Biomimicry Student Design Challenge

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated 6 September 2013

Registration and Teams

Who is eligible to enter the Student Design Challenge?
The Challenge is open to any team of university/college students worldwide (undergraduate, masters, and PhD candidates) enrolled in a degree program.

Is there a fee for entering the Student Design Challenge?
Yes. Because we operate the Challenge as a learning experience and provide extensive resources to assist you in creating a truly biomimetic design, we charge a fee of $35 per team. (Really, quite a bargain!)

How large can my team be?
You may have up to 6 members on a team.

Can I enter the Challenge as a individual?
No. You must have at least one teammate. Biomimicry is an interdisciplinary and collaborative field that is practiced best when a variety of backgrounds and expertise are included in the design process. Part of the Challenge experience is learning to work as an effective team. We strongly encourage you to recruit at least one biology student to your team.

Can I add a new teammate after registering my team?
Yes – as long as the new teammate doesn’t put your team over the 6 member limit. Team managers are able to manage the addition of new team members.

Can my team have members from more than one school?

Do we need a faculty advisor?
No. Faculty advisors are not required, but can be, along with other mentors, a highly valuable support and resource for student teams.

How will I get access to the Design Resources once I register?
After your payment is processed, you will receive an email with log-in information. Once you log in and complete your profile with your full name, institution, and academic discipline, and complete a brief survey, you will be able to access the full set of design resources.

May high school students participate in the Student Design Challenge?
No. The Challenge’s rules state that participants must be enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs at a college or university.

The Transportation Theme

Are car-oriented solutions allowed?
Yes, if they address the reduction of environmental impacts.


Does a submission have to include a prototype or can it be a design “in theory” only?
Prototypes are not required. However, concept sketches and/or other documentation of the creative development process are required as part of the submission, as well as a final sketch rendering or model.

Are previous winning entries available to view?
Yes. View our Past Challenges page for details.

May a solution designed previously be submitted for this Challenge?
No, entries must be original work during the course of this year’s Challenge.

Will the winning entries be published?
Yes. The winning entry will be publicized in electronic and print media, and through Biomimicry 3.8’s wide network of contacts in academia and industry. We anticipate a great deal of interest from the press about the Challenge and the winners.

General Questions

Why is The Biomimicry Institute hosting a Student Design Challenge?
The Biomimicry Institute is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the study and imitation of nature’s remarkably efficient designs, bringing together scientists, engineers, architects and innovators who can use those models to create sustainable technologies. The Student Design Challenge supports students and encourages students to learn about biomimicry and celebrates their innovative biomimetic designs, bringing biomimicry to the attention of university educators, forward-looking companies, and the general public.

Do I need previous experience with biomimicry in order to be successful in the Challenge?
Not at all. We designed the Challenge as a training opportunity as well as a competition. As a registered participant you will receive access to a collection of design resources that will give you a good foundation in our biomimicry methodology.

If you have a question not listed here or explained in Rules & Eligibility, you may use the blue support button on the right hand side to contact us.