Biomimicry Student Design Challenge

Rules & Eligibility

Last updated 15 May 2014

Please check out our FAQ page if you have any questions about Rules & Eligibility.

Round 1


  1. The entry must involve a technology, product, service, or process that addresses a challenge related to improving public transportation or individual transportation options and/or to reducing the environmental impacts of transportation.
  2. The entry must show a clear connection between a biological mechanism, process, pattern, or system, and the technological solution submitted; i.e., the solution must emulate a natural model(s).
  3. Whether addressing a local or global transportation challenge, entries must include an examination of applicable natural models in the team’s home ecosystem. (See challenge details)
  4. Eligible teams may submit only one entry per team.
  5. Entries must describe an entirely new solution and represent a given team’s unique work and intellectual property. Projects within existing businesses are NOT eligible for entry.

Team Membership

  1. Because this Challenge is a combination of a class (so teams can effectively apply biomimicry to their entries) and a competition, each team is required to pay a non-refundable $35 registration fee. Once registered, teams will have access to a wealth of Resources from the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute (Institute). Prior to registration, anyone may see the list of available resources but not the resources themselves.
  2. A team must be comprised of a minimum of two individuals and a maximum of six individuals.
  3. Students are strongly encouraged to form interdisciplinary teams and to include at least one team member who is a biologist.
  4. Students are eligible to participate only on a single team.
  5. At the time of submission all team members must be enrolled in a degree program at a college or university. Team members may include Associate degree students, Undergraduates, MBAs, MD candidates, JD candidates, other Masters candidates, and PhD Candidates.
  6. Students who graduated in the preceding academic year are not eligible to participate.
  7. Faculty and professional mentors are encouraged to serve as team advisors. Faculty may serve as advisor to more than one team.
  8. Teams may designate a specific faculty mentor during the registration process. Once a team designates a faculty mentor, he or she will have access to the full Resources.
  9. Each team must designate a student Team Manager who will be responsible for managing the team presence online, submitting the bulk of required materials, and serving as the primary contact for Institute staff and partners.
  10. Only team members can present the team’s work and answer questions from the judging panel.
  11. Biomimicry 3.8 staff and Board of Directors, Institute staff and board members, and members of the judging panel for the Biomimicry Student Design Challenge (BSDC) are not eligible to serve as individual team advisors. However, designated Institute staff will be available to answer questions and provide guidance to Challenge participants as a whole.
  12. BSDC program staff reserve the right to make a final determination of a team’s eligibility.

Team Financial Support

  1. Teams that have received funding prior to the entry deadline, including, but not limited to angel, venture capital, and institutional funding, above $25,000 are NOT eligible to enter.
  2. Teams that have secured capital less than $25,000 from other sources prior to the entry deadline must disclose the amounts and sources.
  3. Teams that have received research or grant funding are eligible to compete, provided the funding was explicitly awarded for research, technology, or product development activities.
  4. Teams that have generated revenue from sales revenues or contracts related to their entry prior to the entry deadline must disclose the amounts and sources.

Content and Intellectual Property

  1. All entries must be the original work of the entrants.
  2. All entries must be factual.
  3. Any Intellectual Property Rights also must be the original work of the entrants.
  4. Each team’s entry should be made with a full understanding of their institution’s regulations on Intellectual Property Rights.
  5. The Institute retains the right to reproduce and distribute all materials submitted for public view for educational and reporting purposes.
  6. Teams must be prepared to provide documentation to validate any intellectual property claims that are made.
  7. Software entries should make clear what parts of the software product the team created.


  1. Only the BSDC program staff and the judging panelists will have access to complete entry materials. Challenge sponsors do NOT have direct access to entries. Entering teams must recognize that any information submitted as part of the Challenge is at risk of inadvertent public disclosure.
  2. The organizers, judges, and other affiliates of the Challenge will NOT enter into non-disclosure agreements with entering teams.

Submission Method and Requirements

Please refer to the Submission Requirements page for details

New this year, we will have a rolling submission deadline from December 2013 through mid-April 2014 in order to allow faculty and students participate in the Challenge during different semesters.

Final Submission

  1. Only complete submissions will be considered and are eligible to become Finalists.
  2. Finalists will be announced by May 2014.
  3. The judging panel reserves the right to pose additional questions to Finalists. Finalists will have one week from the date any questions are posed by the judges to respond.


  1. The judging panel reserves the right to disqualify any entry that, in its opinion, violates the rules of the competition.
  2. Written feedback will be provided by the BSDC for each entry.
  3. Detailed Judging criteria are available online.
  4. All prizes will be awarded at the discretion of the judging panel and all judging decisions are final and not subject to appeal.


  1. Judges reserve the right not to award a prize if no prize-worthy entries are available. See Prizes for cash prize amounts.