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Copenhagen students took 'gold' in France

A team of 11 synthetic biology students from the University of Copenhagen were among 26 teams awarded a gold medal in Lyon, France. They were awarded for a new cancer treatments idea and for knowledge sharing

A team of 11 University of Copenhagen (UCPH) students have won a gold medal at the European championships in synthetic biology.

They were awarded it last weekend in Lyon, France for a new cancer treatments idea and for making it easier for teams to share experiences and knowledge. The pride was easy to trace in the faces of the 11 students in the project, who have spent the whole summer working at the Center for Synthetic Biology at UCPH. It is the first time a team from UCPH takes home a gold medal in the international student competition that is called iGEM. The students’ project has drawn the attention of the judges:

“UCPH’s iGEM team impressed the judges with regards to their new ideas for cancer treatment as well as their abilities to form broad, international collaborations with other iGEM-teams”, says one of the team’s instructors Björn Hamberger, who was one of the 60 iGEM judges.

’Bricks of Knowledge’

Among the 60 teams that participated in the European iGEM jamboree, gold is awarded exclusively to the teams whose project fulfill a set of strict criteria.

This year, the level among the European iGEM teams was high, and 26 teams fulfilled the gold criteria. UCPHs teams had, for example, constructed novel genetical functions, called biobricks, for the open iGEM registry.

The team was also awarded their gold medal for their ’Bricks of Knowledge’ project – a platform to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experiences among iGEM teams from all over the world.


The iGEM competition awards the teams who involve a broad set of disciplines in order to approach their project from several angles – e.g. the social, ethical and economical. This is meant to ensure that the project is of benefit to society and that it is welcomed by the public.

UCPH’s director for Research and Innovation, Anna Haldrup, is pleased that the UCPH asserts itself in the iGEM competition:

“iGEM teaches students to be the science-entrepreneurs of the future – and with this gold medal, this year’s team has passed the litmus test with honors. They have shown that a focus on solving societal challenges combined with their skilled work across disciplines and competences, presents them with the tools to rapidly discover exciting and industry-relevant solutions – all of which universities as well as society in general will have great need for in the future.”

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