Welcome to the 2017 Safety Hub!
Below you will learn about Safety as it pertains to the iGEM competition. We expect all team members and instructors to review this information carefully prior to starting your iGEM project.
For more about Safety & Security at iGEM visit us here.
General Safety Information
Dr. Vaughan Turekian, Science and Technology Advisor, US Department of State, addressed the audience at the 2016 Giant Jamboree
What is Safety?
In iGEM, we have clear expectations for teams when it comes to safety. Please read our What is Safety page for complete details about Safe Project Design, Safe Laboratory Work, and Safe Shipment Practices.
Responsibility and the Safety Committee
We expect everyone involved with iGEM to act responsibly in the lab. Please read our Responsibility and Safety Committee page for more information on how we define Responsibility and for information on the iGEM Safety Committee.
FBI, a proud sponsor of iGEM since 2009, hosted it's annual 'Safeguarding Science and the Future' workshop at the Giant Jamboree
As it is at the forefront of what is technologically possible, iGEM also comes across important policy issues on a continuing basis. In 2017 iGEM has clarified its positions on gene drives, antimicrobial resistance, use of animals, parts from risk group 4 organisms and deletions as modifications.
If you have any questions or problems about safety, please reach out to us, we're here to help you! Email safety AT igem DOT org at any time with any questions you might have! We are friendly and available, and we will do our best to answer your questions quickly. Any team member can ask a question, whether you are a student, a leader, or an advisor. You should not fear that your team will suffer consequences simply because you asked us a question.
General rules and advice for working in and outside the lab.
iGEM teams should use BL1 or BL2 organisms. Teams are not allowed to work with BL3 or BL4 organisms. For more information about Risk Groups, click here.
The White List is a list of allowed organisms that teams can use in iGEM, along with organisms that require teams to contact HQ. For the full list, please click here.
Do Not Release
iGEM teams should not release any genetically modified organisms outside the lab. For more details, please click here.
Ask your Instructors!
Your first resource is always your instructors, advisors, and professors. They have experience working in their own lab facilities, and they know how to work with your university to ensure lab safety. Other local resources include:
- The laboratory manager for the lab where you work
- The safety office or Biosafety Committee at your university/institution
- Members of your local or national government
iGEM's Lab Safety Rules
- Teams must provide information About our Project, About our Lab, complete Check-In forms when using parts and organisms not on the White List , and have your Instructor or Primary Contact sign off your Final Safety information. All deadlines for providing this information must be met.
- Teams must be in full compliance with iGEM's safety policies.
- Teams must work in the biosafety level appropriate for their project. If your project involves organisms and parts that can used safely in a BSL1 lab, you should not work at higher containment levels. If this is not possible an explanation must be provided in the information About our Lab
- Teams cannot conduct work with Risk Group 3 or 4 organisms
- Teams cannot conduct research in a Safety Level 3 or 4 laboratory
- Teams cannot conduct work with parts from a Risk Group 4 organism
- Teams must follow safe shipment guidelines when submitting samples
- Teams cannot release or deploy their project outside of the laboratory at any time during the competition or at the Giant Jamboree
- Teams must follow all biosafety rules of their institution and all biosafety laws of their country
- If you conduct any experiment with human subjects (including non-invasive experiments, such as surveys), you must comply with all rules of your institution/country that govern experiments with human subjects.
Failure to meet any of these requirements can lead to immediate disqualification from the competition and referral to the Responsible Conduct Committee.
Safety Check-In Form
Opens: June 2, 2017
Some organisms and parts present risks beyond what is ordinary for lab work in synthetic biology. As your project progresses, you should consider the risks presented by each organism and part you plan to use. The White List can help you with this.
Before you acquire or use any organism/part that is NOT on the White List, you must submit a Check-In. Check-Ins allow the iGEM Safety Committee to help you ensure that you will work safely with these riskier organisms/parts.
"About Our Lab" Form
Due Date: June 30, 2017
This is a short questionnaire form about the laboratory where you will work on your project, your laboratory space and your safety equipment.
"About Our Project" Form
Due Date: June 30, 2017
Update when your primary project idea changes.
This is a short questionnaire about your primary project idea. Its main purpose is to encourage you to think about the safety of your project as a whole, rather than focusing narrowly on individual parts. It can also help you think about future applications of your project, and what safety health environmental issues would be important to consider.
You should complete the "About Our Project" form, and then revise it if you choose a new primary project idea.
Final Safety Form
Due Date: September 1, 2017
The Final Safety Form is a more comprehensive review of your project, and it must be signed by an Instructor or Primary Contact of your team.