Inspiration is everywhere with nature at your side.


Our biomimicry design challenges are competitions that bring tangible solutions to some of the world’s most pressing sustainability problems and teach biomimicry in the process.

Biomimicry Global Design Challenge

The Biomimicry Global Design Challenge (BGDC) is the Institute’s flagship challenge, hosted in partnership with the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. It is an annual competition that invites people to address critical sustainability issues with nature-inspired solutions. The challenge is open to students and professionals anywhere in the world. Finalists and winners selected by our expert jury are eligible to win prize money as well as assistance in bringing their solution to the global marketplace.

The BGDC is coordinated each year around a theme, or problem area, for which participating teams are asked to design solutions.

The theme for 2015 and 2016 is Food Systems.

Get started!

Register on our Challenge platform.

Challenge Website

Support the Challenge

Join us as a sponsor or partner.

Learn more

Global Challenge Accelerator

Each year the most promising teams in the open category of the Global Design Challenge are invited to participate in the Accelerator program.

Designed to help biomimetic solutions advance beyond the concept stage, the BGDC Accelerator is an intensive 6-9 month program during which the teams continue to develop their design concepts and market strategy utilizing business training, mentorship, and legal support provided by the Institute and its partners. At the end of the Accelerator one team will be awarded the $100,000 “Ray of Hope” prize, endowed by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation.

Meet the Teams

Partner Challenges

Have a thorny challenge that could use a fresh perspective? Let us help!

Is your organization or corporation looking for fresh perspectives on problem solving? Are you a university educator who would like your students to work on real-world challenges and develop valuable new skills? There are many ways to partner with the Institute on customized challenges that identify tangible solutions, provide hands-on training, and reveal a new perspective on how biology will inform the next generation of products and services.

Featured Partner: Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry

In 2013 the Institute began a partnership with UC Berkeley’s Center for Green Chemistry to create and teach an interdisciplinary green chemistry graduate course called Greener Solutions. The goal of this course is to introduce students to biomimicry methodology by providing a hands-on design challenge with which to test their knowledge and creativity. These challenges aren’t hypothetical; they’re real sustainability challenges faced by companies including Levi Strauss, Seventh Generation, and the Beauty Counter.

Our History

Our design challenges are built on years of success creating experience that inspire and equip emerging innovators to solve problems with a biomimetic lens. Read what others have said about our programs below and learn more about the evolution of our design challenges by reading our complete history.

Learn more about our history

The generosity given by this community of people to us is what our world really needs. How often do we get to be in an environment where young people from Egypt, Mexico, Belgium, Canada, Sweden and America get to learn from nature and share their ideas to benefit their communities? The experience gave us hope that small ideas can become realities and that a small group of young people can dream to help their country and change the world.

Nariman Lotfi

Product Designer & Winner of 2013 Student Design Challenge, German University in Cairo, Egypt

[Our team] got an intensive design course on using Life’s Principles, a mini “MBA,” an invitation to the global biomimicry conference in Boston, and the budget for our first working prototypes in Africa! Amazing experience! Arne Pauwels

Product Developer & Winner of 2013 Student Design Challenge, University of Antwerp, Belgium

As the supervisor of team BioArch, I would like to thank you and all your colleagues for providing us with this great opportunity. We are glad to have this wonderful experience, and will continue being a part of this community.

Dr. Mehran Gharaati

Professor, Art University of Isfahan, Iran

Join us, wherever you are:

We believe that the widespread adoption of nature-inspired solutions will catalyze a new era in design and business that benefits both people and the planet. Let’s make the act of asking nature’s advice a normal part of everyday inventing. We hope you will join us.
Chameleon image via Shutterstock.

Tap into nature anywhere: