Kick-off meeting with Delft
This is the first year that the two universities of Amsterdam have joined forces, and have sent a single team to iGEM competition. In previous years, teams from Amsterdam have not made it to the jamboree stage. This unfortunately means we cannot draw on past experiences in our efforts to build a successful project. Delft, on the other hand, has already sent several teams to the competition with impressive results. Therefore, they know what being in iGEM means. In order to help their new team, the team of Delft 2010 organized a crash course to teach their 2011 team all the tips and tricks needed to be a winning team. Since we did not have any previous teams who could do the same for us, we requested to be present during this day as well. On the 31st of March, we went to the TU in Delft were we got together with the their team. The day consisted of two different parts; During the morning we attended a presentation by a previous iGEM team and in the afternoon we talked with the Delft team of 2011 about both of our project ideas.
Nadine Bongaerts and Eva Brinkman, from TU Delft 2010 gave a presentation about their iGEM team. Delft 2010 had an astounding project, where they created a bacterium that was capable of dissimilating oil particles. They also spend quite some time and energy in their human outreach program. To be short, they were an incredible iGEM team. They took their time to talk to the two teams about how they organized their project and what they have done for their human outreach. During their summer they bumped into a couple of problems that every iGEM teams will collide with at some point during the contest. In order to get ahead of these problems they warned us againt some of these pitfalls and told us how to fix these problems. For example: They had some trouble working as a team when there were no people appointed to be responsible for certain tasks. We also talked about how they experienced the entire competition and what they learnt from it. After the presentation we had a clearer image of what being in iGEM actually means.
In the afternoon we got together with the teammembers and supervisors of both teams and we talked about our experiences so far. How did we start the brainstorming? Where did we find the sponsors to write our letter to? How does Delft arrange their labwork? Both teams come from different backgrounds and consist of very different students. By talking with each other the teams can come to ideas they would not have thought of by themselves, and this definitely happened this day. This discussion led to an interesting exchange of experiences and insights. We feel that both teams exploited the opportunity to learn from each other. The two teams definitely made progress and came up with good ideas on how to finish the different projects.
It was a very interesting and inspiring day.