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Students to compete in synthetic biology in France

Today, a group of creative biologists, chemists, and even philosophers, will be saying 'bonjour' at the iGEM competition in Lyon, France

Eleven University of Copenhagen (UCPH) students are to pitch their idea for a magnetized cancer drug at iGem, a global synthetic biology competition. It is all happening right now in Lyon, France

The team has been responsible for all aspects of the project – from idea, to fundraising, to communication, to project coordination – which has allowed them to acquire a diverse set of entrepreneurial and technological skills.

“This has been a multifaceted project that had us leaving our scientific comfort zones,” says team member and Master’s student Will Comstive Wright.

Entrepreneurship across disciplines

The idea of introducing entrepreneurship early in the university studies is to boost growth and job creation.

“This iGEM project has shown me that great innovations may lie in between disciplines. Addressing the task from several angles is an important tool for testing entrepreneurial ideas,” says Wright.

He reckons that his career in bio-entrepreneurship will benefit from the set of skills that he has attained as a part of the iGEM-team.

Cross-disciplines is key

Wright emphasizes the importance of cross-disciplinary collaborations. It has been an impressive aspect of the iGEM competition with the UCPH team, he says. iGem consists of biologists, chemists, molecular bio-medicine students, bio-business, philosophy and IT-students.

A great strength, according to Professor Birger Lindberg Møller, Director of the Center for Synthetic Biology:

“By collaborating across disciplines and prioritizing outreach and dialogue with the public, science has a higher chance of being relevant in a societal context. This increases the chances of developing long-lived technological solutions that are welcomed in society. I think that these students show that the iGEM competition is giving future researchers the right tools to meet these challenges.”

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