Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (UN) aim to improve the world’s situation by promoting prosperity, equality, peace and care for the environment. Altogether, the UN has set 17 of these goals, which need to be achieved by 2030.
During a meet-up in Germany, a member of the iGEM Team Costa Rica has approached us with their interest to promote the SDGs. Since all iGEM projects generally aim to improve people’s lives, while having great exposure to their communities, we loved their idea. When iGEM TAS_Taipei then launched their promotion for their video online conference about the SDGs, we decided to join forces and start a collaboration, called iGEMxSDGs. Furthermore, together with the escape box designed by iGEM Tel Hai Migal, we tested the implementation of the SDGs as a bronze criteria.
The iGEMxSDGs challenge was designed to spread awareness about the SDGs amongst the iGEM
community. Under the hashtag #iGEMxSDGs, a website to build a collage of the mapped SDGs of
each team was set up, inviting other iGEM teams to discuss the SDGs. The challenge was
spread through social media, reaching 60 total teams to participate:
ASIJ_IGEM, ASIJ_Tokyo, Aachen, Aalto-Helsinki, Bioriidl_Somaiya, CCU iGEM, iGEM Calgary, Costa Rica, DTU-Denmark, FAU_Erlangen, Grenoble-Alpes, ICT-Mumbai, IGEM IISER Tirupati, IISER-Kolkata, IISER-Pune-India, IISc-Bangalore, Lund, MSP-MAASTRICHT, Manchester, Moscow, Northern BC iGEM, Northwestern, Nottingham iGEM, OhioState, Purdue iGEM, SNU_India, Sao_Carlos-Brazil, Stony Brook, Sydney_Australia, iGEM Tel Hai Migal, TU_Dresden, TU_Eindhoven, Tacoma_RAINmakers, Tartu TUIT, Team Hamburg, Team SDU-Denmark, Team Tuebingen, Thessaloniki, Thessaly, UAlberta, UC iGEM Team, UNSW_Australia, USP_SaoCarlos-Brazil, US_AFRL_CarrollHS, UiOslo iGEM, Wageningen_UR, iGEM Athens 2019, iGEM Chalmers- Gothenburg, iGEM Duesseldorf, iGEM Evry Paris-Saclay, iGEM IIT-Madras, iGEM Kaiserslautern, iGEM Marburg 2019, iGEM Memes, iGEM NCKU Tainan, iGEM NU Kazakhstan 2019, iGEM Strasbourg, iGEM Toronto, Igem_nawi_graz, iGEM-UANL, iGEM Copenhagen, iGEM Poitiers, iGEM at William and Mary, iGEM Elan Biotronics, iGEM exeter, iGEM Team USP BR, iGEM Lab Pats, iGEM TU Delft, iGEM Madrid, nchu igem, CU iGEM, Lambert, TAS_Taipei, iGEM_Tudy (for full statistics can be found here). To introduce the SDGs further, iGEM Team Taipei hosted an online video conference in early September, with a discussion centered around the SDGs, as part of a MUN (Model United Nations) project. Moreover, we together wrote a proposal to iGEM Headquarters to include the targeting of the SDGs as a bronze criteria in following years.
Good health and well being is our first goal, because we want to revolutionize the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes mellitus and adipositas, which is one of the major causes of diabetes mellitus. This goal includes the reduction of premature mortality caused by non-communicable disease, by promoting the usage of synthetic biology for new treatments and the positive effects of a probiotic formulation.
The second goal we target is no poverty, since we aim to lift the financial burden of treatment, by providing a less cost intensive alternative to current treatments. This is also very important, due to the number of diabetes cases in the developing countries massively increasing and the current therapy scheme not being a viable option for economically weak individuals.
Next, we chose industry, innovation and infrastructure, since we want to promote innovation within therapy schemes and synthetic biology. Through the design of our kill switch, we want to open the market to GMOs as formulations. They can be used as inexpensive building blocks for new drugs, which can also be produced in economically weak states.
As a fourth goal, we chose partnerships, as collaboration is what makes a project successful. We thrive to form partnerships, not only for knowledge and material transfer in the lab, but also for interaction with communities. We are happy to have formed an alliance with iGEM Team Taipei and Costa Rica for the #iGEMxSDGs challenge and with iGEM Tel Hai Migal for the implementation of the bronze criteria.