Norwich Biomakers brings together an interdisciplinary network of people from the City and the Norwich Science Park that share an interest in the cross-over of biology with design, technology, engineering, electronics, software, art and much more. We co-founded this network with colleagues from the Norwich Research Park to provide a space and time to place to learn from each other, share ideas and skills and shape project plans. We meet monthly, usually at a local pub. The Network is supported by Innovation New Anglia and OpenPlant.
In April 2017, Hosted by Science Café Norwich at the lovely Maddermarket Theatre, we explored the technologies that enable ‘Building with Biology’ and the evolving meaning of ‘synthetic’. We experienced the aromas of famous foods, learned how plants synthesise the chemicals that form them and looked at how chemists and bioengineers use different technologies to make identical molecules with the aim of making manufacturing more sustainable and medicines more accessible.
Anxiety and Awe
With our 2015 iGEM team and Jenni Rant of the Science, Art and Writing (SAW) Trust, we held a workshop for established poets and practising scientists at the amazing Dragon Hall, a beautiful medieval building and home to the Norwich Writers Centre. Writers and scientists worked with each other to inspire writing that communicated the very human emotions of anxiety and awe that are experienced in response to engineering biology. Read the collection of poems.
We are passionate about raising girl’s aspirations and broadening their knowledge about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM). In 2015, we helped Samantha (John Innes Centre) Fox organise the first Women of the Future Conference, attended by 240 fifteen-year-old female students. They heard inspirational speeches from high profile women in science, such as space scientist and BBC presenter Maggie Aderin-Pocock, and met many female role models from a diverse range of science careers and learned about the many career options that a degree in science can provide. We succeeded in smashing the stereotypes of what girls can achieve and what scientists look like. An event brochure can be downloaded here.
Yr 10 SCI CAMP
A 1.5-day introduction to Synthetic Biology for Year 10-12 high-school students. In a dry-lab session, we built and coded electronic circuits using Arduino and in the wet-lab, we built circuits to program bacteria to change colour. We also learned about the architecture of genes and modular DNA assembly and approached the complex ideas about governance, regulation and responsible innovation using role-play.
Science in Norwich
An outreach event organised with the 2015 iGEM team to communicate the properties of starches. We communicated through a display of foods containing modified starches and through interactive activities with children including gluten-free edible play-doh, cornstarch watercolours and slime-starch balloons, each of which helped to convey a different property of starch. The 2015 iGEM team documented the day on their wiki: Fun with modified starches at Science in Norwich 2015