Supportive platform behind iGEM Stockholm
The iGEM Stockholm teams are unique in many ways. An important feature is that iGEM Stockholm - with great support from advisors - is driven entirely by the team as an extracurricular project. Participating students can come from any course, program or university in Stockholm. This independence leads to complete freedom for the team to not only choose its very own research project, but also which experts and sponsors to approach for support and guidance. However, the annual renewal of the team would, without support, result in a lack of consistency and might eventually lead to discontinuation. Every new team would have to start completely from scratch, and would thus be wasting valuable support from iGEM Stockholm alumni. To address this issue, SGEM was created.
SGEM stands for Stockholm Genetically Engineered Machines and is a non-profit association founded in 2015 to ensure annual participation of a team from Stockholm in the iGEM competition.
The SGEM association consists of previous and current members of iGEM Stockholm. The board of SGEM, which operates the association, is chosen democratically on the annual meeting of the association. The main purpose of SGEM is to support iGEM Stockholm teams and to provide a platform for the public and the members of SGEM to engage in synthetic biology. More specifically, this involves support in recruiting the new iGEM team to ensure a smooth transition from one year to another, being a legal entity to facilitate administrative and financial affairs, and to hand over knowledge in support of their iGEM journey.
SGEM is responsible for organising the recruitment of the new iGEM Stockholm team. More specifically, the association elects the new team leader(s), who in turn will be responsible for selecting their new team members. During this period, SGEM offers valuable input and support to the new leader(s) about essential aspects of recruiting an iGEM team such as how to perform interviews, evaluate the candidates and what characteristics to look for.
Finance is of major importance to any iGEM team. Unlike many other iGEM teams, the Stockholm team is not associated with a single university, a specific professor, or even a particular group of students. Consequently, each iGEM Stockholm team is independent and determined solely by the individual team members of that year. In order to facilitate financial affairs and the administrative handover from one iGEM year to another, SGEM acts as the official legal entity behind each iGEM Stockholm team.
Once the new iGEM Stockholm team has been recruited and prepared for the upcoming journey, there is a great deal to learn about the iGEM competition. In support of the team's iGEM journey, SGEM is a soundboard which the current team members can turn to for everything iGEM-related such as technicalities of the competition or practicalities such as daily lab work and how to approach sponsors. Previous iGEM members have even served as advisors, assisting the team according to their expertise.