The 2016 National Bioneers Conference will host the first-ever awards ceremony for the world’s premiere biomimicry design prize, the $100,000 Ray C. Anderson Foundation “Ray of Hope” Prize. The prize will be awarded to one of seven finalist teams in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, a worldwide design competition that crowdsources nature-inspired solutions to climate change issues, like food systems, water management, and alternative energy.
“Ray Anderson believed wholeheartedly in nature as a model and a mentor, so it is incredibly fitting that this prize, which is intended to accelerate marketable solutions, be given in his honor,” said John A. Lanier, executive director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation.
The National Bioneers Conference, to be held this year from October 21-23, 2016, is a yearly gathering of dynamic changemakers dedicated to solving our world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. This year, in addition to the Ray of Hope Prize award event, the conference will feature biomimicry pioneer and visionary Janine Benyus as a keynote speaker. There will also be biomimicry workshops and panels throughout the 3-day conference that will explore how nature-inspired design approaches can profoundly shift how we restore and rebuild our world.
“With climate disruption upon us, and a swelling population, transforming our food and water systems is paramount,” said Kenny Ausubel, co-founder and CEO of Bioneers. “But success will require more than just technical solutions. It necessitates a shift in our worldview, and a change of heart. We are so deeply honored to host this landmark event, and to continue our long partnership to make biomimicry the default position for design, industry, economy, and culture by 2020.”
“Bioneers is one of the only conferences where an 18-year-old activist will be sitting next to a 67-year-old one, both wanting exactly the same thing,” said Biomimicry Institute Executive Director Beth Rattner. “Attendees completely resonate with biomimicry, and their cheers will give the Design Challenge teams the encouragement they need to take their inventions to the next level.”
For the 2015-16 cycle, the Biomimicry Institute’s Biomimicry Global Design Challenge asked participants to tackle any aspect of the food system that could be improved by looking to nature for design guidance. Submissions cover a wide range of related issues, like waste, packaging, agricultural pest management, food distribution, energy use, and other solutions.
The finalist teams vying for the Ray of Hope Prize were chosen to enter the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge Accelerator program in October 2015. They are spending this year testing and prototyping their design concepts with the help of biomimicry experts and business mentors in order to create viable, market-ready solutions. The winner must have not only a functioning prototype, but a tested business model and in-the-field proof points. A full list of the finalists’ submissions can be found here.
A new round of the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge is currently open, which is another opportunity for teams to join and compete for the $100,000 “Ray of Hope” Prize. Individuals and teams can learn more about the Challenge at challenge.biomimicry.org.