Looking for a unique project to include in the Broader Impacts category of your grant or funded project? Consider a collaboration with the Biomimicry Center. Biomimicry provides a natural framework for developing Broader Impacts proposals. Inherently transdisciplinary, biomimicry translates advances in basic research into use-inspired applications with societally relevant outcomes.
The Center offers the following opportunities for ASU researchers across a wide range of disciplines. They include:
The Biomimicry Center is a content partner of AskNature.org, an online platform that shares useful biological information and advances in bio-inspired technologies with innovators in design, architecture, business, engineering, and others. This unique tool is accessed by more than 550,000 visitors annually, most of them design professionals who can put AskNature ideas into practice. It also serves as an educational tool that disseminates research findings to the broader public interested in developing biomimicry-based applications, including K-12 and college-level students.
When launched in 2008, Fast Company listed AskNature as one of the best design ideas of the decade. Two years later, AskNature won the prestigious Earth Award, and in 2011 it was featured in the annual START festival in London, an initiative founded by HRH The Prince of Wales to promote and celebrate sustainable living. AskNature.org is managed by the Biomimicry Institute, a 501c3 non-profit organization based in the United States.
The Biomimicry Center staff can work with ASU faculty to adapt content from their emerging studies for publication on AskNature, including generating text and illustrations, or arranging with designers and engineers to help develop real-world applications based on biological research findings.
The Biomimicry Center manages InnovationSpace, a yearlong capstone course for students in industrial design, visual communication design, business, engineering, and sustainability. The goal of InnovationSpace is to teach students how to develop products that create market value while serving real societal needs and minimizing impacts on the environment. Biomimicry is among the chief strategies used to explore sustainable innovation across all five disciplines in the program. To date, InnovationSpace has collaborated with a wide range of major U.S. corporations, including Herman Miller, Intel, Disney, Johnson & Johnson, Adidas, and Dow Corning as well as with several ASU research centers, including the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing, the Center for Nanotechnology in Society, and the Flexible Display Center.
ASU researchers can partner with the Biomimicry Center to sponsor up to three transdisciplinary teams in InnovationSpace. The teams spend two semesters working with researchers to incorporate the emerging technologies from their labs into products that serve a wide array of societal needs from healthcare and disability design to clean energy. The class deliverable is a detailed book known as an Innovation Proposal that summarizes the students’ research and features renderings of a final product concept together with an exhaustive branding strategy, business plan, and a portfolio of sustainability recommendations.
The Biomimicry Center’s team of designers, educators, writers, and scientists can work with ASU researchers and industry partners to develop compelling projects that explore the exciting potential of biomimicry. Past projects have included collaborations with the Design School at ASU to create innovative Architecture and Design studios in biomimicry, ASU’s Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative to design educational kits about biomimicry for use in science museums, as well as collaborations with industry partners on design projects.
The Biomimicry Center can help organize events, conferences, and symposia that focus on topics related to biomimicry. For information about past and future events hosted by the Biomimicry Center, see our Events page.