Opentrons logo

Announcing The 2019 Opentrons + IGEM Partnership

Through this partnership, 2019 iGEM teams will use Opentrons to foster collaboration by creating and sharing synbio methods on a common automation platform.
Opentrons & iGEM

Last year, Opentrons and iGEM announced a first-of-its-kind collaboration to bring the power of low-cost, open-source automation to iGEM teams shaping the future of biology and engineering. The response was AMAZING — we received applications from 77 teams in 26 countries, all tackling ambitious projects from plastic degradation and carbon sequestration to DNA data storage and strain engineering.

Following the immense success of the teams who received robots in last year’s competition, we’re pleased to announce that we’re continuing our partnership for the 2019 competition season! This year, Opentrons will once again select 10 iGEM teams to receive OT-2 robots and a package of useful accessories free of charge! Additionally, all iGEM 2019 teams will be eligible for discounts and promotions through the 2019 competition.

Together, we can advance the frontiers of synthetic biology!

Teams that participate in the iGEM Competition are pioneers of scientific collaboration and reproducible experimentation, setting the replicability bar higher for all types of life science labs, iGEM teams, and synthetic biology professionals. Increasing collaboration and scientific reproducibility is also part of Opentrons’ core mission. We believe replicating a lab’s experimental results should be as simple as downloading a protocol and hitting run on your robot. This is why an Opentrons & iGEM partnership is such a good fit — together, we can encourage new modes of participation and foster the creation of robust, shareable methods.

The iGEM teams we select will be able to use our OT-2 robotprotocol design tools and modules to create and run protocols like assemblies, transformations, ligations, digests, plasmid purifications, and more. By collaborating on these common synthetic biology methods, they’ll be able test our thesis that running and sharing experiments on a common automation platform improves reproducibility and accelerates scientific development.

The knowledge generated by these teams — as well as the protocols and open-source integrations they make — will be an important contribution to the broader scientific community and will inform Opentrons product roadmap going forward.

About Opentrons

Opentrons is making the robustness and reproducibility of automation accessible for any lab. Our latest product is the most affordable high-precision lab robot ever made: the OT-2.–U929p4

With our easy-to-use hardware and open-source software and protocol design tools, Opentrons enables scientists (and students!) to collaborate more, easily reproduce each others’ results, and more quickly discover biotechnology solutions for the world’s most pressing problems. We are democratizing biology and empowering reproducibility with a community-sourced library of verified automated protocols developed by our own team and by leading scientists at some of the top institutions in the world, including Stanford, MIT, and the Mayo Clinic.

We announced our first generation robot, the OT-One, at iGEM’s Giant Jamboree in 2014 after working with the Genspace iGEM team to test the first prototype. In 2018, we gave 10 robots to 10 iGEM teams around the world to empower their projects and enable them to solve local problems. We couldn’t be more excited to be working with the iGEM Foundation again to empower their student-led teams with lab robots in 2019!

About iGEM

The iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that pioneered synthetic biology. iGEM continues to advance the field through education and competition, through the development of an open community, and by building the workforce of the future with industry collaboration. At its core, iGEM is about local people solving local problems everywhere around the world.

iGEM’s annual student competition is the world’s leading synthetic biology innovation program and a launchpad for the industry’s most successful leaders. Each year, the competition brings together over 6,000 people from 40+ countries to push the boundaries of biology as a technology, while challenging teams to create projects that are safe, responsible, and good for the world. Beyond the competition, the After iGEM program offers many opportunities to excite, support, and inspire the 40,000+ iGEMers who are leading synthetic biology at a global scale and working toward a strong, responsible, and visionary synthetic biology industry. For more information, visit

2019 iGEM Teams: Make sure to visit the Opentrons 2019 Sponsor Page on the iGEM website for details on how to apply. Good luck! We look forward to receiving your applications, videos, and more!

For more information about the application process and for any questions regarding the competition rules, please email [email protected].

For information about our robots, how to take advantage of iGEM-related discounts, and more, please email [email protected].

For questions regarding the iGEM competition, please contact [email protected].


Cover photo: iGEM Foundation and Justin Knight
Collage: Newcastle University iGEM, Makerere University iGEM, Bielefeld-CeBiTec iGEM