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May 30, 2020

iGEM 2020

The iGEM 2020 program was launched to stimulate iGEMers to solve local and global problems that address the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by pushing the boundaries of SynBio. The iGEM 2020 program aims to foster efficient collaboration across iGEM teams and enhance the accessibility to the skills and resources needed to have an impact on the world.

How to Participate

All 2020 iGEMers are welcome to sign up on JOGL and join the iGEM 2020 program. It is important to note that iGEM teams must indicate that their project is addressing one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to qualify to participate in the program's challenges.

Anyone else affiliated with iGEM or with an iGEM team, such as iGEM alumni, PIs, instructors, etc. can join JOGL and list the skills and resources that they can contribute to different projects.

To participate:

For more information about the onboarding process, please visit our onboarding guide and watch this video:

The iGEM X JOGL Mission

The iGEM Foundation is dedicated to the advancement of synthetic biology and believes in:

the development of an open community and collaboration  

The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) is a flagship program of the iGEM Foundation that began in January 2003 and has grown into the premiere Synthetic Biology competition with 353 teams and over 6,500 participants in 2019

Map of countries that have participated in iGEM since 2003 [1].

The iGEM competition has become the birthplace of innovation that pushes the boundary for excellence in open science by encouraging students to address local and global problems with the help of synthetic biology. It has helped flourish a community of international trailblazers from over 45 countries around the world. This global network of iGEMers and After iGEMers are leading the field, taking what they learned in the competition and expanding it to continue to build a better world.

Recently, iGEM has begun a gradual shift into creating more impact by addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which provide a global blueprint for dignity, peace, and prosperity of the people and the planet, now and in the future [2] by creating an SDG track. 

The iGEM values tie well into the JOGL mission that believes in mobilising an open community to focus on humanity’s most urgent problem. The platform presents an opportunity to develop projects that address the SDGs through a collaborative approach. This program is one of the first initiatives taken by iGEM Foundation to be more intentional and transparent about addressing the SDGs through responsible innovation and collaborative task solving. 

The iGEM 2020 program on JOGL has four challenges, each addressing specific categories of the SDGs: 

  1. Fundamental Needs - Goals 2, 3 and 6, 
  2. Socio-Economic Needs - Goals, 1, 4, 5, 8, 10, 16 and 17, 
  3. The Environment - Goals, 13, 14 and 15 and 
  4. Industrial Needs - Goals 7, 9 and 12. 

These challenges will host iGEM projects addressing similar SDGs under a single umbrella to facilitate collaboration. We understand that there is a possibility that teams address multiple SDGs with their project, in that case, you can identify the core SDG that you’re addressing and list your project under that particular challenge while working across the boundaries.


  • To foster efficient and transparent collaboration across and within iGEM teams and enhance collective intelligence to address the same goals. 
  • To provide iGEM teams accessibility to skills and resources that they lack within their teams. 
  • To contribute to and develop solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Program Timeline

After the 2020 iGEM season:

  • Teams can continue working on their projects on the JOGL platform and benefit from After iGEM opportunities. 
  • Teams that want to discontinue working, their projects will stay listed on the platform, it will not be deleted until the Project leader decides to do so. 
  • A new program for 2021 iGEMers will be launched.


[1]"About", International Genetically Engineered Machine. [Online]. Available: https://igem.org/About. [Accessed: 29- May- 2020].

[2] ]United Nations, "The Sustainable Development Goals 2019", United Nations Publications, New York, 2019.

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