Our team recognized the struggles a new iGEM team faces in gaining support and funding which enable them to innovate, research and compete. For this reason, as part of our team's contribution we have created a handy guide for future teams, complete with examples, on how to finance their projects and aspirations.

Another contribution our team has made is characterization of pJUMP28-1A (sfGTP) when transformed into E. coli DH5α and E. coli Shuffle T7. We made some interesting observations about the characteristics of sfGFP in these E. coli strains that can aid future iGEM teams that work with the same part.



First start out with listing your competition and application costs. Making sure to also include rough projected costs associated with the laboratory and human practices. Add any costs that are unique to your team and iGEM project ventures. Remember that this list is not meant to be comprehensive, but instead is meant to be a starting point for budgeting and fundraising planning. It is important to keep in mind that your costs will change throughout your team's progression as your project is developed, changes and adapts.


Before you can receive any money, you need a place to put it. Start by creating a bank account. Some institutions have internal bank accounts that you may be able to utilize. These types of accounts are beneficial for in-university purchases, such as reagents and other lab supplies you may need. Additionally, internal accounts can make receiving funding from your institution easier. However, these accounts can also pose difficulty when making outside of institution purchases or for collecting fundraiser money. Our team had two different accounts; one with the university for receiving sponsorship payments and paying the competition fees, and another external bank account for team reimbursements and collecting our money from fundraisers.

Along these lines, to streamline the process of receiving money from your sponsors, we recommend having a payment instructions document. By having the information in a ready to send format, it can help mitigate any difficulties in acquiring funding from sponsors and fundraisers. There are numerous potential forms in which your team can receive payments, such as cheque, e-transfer, credit card, or cash. Different banks, institutions, and account types allow for different forms of payment. Therefore, ensure you accurately know the acceptable forms for your account and include all options in your document. We have also provided an example template of this type of document.

In order to maintain accountability and keep your finances above board, it is important to ensure you have safeguards in place. This can be done having multiple signatures required for any movement of money, especially money out of the account. As well, you can preserve financial transparency by giving all team members viewing access to the bank accounts and keeping detailed records.


Now that you have your budget, here comes the fun part. FUNDRAISING! There is a lot of freedom in finding ways to raise money. Be creative and try out new things to help fund your iGEM project.

Your institution is the best place to start. Check with high ranking personnel in your university or highschool and inquire about funding opportunities. Universities love to support students and encourage research in innovative fields that address real world problems. Another place to look for funding is through sponsorship from companies and organizations that are related in some way to your project. For example, our team worked on an agriculture related project, so we reached out to various farming commissions when looking for potential sponsors. Grants and scholarships are more great options for funding for your project. There are numerous opportunities available and the applications tend to be manageable. The toughest part is finding the opportunities. So get searching! Lastly, fundraisers are fantastic ways to raise money for your project. Again, get creative and utilize your team's strengths when establishing your fundraisers.


There are two main types of sponsorships: (1) monetary sponsorships and (2) In-kind sponsorships. Monetary sponsorship is where an institution, company, organization, or individual gives your team money in return for advertisement and other offered benefits. Whereas, in-kind sponsorship is where a service or product is offered in place of money for the same benefits offered by your team. Both of these types of sponsorships are extremely useful and beneficial to the success of the project. In-kind sponsorships tend to be overlooked as monetary versions can be viewed as more beneficial due to receiving funds directly. However, the use of equipment/facilities or a certain provided services can be just as useful to the success of your project as any monetary sponsorship.

When talking to potential sponsors, it is helpful to have a document or package that you use to easily convey information about your project. This package should include:

  1. What is iGEM?
  2. Who does your team consist of?
  3. What is the problem your team is working towards solving?
  4. Potential applications of your project
  5. How does your project impact/benefit your potential sponsors?
  6. What can you offer in return for sponsorship?
  7. Team contact information

Here is an example of a completed sponsorship package that was utilized by our iGEM team.

In addition to this package, it can be helpful to have a projected costs document ready which can be provided to potential sponsors unpon request. Here is an example of such a document that our team used when we began searching for sponsors.

Some sponsors might request you send them an invoice for the amount they pledged to sponsor you for. This can be a bit daunting if you have never seen or created one before. Here is a invoice template for your convenience.

