Definition used by the EU's synthetic biology network ERAsynbio: 

Synthetic Biology is the engineering of biology: the deliberate (re)design and construction of novel biological and biologically based systems to perform new functions for useful purposes, which draws on principles elucidated from biology and engineering.

- You can also think about synthetic biology as: 

Nature, version 2.0

Synthetic biology exists in the intersection between biological sciences, chemistry, physics and information technology. The combined knowledge within these fields is directed at understanding in detail how biological systems are organized and thereby gaining the insight to build standardized biological parts. This will enable the combining of these parts to construct novel systems with beneficial functions. 

Why do Synthetic Biology? 

The aim of the research area is to form the scientific basis for developing the sustainable production of biochemicals, energy, personalized medicine, biomaterials, plants of the future, functional foods and molecular bioelectronics. The development of sustainable production of energy, biochemicals, and better medicine are the main focus of synthetic biology at the University of Copenhagen.

Frontline research

The University of Copenhagen is one of the first universities in Europe to target this emerging research area which brings together internationally recognized research groups, each representing key areas in synthetic biology: chemistry and nanotechnology, molecular plant biology, molecular neurobiology and biophysics.