Science divulgation can potentially achieve a powerful fusion of public and scientific values. Understanding current research and its developments is mandatory in our society, and science communication can make people aware of this. Researchers need to be able to explain their work making science constantly open and accessible to the public, demonstrating that their work is safe for the rest of the society. In this context, Valencia UPV iGEM Team decided that time for changes has come and we proposed to give people the opportunity to discover a new revolutionary discipline in scientific field: Synthetic Biology.
Since increasing the social outreach of our project is decisive, we decided to organize different social levels in our Silver Human Practices work. Innovative approaches have been done at each one in order to spread how SynBio can help to face the main challenges of our society.
University appreciates plurality of opinions and interdisciplinarity of their students in order to go forward in knowledge progress. Thus, we decided to transmit to university students with different profiles what SynBio is about and how iGEM contributes in our society progress.
Fine Arts students were our first target since we consider that a cooperation between science and arts is mandatory in order to enrich both fields with the benefits of each other. After exposing an initial proposal of our project, we organized an activity in which fine arts students should present a graphic design proposal about our project, fusing SynBio and fine arts. Amazing posters were designed, and several students focused their attention on this project joining as full-time students to participate in the amazing iGEM experience.
This experience gave us the opportunity to realize that SynBio-related developments are barely known for undergraduates, so we decided to extend our outreach to other university fields.
DESIGN FACTORY GLOBAL NETWORK
Different UPV students research teams are grouped in Design Factory (DF), an international network of innovation in universities and research organizations in five continents of the world. DF is promoting the learning and research through passion-based culture and effective problem solving. Our team belong to this group since our establishment, participating in several activities organized to spread science and technologies knowledge to university students.
As part of the UPV Welcome Fest, a Design Factory Exhibition was organized with the aim of explain all the innovative projects that university teams undertake during the year. We had the opportunity to explain what SynBio and ChatterPlant are about giving amazing information leaflets. Both project and SynBio field caused great expectation among members of whole university community. We were delighted to answer all the doubts that they had and we attended all their suggestions.
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ LEVEL
High School students will play an important role in improving and strengthening the future society. As SynBio knowledge needs to be spread across both undergraduates and High School students, we took part in the Praktikum UPV 2017. In this interactive speech we were able to make SynBio innovations known, as well as how SynBio affects society and how iGEM is involved in its progress.
The Escape Lab
In collaboration with Paris Bettencourt iGEM Team, we perform a pedagogical game in order to incite to debate about pros, cons and issues of several scientific issues. We decide to organize this activity in a group of 20 adults (between 18 and 23 years) with a limited knowledge in biological areas. They enjoyed and learned a lot of new concepts about Synthetic Biology. As can be seen in the following pictures, they had a wonderful evening being bacterias and lab students!
PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION’S LEVEL
Synthetic Biology needs to be spread in many levels and we thought that regional government could promote young talents and diffuse all the opportunities that SynBio offers. After several talks with Deputation of Valencia, we reached the agreement to offer scholarships to contribute to the development of Synthetic Biology in our city. Thus, students will be able to learn and live the experience that involves working closely with SynBio.
Bearing this in mind, our student members organized an informative conference where the mayors of our region had the opportunity to get interest in our project and its repercussions. Thus, we try to promote young talent in our city through this initiative.
Nonetheless, after planning all these activities in our community, we wondered how we could spread our message around the world. Most of SynBio information is published in English language and it can be a bottleneck for those people who is not able to speak this language. Thus, we decided to create a YouTube channel “iGEM Conecta” in order to spread SynBio topics in Spanish-speaking countries. .
We aim to become a reference channel about SynBio in Spanish language and open the gate for spreading SynBio knowledge around the world. You can watch our videos here
Even if we are not true experts, our team has tried to show how synthetic biology works and all the impressive things which can be done with this innovative field. It is an honor for us to be part of the most important community in the world: Science.