Academic Partners

Arizona State University (ASU)

Tempe, Arizona, USA

ASU is the largest public research university in the United States, and ASU President Michael Crow is committed to incorporating biomimicry into courses and programs throughout the campus. Biomimicry Fellow Heidi Fischer and has been instrumental in integrating biomimicry into InnovationSpace, an entrepreneurial joint venture among the College of Design, Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, and W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU. InnovationSpace is a two-semester program that teams up upper-division majors from business, engineering, industrial design, and visual communication design to develop new product ideas. In fall 2008, the program undertook a major initiative to introduce biomimicry concepts into its curriculum. While biomimicry continues to be a key design tool for InnovationSpace, Fischer and Prasad Boradkar, co-directors of InnovationSpace, are now bringing biomimicry to a broader swatch of students through ASU’s new Biomimicry Center and ASU Online’s Master of Science in Biomimicry degree (learn more here). They also serve as co-directors there, along with faculty member Dayna Baumeister. 

University of California Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry

Berkeley, California, USA

In 2013 the Institute began a partnership with UC Berkeley’s Center for Green Chemistry (BCGC) 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.  The challenges aren’t hypothetical; they’re real sustainability challenges faced by companies including Levi Strauss, Seventh Generation, and Beauty Counter, who come to BCGC looking for novel solutions.

The Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) and The University of Akron (UA)

Ohio, USA

The University of Akron and the Cleveland Institute of Art have established a collaborative program in biomimicry to become the first joint Affiliate institutions, or co-Affiliates. UA is home to more than 29,000 students and offers over 300 undergraduate and graduate programs, including many that are recognized nationally for their excellence. Integrated Bioscience (IB) doctoral program has an interdisciplinary focus that puts biology at the core or interface of research questions that don’t fit neatly within traditional disciplines. IB serves as the perfect platform for bringing together faculty and students in business, law, design, art, science, and engineering for advanced graduate training in biomimicry.

CIA is an independent college of art and design, with one of the oldest Industrial Design (ID) programs in the country (1933). The ID program is centered on real world problem solving with research and analysis and an emphasis on user needs. Biomimicry was introduced in 2009 in the Design Center course for special projects, focusing on the Cuyahoga River shipping channel and fish habitat, and is included with the sustainable design curriculum. The project was featured in Watercraft, a publication by the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.

Biomimicry Fellows Peter Niewiarowski (UA) and Doug Paige (CIA) began collaborating in 2010, bringing together students from Integrated Bioscience and Industrial Design to create cross disciplinary teams.

Learn more about UA’s biomimicry Ph.D. program in this story:

Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA)

Mexico City, Mexico

Since it was founded in 1955, the Department of Architecture and Urbanism at the Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA) Mexico City Campus has been cutting edge as an architectural design school in Mexico. During the past six years, ecological design has become a fundamental aspect of good and innovative design. Since 2005, biomimicry has been included in different levels and courses. Today it is the closing subject for two four-month diploma courses (Sustainable Design & Construction and Sustainable Communities Design). In summer the UIA holds a nine-day Biomimicry & Design Workshop led by the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute, and participants learn directly from 10 different Mexican ecosystems.

At the Undergraduate Program, the department has 12 professors trained in biomimicry. Of those, two are Biologists at the Design Table (BaDTs) trained by the Biomimicry Guild (now Biomimicry 3.8). The program offers one unique elective course in biomimicry, and biomimicry is included in different ways in almost all semesters of the core elective cycles – construction, design studio, and environmental design.

Architect Raúl de Villafranca and Biologists Delfín Montañana and Júan Rovalo lead architecture courses with biomimicry, the most cutting edge offerings within the program in Ecological Design. UIA also is active at other universities in Mexico and across Latin America. Raúl de Villafranca and Delfín Montañana are the Biomimicry Fellows at UIA.

If you are a Spanish speaker, read more on biomimicry and UIA’s involvement in this CNN Expansion article, Manufactura ‘al natural’.

Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD)

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design is a private art and design school that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, post-baccalaureate certificates, and continuing studies courses in a wide variety of programs, including sustainable design. Biomimicry concepts and tools are integrated into several of MCAD’s groundbreaking and fully online Sustainable Design Masters and Certificate courses including Innovation Tools and Techniques, Elements of Sustainable Design, Practice of Sustainable Design, and Geometry of Thinking, and serve as the primary focus of Biomimicry for Designers and Biomimetic Design. Biomimicry tools also play a key part in Biological Systems and Visualizing Physics, both core requirements of MCAD’s Bachelor of Science Degree. Students and faculty alike are learning and applying biomimicry principles in their courses and professional work. MCAD’s Biomimicry Fellows, Curt McNamara and Cindy Gilbert, were pioneers in the field of biomimicry education and continue to help advance the field.

Ontario College of Art & Design University (OCAD U)

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

OCAD U has more depth and breadth in visual arts and design programs than any school of its kind in Canada and offers its students a unique environment that combines studio-based learning with critical inquiry. Biomimicry Fellows Ian Clarke and Bruce Hinds teach two biomimicry courses within the Environmental Design Major: Biomimicry 1: Points of Departure and Biomimicry 2: Application.

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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.

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