Team:UCLouvain/Public Engagement

 Education & Engagement

Public engagement and education

Public & political engagement: round table - european parliament

September 28th 2018

During this event we were especially proud to gather a public of scientific and non-scientific public. We were delighted to see non-science students being interested in the life-science project that we presented and interact with all of our guests. We organised a networking drink right after the event to foster those interconnections. It was a great opportunity to exchange ideas!

During our European Event, Biotech4Change ( we aimed at having a global impact, not only on general public but also on politicians, entrepreneurs and field workers.

For more info check our Human Practice page:

We put together an exceptional panel of experts and with the help of Ann Van Gysel, Life-Science journalist and CEO of Turnstone (, communication agency based in Gand, Belgium, we developed a roadmad aiming at finding the main bottlenecks in “Antimicrobial resistance, Biotechnologies and European Legislation”

We have decided to organize this event in order to have an impact as young students on both European politics and general public. We wanted to show and to prove that you do not have to be part of a big international company, be aged or be a university professor, etc. to have an impact on European Legislation.

Our panel was composed of KEY REGULATORS at the European Commission level, Young and successful biotech entrepreneurs, academics and researchers:
  • Arjon Van Hengel, DG Research and Innovation, Health Directorate, European Commission. This Commission department is responsible for EU policy on research, science and innovation, with a view to help create growth and jobs and tackle our biggest societal challenges. His presence allowed us to bring the issue to a EUROPEAN LEVEL. Arjon Van Hengel is one of the most influential people in this field and being in contact with him will help us give more visibility to our topic at a political level. Our next step in the following months is to include Members of European Parliament, MEP (European Deputies) in future round table discussions!
  • Victor Dillard science entrepreneur. Desktop Genetics, world expert in CRISPR-Cas9 technology combined with AI, listed as an under 35 innovator by MIT review
  • Thomas De Vlaam science entrepreneur, CEO and founder of Amylon Therapeutics, next generation of RNA Therapies, targeting neurological genetic disorders
  • Daniel De Vos researcher at military hospital Queen Astrid in Brussels, one of our partners and pioneer in human trials of phagotherapy
  • Jean-Christophe Renauld MD, professor, and president of Louvain Research Foundation, from UCLouvain, our home university
  • Andrea Chiarello, EU Government Affairs Manager at Pfizer and Chair of the AMR committee at the European Health Parliament (3rd edition, 2017-2018).
  • Corrie Gielen, CEO of Christal. His company has developed probiotic cleaning products combatting resistant hospital bacteria and struggled with regulatory limitations



Almost every category was represented, which helped making the discussion more fruitful and interesting. We learned that the European legal frame is quite complicated and, as it evolves more slowly than the research, it may keep us from using technologies that are already available and functioning.
On the other hand, it also protects us from potential dangers
As students and young world citizens, we want to raise awareness on this topic and we realized that the lack of communication between private and public sector is one of the main obstacles of a fluid and efficient working system, especially in the field of Biotechnologies and Law.

The round-table event was very successful and all the participants were eager at doing more events like that in order to better analyze all the aspect of the problematic.
The topic is very wide and we are ready to develop it more and more!

General public was actively involved in this Round-Table!
100 people were present in the room (sold-out) and more than 500 followed the event on livestream from many different countries!

We were very glad to pair up with Young Change Maker : a large organisation whose aim is to interconnect non-scientific people with young researcher.
Their help was essential to us for the organization of the conference!
Young Change Maker’s mission is to highlight and help young people with innovative ideas that could have a big impact, not only in the science field!
This is why this partnership was the best opportunity we had to bring our ideas out of the lab!
This start-up approach convinced us once more to further develop our project also after Boston! The Jamboree won’t be the end, but the BEGINNING!

Some stats of our live stream:







Education engagement: printemps des sciences

March 25th 2018
Alex and Marine, members of both 2017 and 2018 iGEM UCLouvain teams took part in Printemps de Sciences (literally Science Spring). Printemps the Science is a yearly event organized by Sciences.Be (
The aim of this event? Talk about Science and Research to a general public of any age, interested in science but not working or studying in the field!
Ever since the beginning, we focused on making our ideas and project understandable for anybody and this event has been a great rehearsal in preparation for our European Event!
During the event our colleagues talked about BactaSun, last year’s project, and explained to the public what iGEM is and how it can improve the world!
We also briefly talked about our new project, BactWars, that we were already developing and conceiving!


Education engagement: workshops for high school pupils

November 2018
Following the Giant Jamboree we will organize some workshops for High School pupils of Lycée Martin V, a public high school based near our campus.
Our colleagues are in contact with Mrs Anne-Catherine Burteau, science teacher, that will take her pupils to our lab where they will be able to try some basic techniques and learn about safety rules!
We are very excited for this upcoming event, that will also allow us to raise awareness about our project among these young students

Social engagement: fund collecting for Benin hospitals


Our colleague Sara during her humanitarian trip in Benin, West Africa!
During our conference in the European Parliament, we broadcast part of Sara's trip to Benin, which was searched for the missing information on our project.
We are organizing a small fundraiser for the hospital that hosted her on site and without whom we could not have the epidemic information.
Until we have our final project, we already wish to contribute in another way. The full amount via Gofundme will be donated to the hospital!