Biomimicry global design challenge opens today

(January 20, 2015) Today, the Biomimicry Institute and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation announce that the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge is open to registrants, who are invited to submit commercially viable, nature-inspired solutions to our global food system challenges.

The grand prize, to be awarded in 2016, is $100,000. For more on the #BGDC, visit

“Our hope is that the Global Design Challenge will mobilize thousands of students and professionals around the world to tackle the problem of food security,” said Janine Benyus, biologist, author and founder of the Biomimicry Institute. “Our goal is to show how modeling nature can provide viable solutions to reduce hunger, while creating conditions conducive to all life. And we want to get those solutions to market as quickly as possible.”

“Seeding and accelerating nature-inspired solutions to global challenges is the aim of this new partnership,” said John Lanier, executive director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Interface Founder Ray Anderson, who created the Foundation upon his passing in 2011, was famously inspired by biomimicry.

His carpet company was one of the first to invite biologist Janine Benyus to the design table, resulting in the company’s number one selling carpet tile product, Entropy. Designed to mimic a forest floor, Entropy revolutionized carpet tile manufacturing and installation, resulting in little to no waste.

The Biomimicry Global Design Challenge aims to accelerate market-ready, scalable solutions with a unique approach: “There are two steps to the competition,” explained Beth Rattner, executive director of the Biomimicry Institute.

“Beginning this October, we will select the top biomimetic design concepts and award approximately $50,000 in seed money to the finalists. Then, with the support of a global network of mentors, finalists will spend the next several months completing their functional prototype, returning in May 2016 to compete for the $100,000 “Ray of Hope” grand prize. At that point we will select the next round of design concept finalists, and the cycle will begin anew.”

“I have to believe that my grandfather would have believed this new challenge is, as he would say, ‘so right and so smart,’” said Lanier. “With our support, the best ideas will be the seeds of new businesses that will carry forward Ray’s vision – that with nature as a guide, business and industry can change the world.”

Registration for the BGDC opens today, and entries must be received by August 3, 2015. For more information, visit:

About the Biomimicry Institute

The Biomimicry Institute is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that empowers people to seek nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet.

About Ray C. Anderson Foundation

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that seeks to promote a sustainable society by supporting and funding educational and project-based initiatives that advance knowledge and innovation in sustainability.


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