Biomimicry Global Design Challenge
Almost 100 teams from 17 countries entered the 2019 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, submitting nature-inspired inventions to reverse, mitigate, or adapt to climate change. Ten finalist teams have received an invitation to the 2019-20 Biomimicry Launchpad, a program that supports prototyping and eventually a path to commercialization. Read more about the finalists.
Seven international teams spent the past year (2018-19) working with experts and mentors to bring their biomimicry innovations closer to market. Those teams took the stage at Circularity 19 and the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize®, sponsored by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, was awarded to Watchtower Robotics. A $25,000 second prize from an anonymous donor was awarded to Aruga Technologies. Read the press release here.
For years, the Biomimicry Institute and founder Janine Benyus have asked, “How can nature-inspired design solve the world’s most pressing problems?” At the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, the Biomimicry Institute and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation upped the ante by asking, “How can we accelerate the commercial viability of biomimetic solutions to our greatest challenges?”
In response, the two nonprofits jointly announced their CGI Commitment to Action, officially launching the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge (BGDC) and creating the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize™ designed to bring commercially viable solutions from the design lab to the market. The first two years of the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge were dedicated to the pursuit of biomimetic solutions to global food security challenges. The next two years were focused on nature-inspired solutions for addressing climate change.
For the first time in 2020, participants will gain access to a free 8-week syllabus that helps guide the process, and the new call to action will be on addressing the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Its tagline, Design° for People + Planet, asks participants to look at what degree of change they will make for a particular SDG using nature as their mentor, model and measurement of sustainability.
“Seeding and accelerating nature-inspired solutions to global challenges is the aim of this partnership,” said John Lanier, executive director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, "and climate change is at the core. I know that my grandfather, Ray Anderson, would have been and enthusiastic supporter of this Challenge and the teams who enter it.” 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 for the better.”
Ray of Hope Prize®
Nature has evolved strategies to address many of the challenges humans face today. By looking to nature for inspiration, innovators from all sectors are bringing incredible new technologies to life and to market.
The Ray of Hope Prize® is a $100,000 prize competition that provides top biomimicry startups with connections, media exposure, and funding to accelerate their path to commercial success. This prize is awarded to the most viable prototype that embodies the radical design principles of biomimicry and Ray’s legacy of sustainable success.
Past Ray of Hope Prize Winners
2016 - BioNurse from Chile
2017 - NexLoop from New York City
2018 - Nucleário from Brazil
2019 - Watchtower Robotics from Boston