On Institutions: Drawing boundaries and collaborations - Track 2

Who or what does DIYbio signal as the ‘other’? How do the others define what biohacking is? This track will discuss the antagonism of Industry and Academia with DIYbio


Hi everyone!
If you want to get a head-start, here’s what we have so far from the speakers in this track…

Track 2 | Thursday 11th May
On Institutions: Drawing boundaries and collaborations
Moderation: @raronoff, supported by @lu_cyP

// 9:30AM
‘Science without scientists’: DIY biology and institutional leakage

// 11:00AM
Citizen vs. Science

// 11:30AM
Institutionalization of DIYbio

// 12:00PM

@winnieponcelet @punkish @rikimut - if you have any further materials or links to share as background for your talks we’d love to see them here. Thanks!


Hello, all!

The two first talks of this track seem already to really be making the convergence of conference and unconference official!
To greatly simplify, some of the first (in spite of its title) seems to be pointing out that really there are a heck of a lot of scientists involved in the DIYbio movement, and the second raises questions about academia seemingly very interested in appropriating the same.
Which way the third talk will go is still open, but the title is provocative!

Expect to learn a lot, maybe even about ourselves, during this session…

Looking forward to meeting you in less than a week and hearing what you might have to say about this all!

Hello everyone,

My presentation will focus on Museums and Science Centers and how they are
starting to implement DIYbio activities in their programs and community
labs in their facilities.

Please find abstract attached.



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I don’t see the abstract here… ?

Ricardo Mutuberria. DIY bio and Community Labs in Museums and Science Centers

DIY bio is redefining education, research, community engagement and scientific, technological, cultural and artistic production. It is empowering citizens, expanding amateur expertise and turning ideas and problems into products and solutions. A growing number of communities of amateur scientists are making a contribution to scientific production and significantly changing the way science is done, applied, perceived and disseminated.

Adopting and enhancing the principles and methodologies of DIY bio is an innovative way for museums to embed an ethos of active and “real” research into their institutions that goes beyond the more traditional workshops, tinkering and design, make, play activities.

This presentation will show how DIY bio labs and activities can be used as model for implementing citizen driven research institutes within museums. I will discuss how the DIY bio model can be brought into museums of all disciplines- supporting innovative, citizen driven trans-disciplinary research.

The intersection of DIY science with other disciplines is driving fields such as biodesign or bioart, and has contributed to the birth of new disciplines such as biotic games. DIY bio spaces work with a low cost, small-scale, high impact model driven by members rather than visitors. It is flexible, experimental, grows organically, is linked to the community, functions with a different mindset and it doesn´t carry the institutional and operational restrictions of museums.

I will show how DIY bio spaces and maker culture can play a role in reversing traditional roles within the museum. We can adapt community labs to be a fundamental part of museums and they can become a transformational force for museums.

I will present examples of the DIY bio model at museums (Open Lab at CosmoCaixa Barcelona, Colaboratorio at Parque Explora Medellin, Museum of AIDS in Africa, CUBE Design Museum & Living Labs) that are already implementing or planning to implement community labs in their facilities and DIY bio activities in their programing.


@lu_cyP @raronoff Any speakers that you know of about relationship between industry and DIYbio? would be great to hear about different experiences of this…

not sure for the ‘convergence’ current program, but it is clear that, while some say DIYbio is esp for small companies, La Paillasse forged a great collab with big pharma to make their Epidemium studies…
Here is what google just found for me:

@dusjagr @sabgaby are there other speakers talking about the relationship between industry and diybio? have a nice weekend!

@raronoff: We did have two speakers but they both cancelled. I was going to give a talk in that track, but it has since changed to DIYbio and Citizen Science since we included two new speakers that will touch on this topic

We had a bit of a chat on twitter about a month ago about whether you need a PhD to do science, and if you choose the independent (non-institutional) route, what options are available if you want to make a living from it. Everyone seemed to share the opinion that academia was a bad place to work. A few talked about founding startups. The conversation doesn’t go very deep into the relationships between those startups and their investors, but it’s an interesting read. For some, founding a startup is a satisfying experience in its own right, for others it’s more of a means to an end - a way to keep practicing science and still pay the bills. For yet others profit-driven research is just not an option.

It’s perhaps a bit off-track, but as a hackathon organiser I can speak to the challenges of mixing corporate sponsorship or institutional backing with volunteer hackers. Being a volunteer organiser certainly helps us keep the water from getting muddied - with science hack day our only responsibility is to our community. But it gets harder to keep the stakeholders happy without exploiting anyone if they’re paying you.

I will, in some ways, talk about the relationship between DiYbio and industry. I am wondering in which ways some DiYbio sites serve as pre-incubators, and how some ideological tenets of the hacker ethos are being reframed to better fit the individual start-up drive. I will show how, in Northern California, there is a whole network of sites and people that puts together radical claims with pragmatic means…


Hi @Thierry - great. looking forward…!
This talk, We are all Pragmatics Here, will be at 14:30 in the track following this one on Thursday afternoon: Track 3 - On Identity: insights into politics and values.

So in the morning we can set the stage with examples of where biohacking and the establishment rub shoulders, then go into the fundamental differences in terms of identity and values that can be the source of antagonism in the afternoon. Grand :slight_smile:

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Here are a couple of pieces on DIYbio/DIYscience/grassroots citizen science as counterculture that I’ve been reading recently…

Dan McQuillan’s writing

Perhaps also interesting, a first article from the revived Science for the People which summarises a lot of the criticism of the (US) scientific establishment brought to a head by the March for Science.

And a surprisingly critical editorial from Nature

I’m really excited about this track. Very much looking forward to the talks. I suspect a mix of equitable and healthy collaboration with academia/institutions PLUS independent civil initiatives might be the way forward. I’d love to hear more from @winnieponcelet and Massimiliano on what DIYbio can learn from other countercultural movements. And I’m curious if there are others out there who are connected with other participatory/DIY/open/civil society groups and networks… (eg open knowledge foundation, CCC, mozilla, wikimedia, MitOst, opentechschool…) – it could be interesting to map those connections. I don’t know much about it, but it seems https://digitalsocial.eu/ is trying to do that.

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thank a lot for these references

I’ll present the Biologigaragen / novozymes collaboration friday morning. Unfortunately Gernot (Novozymes) couldn’t make it.

If anyone wants to share notes on this session, here’s a pad we could use: https://pad.okfn.org/p/biofab17-track2

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