The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation is an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to the advancement of synthetic biology, education and competition, and the development of an open community and collaboration. This is done by fostering an open, cooperative community, and friendly competition.
iGEM’s biggest program is the iGEM Competition, which gives students the opportunity to push the boundaries of synthetic biology by tackling everyday issues facing the world. Made up of primarily university students, multidisciplinary teams work together to design, build, test, and measure a system of their own design using interchangeable biological parts and standard molecular biology techniques.
Every year nearly 6,000 people dedicate their summer to iGEM and then present their work and compete at the annual Jamboree. The first Competition took place in 2004 with 5 teams, and it reached 353 teams in 2019. Originally, the Competition was aimed at undergraduate college students, but it has now grown to include graduate and high school students.