Team:INSA-UPS France/Human Practices

Human Practices

Our human practices pages present our responsibility based on reflections we had to go further. Indeed, we had to give technically solutions but we also discuss morality and ethics aspects.

Morality relates to the shared and discussed values within our team, for a double purpose of carrying out and orientating our project. Ethics applied to our project develop an automatic reflection on political, economical, social and cultural implications of cholera treatment with synthetic biology.

Before starting the presentation of our ethical reflection, it is worth presenting the moral values on which our team based the project. Moreover we think that this reflexivity effort on ways of being and functioning of a team can be useful for future iGEM teams.

Based on the 14 criteria identified in the field of engineering ethics (Van de Poel, I. and Royakkers L. (2011). Ethics, Technology and Engineering. An introduction), 4 of these criteria appear dominant within the team (creativity, perseverance, honesty and cooperation). These criteria refer to human dimensions much wider than those of general scientific and technological ethics (objectivity, expertise, being open to criticism). Nonetheless these 4 individual and community values have a strong influence on the quality and integrity of scientific and technical work. By mobilizing them in our project, we are building a wider citizen project: on one hand by promoting a technical democracy in which the stakeholders are more aware of the cholera issue, on the other hand by contributing to the definition of a "citizen of the world" philosophy among the iGEM participants worldwide.

Human Practices Silver

We did a Human Practices logbook that presents chronologically, every major step that lead us to a new decision in our project. It was also the start of the building of a classical ethical matrix in order to think about ethics inside the globality of our project, for every aspect of it. We also released a survey to evaluate the knowledge of people about cholera.

You can consult the logbook and the survey here!

Integrated Human Practices

We expand our Silver Human Practices activity and went further in the exploitation of our ethical matrix and made it evolve by including it in the life cycle of our device. As a result, we updated our ethical matrix for each step of this process to obtain seven different contents for the same categories, leading to an alternative tool, the "life cycle ethical matrix". We also questionated ourselves about the philosophical perspective of synthetic microbial communication.

You can see the results here!

Public Engagement & Education

Intervene in primary schools

Create of a card game about microbiology

Participate in the European Researcher's Nigh

Leading a conference about the future of synthetic biology

Inspire high schoolers to pursue a scientific career

Show fun experiments to children

Exhibitions on campus for future iGEMers

Communicate to local and national press

We wanted to show that it is possible to talk about biology, science in general and ethics with people from all ages and with different knowledge. We articulated our outreach strategy around three actions: discover, practice and discuss, to empower citizens or future citizens about their capability of thinking and acting on science. These three milestones are essential for us to give people a better understanding of the current challenges of science in the society.

You can see the results on our Education & Public Engagement page!


While doing several interventions in schools is in our opinion clearly a nice way for pupils to ‘learn by doing’, we thought is was also a good idea to bring scientific knowledge outside of the classroom. That’s why we came up with the idea of creating a strategy card game about biology. With this game, we are hoping to draw attention to the hidden world of microorganisms and make it visible elsewhere than on the bench of a scientist or inside a biology student’s notebook.

In addition to create a game that is aimed to be as fun as scientifically correct, we also created a webpage to explain how the rules are linked to the biological facts it refers to.

You can see how we created it on our Public Engagement page, and a sneak peak of the graphisms and the game's rules on the booklet page.