Safety Hub

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.

iGEM's role in Safety & Security

For more on Safety and Security at iGEM and projects showing excellence in Safety and Security visit us here.

General Safety Information

Have you found all 12 hazards in the image?

Click here to learn more.

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.

Safety in iGEM: A message from Piers Millet, iGEM Director of Safety and Security.

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

Safety Policies

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.

Risk Groups

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.

White List

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

Safety Requirements for Teams

iGEM's Lab Safety Rules

  1. Teams must provide information 'About our Project', 'About our Lab' in the Safety Form, and complete Check-In Form when using parts and organisms not on the White List , and have your Instructor or Primary Contact sign off your Safety information. All deadlines for providing this information must be met.

  2. Teams must be in full compliance with iGEM's safety policies.

  3. 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' section of the Safety Form

  4. Teams cannot conduct work with Risk Group 3 or 4 organisms

  5. Teams cannot conduct research in a Safety Level 3 or 4 laboratory

  6. Teams cannot conduct work with parts from a Risk Group 4 organism

  7. Teams must follow safe shipment guidelines when submitting samples

  8. Teams cannot release or deploy their project outside of the laboratory at any time during the competition or at the Giant Jamboree

  9. Teams must follow all biosafety rules of their institution and all biosafety laws of their country

  10. 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 Form

This form is for you to tell us all about your project, the organisms/parts you are using, the potential risks of your project, and what you are doing to reduce those risks.

  • We encourage STUDENTS, instead of instructors, to complete this form.
  • You will need an Instructor or PI to sign and submit this form before the Giant Jamboree.
  • While you type, this form will remember your answers - it only needs to be submitted on Monday October 2, 2017.

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.

Safety Form

Comprised of 5 parts

If you will not be able to complete this form before the deadline, please email us and tell us about your situation. Email: safety AT igem DOT org

Complying with the safety requirements is a condition of competing at iGEM - that includes providing all the information in this form by the relevant deadlines. Failure to do so can lead to immediate disqualification from the competition and referral to the Responsible Conduct Committee.

Safety Form


Complete by Friday, June 30, 2017

  • Part 1: Contact
  • Part 2: About our Lab
  • Part 3: About our Project

Complete by Monday, October 2, 2017

  • Part 4: New Parts
  • Part 5: Sign Off submitted by the Instructor or PI