Following years of discussion, we are going to reorganize iGEM in 2011.

  • First, all iGEM teams will participate in Regional Jamborees in their region. The winning teams will advance to the World Championship Jamboree at MIT. This will start with 3 regions:
    • Asia
    • Americas
    • Europe
  • Second, we will establish a Regional Council and a Judging Committee in each region. Representatives from those committees, and others, will form the Council of Regions and the worldwide Judging Committee.
  • Third, we will still be one iGEM program.

We are excited by this change. It should control the costs of attending the iGEM Jamborees and open new opportunities for participation in the running of iGEM.

It is critical that we still have a single iGEM program even while we are making the operation of the program more distributed. The requirement to participate in iGEM will remain consistent across all of the regions. The teams will still register with iGEM Headquarters, not the regions. The evaluation criterion for awards in the regions will be the same across the regions and at the World Championship Jamboree. Naturally, the regional judging committees will bring new perspectives and will see regional needs that are not now apparent. They will have a voice in the judging criterion through participation with the world Judging Committee.

These changes have become necessary as the number of teams in iGEM has continued to increase. We do not wish to limit the number of teams or dramatically increase the costs of the Jamboree. See iGEM Growth for a projection of iGEM growth over the next five years. Larger jamborees are disproportionately expensive per person. The additional costs come in many forms. For example, more teams leads to a longer event. This leads to more meals per person. Also, larger events must be taken more seriously. For example, larger classrooms are managed by professional Audio-Visual staff. As another example, large events require more on-site Campus Police. The savings from smaller Regional Jamborees will be even more significant in later years.

For 2011, each Regional Jamboree will be about 1/3 the size of the whole. We will restructure the registration and attendance fees to reflect the needs of the new structure.

The second major change is the creation of regional committees. This will offer more opportunities to participate in the running of iGEM. It will also rebalance the operation of iGEM. The participants in iGEM come from all over the world, but iGEM Headquarters stays at MIT. Through the Council of Regions and the new judging committees, everyone will have more opportunity to make iGEM better.

We know that these changes will have costs as well and that they will probably not be smooth in 2011, but they will make iGEM better in years to come.

If you have questions or comments, please contact iGEM Headquarters.