E-mail template:
The process of finding potential sponsors to reach out to can be difficult but so can knowing what to say to them when sending an email to an unknown person. Expect to not get many responses the first couple times, but don’t be discouraged! Keep trying and eventually you will be able to get connected with someone. Where you can, leverage personal and professional contacts on your sponsors search. Check with your advisors or previous iGEM teams for contacts they may have. It is easier to convince someone with a connection to give you money or equipment/supplies/facilities than it is to convince someone you do not know. That being said, every team inevitably cold emails people and companies to inquire about funding. The important things to remember in an email are to keep things brief and to the point. If you have a sponsorship package made, it can be helpful to attach it to the email for more information. We have also provided an email template to aid in your search for sponsors.

Apply For Grants & Scholarships

Do not forget about scholarships and grants when your team is looking for funding. There are numerous opportunities that go unfulfilled and many scholarships are set up to specifically help researchers like ourselves.Note important deadlines as many scholarships are dispersed throughout the year. Actively seek opportunities and apply often! Even if you do not know if your team qualifies for a specific grant, email the adjudication staff and they will be happy to help! You never know which ones you could be receiving.


Another way to raise funds for your team is to host fundraisers. Fundraisers allow for teams to raise money in creative ways. They are also fantastic ways to get people from different backgrounds involved, spreading awareness of your project and garner public interest. There are numerous options for this route. For example, our team had numerous Bar Night fundraisers. We reached out to a contact at a local bar and discussed hosting an event for us. It was established that we would sell tickets for the event at the price of our choosing. The tickets included a prepaid drink and we were in charge of all the advertisement and sale of the tickets but were able to keep all the sales money. These options may not be feasible for all teams.

Some other fundraising options are bake sales, bottle drives, plant sales, and crowdsourcing sites such as GoFundMe. There are so many other options as well so be creative and figure out what will work best for your team. The key with fundraisers is to make sure to advertise and leverage the personal side of supporting your iGEM team.

REMEMBER: Fundraising is an ongoing process!


It's crucial to fiscal success to keep detailed records of your finances by saving all receipts and tracking expenses and income. Get yourself a spreadsheet! This will be the simplest way to track the incoming and outgoing money. We have provided a tracking sheet template, similar to the tracker our team used, to help you get started. Remember this template is just that, a TEMPLATE. If you do not understand the formatting or layout then it will not be functionable for your purposes and use. Edit and adapt it to suit your team's needs. In addition to tracking income and expenses, you need to ensure you track your sponsors, both monetary and in kind. For that we have also prepared an additional sponsorship tracker template to help that.

Utilization of pJUMP28-1A (BBa_J428353)

As a part of our contributions, we added to the characterization of pJUMP28-1A (sfGFP). We found that after transforming the vector into E. coli DH5a and growing in 30 ml of LB media with 50 ug/ml Kanamycin, the expressed protein will turn the LB broth a light yellow colour (Figure 1 A). Additionally, when excited with a UV light, the sfGFP emits an intense green fluorescence (Figure 1 B). We also determined that when pJUMP28-1A is transformed into E. coli Shuffle T7 and grown on LB agar plates with 50 ug/ml Kanamycin, colonies display yellow-green colour under ambient light (Figure 1 C). Whereas when excited with UV light, intense green fluorescence is produced (Figure 1 D). For more detailed records of our experimental process, refer to Week 16 and the following weeks of our wet lab notebook.

pJump28-1A expressed in E. coli DH5ɑ
Figure 1. A & B. pJump28-1A expressed in E. coli DH5ɑ. Grown in 30 ml of LB media with 50 ug/ml Kanamycin. A. compares culture with un-inoculated LB media under ambient light. B. shows culture optimally excited under a UV light. C & D. pJump28-1A expressed in E. coli Shuffle-T7. Grown on LB agar plates with 50 ug/ml Kanamycin. A. Shows cells under ambient light. B. Shows cells optimally excited under a UV light.

Our team’s contribution for this part is limited since we initially set out to use this plasmid only as an entry vector for various parts. However, due to the unanticipated fluorescence intensity, we decided to add these results as a contribution. As such, future teams and synthetic biology researchers may find our characterization helpful when planning or attempting to interpret the results of a cloning procedure. For example, our results indicate that this plasmid is great for colour based screening procedures, especially when paired with other types of fluorescent proteins.

Our contribution is recorded on the iGEM parts registry as Part:BBa_J428353 (High-Copy, pJUMP28-1A ). This entry contains the summarized contributory data for this part and can be found using this link.