent programme will be covered by the University.

As a participant in the Synthetic Biology talent programme you will be awarded a diploma indicating that you participated in the iGEM competition. Additionally, you will graduate with honours, as long as you complete your degree programme within the standard time limit.


As part of the Synthetic Biology talent programme, you will participate in the international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition.

That means competing with more than 350 teams from universities all over the world, attending meet-ups, collaborating with other teams, presenting for other teams, and presenting your final project at the Giant Jamboree 2021 in Paris, France.

This is the unofficial World Championship in Synthetic Biology!

Why should you apply?

The Synthetic Biology talent programme will give you a glimpse of the kind of project work you could encounter after you are done with your studies. The experience you will get in project management, working with people outside of your field, and discovering your natural role in project work will benefit you long after you have graduated from the university.

Participants will get a network of ambitious and capable students from all over the world and undergo enormous personal growth. You will be pushed to develop your skills, both those that are specific to your role on the project and general skills that will be helpful regardless of your field of study, such as time management, critical thinking and conducting meetings.

Lastly, being part of the project is a fun experience and over the next 8 months you will create incredibly strong bonds with your teammates.

The application deadline for the 2021 Synthetic Biology programme is 13 Februar 2021 at 23:59.

The first trip is 26-28 February 2021 to Svanninge Bjerge.

Contact information

Main supervisor
Associate Professor Mikkel Girke Jørgensen

PhD Fellow Joel Mario Vej-Nielsen

PhD Fellow Jens Sivkær Pettersen

Previous iGEM teams from SDU

Prostatus - Fast, Reliable, Intuitive, Easy, Non-invasive Diagnosis for malignant prostate cancer

Achievements: Gold medal, Best hardware, Best Wiki and Runner up Best Diagnostics Project, Best Education, Best Integrated Human Practices

Go to the team wiki

SDU's iGEM team 2019

Conjugaid – A system that spreads within bacteria on its own and destroys antibiotic resistance

Achievements: Gold medal

Go to the team wiki

PowerLeaf – Using bacteria as a novel and green solution to store solar energy

Achievements: Gold medal and runner-up for best in track

Go to the team wiki

Bacto-Aid – A biodegradable and antimicrobial bandaid that stimulates wound healing

Achievements: Gold medal, best wiki and runner-up for best presentation, best poster, and best education & public engagement.

Go to the team wiki

PAST – Fast and cheap production of alternative antibodies in genetically engineered bacteria

Achievements: Gold medal and runner-up for best in track

Go to the team wiki

Edible Coli – Lemon flavoured edible bacteria engineered to be extremely nutritional

Achievements: Gold medal and best wiki

Go to the team wiki

Bacteriorganic Rubber - Production of natural rubber in genetically engineered bacteria

Achievements: Gold medal, best wiki and special prize for best improved BioBrick

Go to the team wiki


Sucrose Limitation and Inulin Metabolism – Genetically engineered probiotics to combat obesity

Achievements: Bronze medal

Go to the team wiki

Flow-E – A biological pump that generates microflow consisting of genetically engineered bacteria

Achievements: Gold medal and special prize for ethical approach

Go to the team wiki

Bacto-Bandage – A bacteria-containing bandage that prevents S. aureus biofilm formation in wounds

Achievements: Bronze medal

Go to the team wiki

Last Updated 29.09.2021