Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Biomimicry Institute?
The Biomimicry Institute is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded in 2006 that empowers people to seek nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet. To advance the solution process, the Institute offers AskNature.org, a free online tool that contains strategies found in nature and examples of ways they are used in design. It also hosts a Biomimicry Global Design Challenge and Youth Design Challenge to support project-based education; a Biomimicry Launchpad startup accelerator program; a Ray of Hope Prize® for developing companies to bring designs to market; and a Biomimicry Global Network that connects innovators across the world.
What is the Biomimicry Institute’s mission statement?
The purpose of the Biomimicry Institute is to naturalize biomimicry in the culture by promoting the transfer of ideas, designs, and strategies from biology to sustainable systems design. We accomplish this by tackling one massive sustainability problem at a time through our Youth Design Challenge, mobilizing tens of thousands of practitioners with the support of the Global Biomimicry Network, and then providing those practitioners with AskNature as a tool to begin the solution process. We support entrepreneurs in bringing their nature-inspired designs to market through the Biomimicry Launchpad program and Ray of Hope Prize®, and we anticipate dozens of new biomimetic innovations will result, creating a healthier world for all.
I’m interested in having a representative from the Biomimicry Institute speak at my event.
Visit our Speakers page and please complete this form to submit your request.
Can you help me with my biomimicry project?
There are so many fascinating biomimicry projects out there in the world today and while we would love to help out with all of them, we are a small team and do not have the resources to partner on individual projects. We have a number of free resources available for your use. A good place to start is to check out our Resources section for a list of educational opportunities on biomimicry.
To look for specific biological inspiration, solve a particular problem, or look at what biologically inspired inventions exist already, visit our AskNature website and use the strategy pages or the search bar to explore what’s out there.
Another great way to practice biomimicry is to learn by doing. The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge Challenge provides middle school and high school teams an avenue to practice the biomimicry design process under the guidance of a teacher.
How can I contact Janine Benyus?
Janine Benyus is unable to respond to individual emails or requests. If you would like to contact her regarding an interview or a speaking engagement, please email [email protected]. You can also complete this quick questionnaire, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. We will not be able to respond to requests for Janine outside these parameters.
How can I meet other people who are interested in and practice biomimicry?
Our Global Network is made up of people from around the world who are interested in creating more opportunities to practice, share, and learn about biomimicry regionally. Visit our Global Network page to see if there is a group near you or working on a similar theme. If you don’t see a network near you or on a theme that is important to you, you can start your own!
LEARNING AND RESOURCES
I’m interested in practicing biomimicry – what should I study or what major should I choose?
There is no one way to begin a career in biomimicry. Since biomimicry is a multidisciplinary field, people that do biomimicry come from many different backgrounds. We recommend that students study topics that are most of interest to them, from engineering, biology, architecture, design, green chemistry, and business. The best thing you can do as an undergraduate is to pick a course of study that you truly enjoy, like engineering or industrial design or architecture or biology, where you can then apply biomimicry in practice. Then, continue to read about, discuss, and learn all you can about biomimicry.
What university-based biomimicry programs exist?
The Biomimicry Institute doesn’t maintain a comprehensive list of training programs (because they change so quickly), but there are a number of universities worldwide incorporating biomimicry into design, engineering, and innovation programs. Some also offer non-degree certificates.
I’m looking for resources on biomimicry / I’m interested in learning more about biomimicry.
The resources section on AskNature has a wide range of biomimicry videos, books, articles, curricula, and introductory courses. From there, you can select a resource type and the audience you’re aiming to serve to narrow down your search.
How do you recommend introducing biomimicry to young people?
AskNature has a number of great resources to introduce biomimicry to young minds, including free curricula, lesson plans, videos, books, and more. Ask the Planet is the Biomimicry Institute’s award-winning album of children’s music that can be used in both formal and informal learning environments. Free teaching guides for grades 3-5 are available to accompany each song. Additionally, Sharing Biomimicry with Young People is an educator training publication aimed at helping educators establish a general foundation in biomimicry and provide ideas for introducing this way of thinking to students. You can find more educational resources here.
Plus there is the Youth Design Challenge, a hands-on, project-based learning experience that provides classroom and informal educators with an engaging framework to introduce bio-inspired design and an interdisciplinary lens on science, engineering, and environmental literacy. It gives middle and high school students a unique STEM experience and empowers them to envision solutions to social and environmental challenges.
Are there any internship opportunities / job openings / can I submit my resume?
To see open positions and internships, please visit our Opportunities page. We will only be accepting resumes for available positions posted on this page.
Does the Biomimicry Institute offer volunteer opportunities?
At the moment, we do not have a volunteer program.
Why should I donate to support this mission regularly?
When you donate, you help us reverse harmful industrial practices by accelerating the growth of more nature-inspired startups and entrepreneurs; empower more students and educators to connect with nature in ways that address social and emotional learning; and inspire and educate more people by increasing the number of biomimetic solutions on AskNature.org. Your support helps connect people of all ages back to the natural world and make nature-inspired solutions a reality. Support our mission.
Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes. The Biomimicry Institute is an independent, tax-exempt nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3)status, so your donation is tax deductible.
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Support the Next Generation
of Nature-Inspired Innovators
Imagine a world where everything we make is inspired by the natural world. By supporting the Biomimicry Institute you:
- Help bring biomimicry education to more students and educators
- Accelerate the growth of more nature-inspired startups and entrepreneurs
- Increase the number of biological strategies and resources on AskNature.org and across our entire organization.