European meetup sprouts 4 new DIYBio projects

“DIYBio communities are growing like mushrooms”, co-organizer Thomas Landrain (La Paillasse) stated at the opening of the DIYBio Europe Kick off meeting in le Musée des arts et métiers in Paris. Despite the fact that a clear definition of DIYBio, if any necessary, might still be lacking, one thing is for sure: all attendees share a strong tendency towards independent, open and alternative ways in biotechnology. Everyone is very keen on learning from each other and explore potential collaboration opportunities.   .

In the beginning all the participants introduced themselves and explained their motives for traveling all the way to Paris. Even some people who were not able to make the trip joined the conversation via Skype. Cathal Garvey spoke on his own experience in setting up a lab, the importance of peer-reviewed open science and the potential lobbying benefits of setting up a more formal European DIY Bio association. Streaming live from Copenhagen, Rüdiger Trojok presented his DIY "gene gun" and advocated a distributed, more informal cooperation model. Right after that, Pieter van Boheemen, gave a short presentation on the latest work at the Dutch DIY Bio group in Amsterdam, finalizing the morning session with some suggestions on European projects.

Stipulating European projects was the main objective of the session after the delicious French lunch. After presentations of DIYBio groups in Paris, London and Vienna, four questions were raised and three groups set out to come up with a proposal:

1. What problems/issues do you want to disappear?
2. What constrain is limiting you from doing so?
3. What completely crazy project would you like to do?
4. What project is more realistic / feasible?

All answers were written on post its, shuffled, filtered and discussed, which finally led to four brand new European DIY Bio projects! More information on these projects will follow on this website soon:

  •  An DIYBio community DYIBio starter kit, including all basic means for producing the consumables need for genetics.
  • Link DIYBio and the fab community by producing bio-plastics that can be used in 3D printers.
  • A new DNA based communication network, setting up an DNA distribution network between European nodes.
  • Environmental biology quests, challenging people from all over Europe to find specific bacteria with characteristics of interest in their backyard.

Other issues that were raised included:

  • Development of basic biology courses
  • Setting up an open database of lab supplies and genetic constructs that can be shared
  • Help and insight on local legislation

On sunday La Paillasse opened the lab doors to share a look and feel of their bench in Vitry-sur-Seine. The DIYBio Kickoff meeting concluded in the Musée d'Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne, where an event of le /tmp/lab hacker space took place.