We are aware that the Human Practices (HP) medal criteria for the competition can be difficult to interpret, so we’d like to explain it more. iGEM HQ and the Human Practices Committee have already described what they are looking for (please read it first), which you can find here:
From these links, we want to highlight the following:
Silver Medal: Human Practices
“Convince the judges that your have thought carefully and creatively about whether your work is responsible and good for the world.”
Gold Medal: Integrated Human Practices
“expand on your silver medal activities by demonstrating how the investigation of your HP issues has been integrated into the purpose, design, and/or execution of your project.”
For Silver Medal, teams are encouraged to learn about the problems they are addressing by reading the literature and interacting with stakeholders. It is not enough to claim something is a problem because someone heard about it and saw it in the news. To what extent is this a problem, and why is it a problem? Who does it impact, and how might your team’s solution address this problem better than other approaches? Thinking carefully about your project means you are thinking critically about the specific details of the problem. Thinking creatively about your project means you have looked at other approaches to the problem, and you are proposing a solution that addresses gaps in knowledge, a lack of technology, and social barriers. This is the beginning of the Design-Build-Test-Learn cycle.
For Gold Medal, teams are encouraged to clearly demonstrate how they used feedback from stakeholders (from the Silver Medal HP criteria) to alter what their project is and how they plan and do their project.
The difference between Silver and Gold Medal HP criteria is what you do with your better understanding of a problem. Did you just do research about your problem? That sounds like a Silver Medal. Did you do the research and use that new knowledge to impact the direction of your project? That sounds more like a Gold Medal.
For Gold Medal Integrated HP, there are different pieces of information from the literature and stakeholders that can affect the direction of your project. They can be generally categorized into four groups (from here):
*1)* Nuanced information about a problem that is difficult to find in the literature because practitioners in the field do not normally document and publish the specifics of their problems
*2)* Safety and security issues that may affect what precautions need to be taken during development and implementation.
*3)* Policy issues that regulate the use of the proposed product/service from the project
*4)* Scaling and commercialization issues that affect how the product/service is designed to meet constraints.
We hope this clears up some confusion. If you have more questions please ask them in this forum. The Education Committee will be reviewing the forum for questions on a frequent basis.