Team:Paris Bettencourt/HumanPractice/collaborationMap


Team IGEM Paris 2011

Collaboration Map

Nanotubes are a new way of communication between bacteria but it also highlights the importance of collaboration between bacteria in order to survive (antibiotic cross resistance for example). Our question is: do the iGEM teams make (nano)tubes between each other in order to succeed in this competition? Indeed, building collaborative projects, sharing biobricks, strains or protocols could give a selective advantage to the teams that collaborate. Nanotubes can create random relationships that can be of a long or short duration... Just the way it happens with people! Indeed, teams can exchange imformation and knowledge by collaborating, sometimes at an international level. Collaboration between teams can be a long-term relationship (like the one between Paris Bettencourt and PKU), or shorter flings as we will see.


  1. Extract data from wikis (collaborations, medals, prizes, geographic location)

  2. Represent the collaboration between teams as a network

  3. Relate success in the competition to collaborations and other parameters

This customizable tool allows us to have very good vizualisations of the collaborating network of iGEM and its evolution through time. The main asset is that all the parameters can be freely chosen and we invite you to give it a try, you can really find out surprising facts about iGEM that way.

Collaboration map per year using Touchgraph

This map represent the collaboration between teams between 2009 and 2011. All these data were directly obtained from the wikis. It shows us that the most collaborative teams are the newly formed ones.


Level of collaboration

The following graphs offer us three different options:
  • The first one shows teams collapsed by level of collaboration for each region: the first level is no collaboration, the second is collaboration only with teams of the same region, and the third is collaboration between regions.
  • The second graph shows the distribution of collaborating teams by country: each teams of the same country have the same color
  • The third one shows the ratio of collaboration per region: all the teams of each region have the same color

For example on this map we can see that countries with a lot of teams have just a little parts of them which are collaborating (look at, China and US)

An example: Japan vs USA collaborations over time

We were appalled by the difference between Japanese and US levels of connectivity. Indeed, we observed that throughout the years Japanese teams have constantly collaborated between each other. As a polar opposite, very few US teams connected to each other. Japan and China has the "meet ups" where all the teams in the country meet to share ideas and present their project to other teams. This is contributing to the greater of links between teams in this region which creates a hub (highly linked) in the entire iGEM community.

Preliminary conclusions

As years pass, there are two trends: the first is the increase in the number of teams, the second is that they get more and more inter-connected. Unsurprisingly, we can assess qualtitatively that the most successful teams are the connected ones. Indeeed, the one that cumulate gold medals, prizes etc. are the ones that also made an effort in the way of collaborating. But we cannot formally recognize that connecting to other teams is a key to sucess, for instance the MIT in 2010 won "Best Manufacturing Project" award but were not collaborating. All we can say, based on our experience, is that the more you exchange, the further your ideas and projects can advance.

TouchGraph simple manual for collaboration graphes

You can found here the database used : Data file and project file

All the graphs used on this page are extracted from TouchGraph representation

To use these data, you can download TouchGraph and install it.

Next, load the project file and the Data file.

In the TouchGraph menu, choose settings-> filter to change the year, or for adding more filter.

All the parameters of the graph can be edited with the Settings-> show Dialog menu

More information about TouchGraph can be find there : TouchGraph Manual