Carbon Efficiency

Traditional land-based crops are often seen as humanity’s greatest hope for self-sustained energy and commodity production. However, there is another organism which might have something to say about that. Cyanobacteria have been photosynthesizing and compounds for billions of years, and in this time, they have become quite good at it.
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Human Practices Silver

Our team believes that good Human Practice and Public Engagement have been our two most important intrinsic motivators, rather than iGEM requirements. From the very beginning, we were determined to make our project mean something and we hope it will have an impact that extends beyond the scope of the iGEM competition. Before and during the design of our project, we have consulted our stakeholders in order to identify, investigate and address several Human Practice issues to the best of our abilities. Our stakeholders come from various walks of life and include academia, industrial and regulatory bodies and the general public. We have visited several large-scale events, conducted interviews with experts from the field, recorded a series of podcasts and visited the Photanol pilot plant in order to identify the industrial settings for creating a cell factory. The incredible contributions from all our stakeholders, makes us feel that, no matter the outcome, our project has been an immensely rewarding experience.
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Human Practices Gold Integrated

The success and usefulness of any new technology depends entirely on how well it fits in the existing network of stakeholders. We identified them to be from academia, industry, regulatory bodies and the general public. They were involved in the development of our project from its infancy. Consequently, our engineered strains comply with the needs of end-users as they are stable and robust under natural diurnal regimes. In response to concerns from the general public about outspread of antibiotic resistance, we self-imposed the design requirement of engineering markerless strains. Moreover, we communicated this concern (and our solution) to the Dutch Ministry in conversations about our perception of safe biotechnology. With numerous other outreach activities, we were able to involve the identified stakeholders. As a result our project is entirely shaped by their input, and has an impact that extends beyond the scope of the iGEM competition.
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We shaped our outreach activities to have the greatest impact in the short-term given the urgency of the challenge we tackle - Sustainability. Our activities were broad, but underpinned by a common denominator - bring awareness to the unsustainability issue haunting human societies, and how safe and well-designed biotechnological processes can provide solutions NOW. We interacted with students from different levels and with the general public directly at multiple occasions. Our project was disseminated via several channels such as printed and online publications, radio stations, mainstream news channels, social networks, etc.... We were also featured in high-profile debates related to climate discussing directly with policy makers at the highest governmental levels. On a personal level, we were also quite proud to welcome a Syrian refugee to use our project as a springboard into Dutch society. Ultimately, when adding up the reach, even conservatively, we are well over one million people!
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As biological engineers we have a great responsibility to the public - our research needs to be done safely. In order to prevent humans and the environment from potentially harmful events, we used taylored methods (e.g. markerless genetic engineering) and followed strict safety regulation rules. We also helped the Dutch Government with brainstorming about the legislation on biosafety of new method and trends in the synthetic biology.
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