Team:Bielefeld-Germany/Human Practices/Geniale science cafe


GENIALE Science Cafe on Synthetic Biology

Manuel presenting our biosensor
Matthias presenting iGEM and SB
Panel discussion

One of our goals is an objective science communication in the fields of biotechnology and especially synthetic biology. To improve and expand our outreach we had the opportunity to participate in the GENIALE. This is one of the biggest European science fairs with over 50,000 participants, funded by the European Union and the federal state of North Rhine Westphalia. The iGEM team Bielefeld took the opportunity to participate with an open lab course for all ages and an in depth science café in the evening.

The GENIALE is an amazing science festival for families in the last week of summer vacation. There are fascinating experiments, spectacular shows, amazing insights and lots of fun. For nine days the whole city is a campus with seven universities and colleges, museums, theaters as well as further institutions attending. This year 50,000 visitors experienced science in a unique way in 450 events at 30 places.

Following our open lab course in the afternoon we hosted a science café about synthetic biology, iGEM and our projects. The science café is an event organized by Bielefeld Marketing in a restaurant in downtown Bielefeld. In a comfortable setting we were able to give a presentation, followed by a moderated panel discussion with some team members and questions from the interested audience. Our goal was to show that we want to get in contact with the public, in particular present our project and get some feedback.

After an introduction by the chief of editorial of the local radio broadcast station "Radio Bielefeld" we began our talk with an explanation about iGEM, the advances of synthetic biology and described our project in detail. We tried to use analogies from everyday life to explain our topics. Further we put a special focus on biosafety and biosecurity to show that we are giving thoughts to what we are doing and that we are aware of possible safety or ethical consequences. After a break so that everybody could refill their drinks the moderated panel discussion started. Four members of the iGEM team Bielefeld faced the questions of the moderator and the audience. It was an interesting talk for both the audience and us. There were questions on synthetic biology, as well as in depth questions about our project or general questions about our motivation.

In the end there was room for some more personal talks so that more questions could be answered and feedback was given. People told us that they are quite impressed about our work, how dedicated we are and complimented on our public relations. For a lot of people it is unusual that scientists go out to the public to face concerns and seek the dialogue. Through this event we could raise more interest to iGEM and our project. Of special importance was that this event had a more local character and we could promote our work in our home city.

Jonas explaining our system
The audience