Affiliate Program

The Biomimicry 3.8 Institute work closely with Biomimicry Affiliate Program (BAP) institutions as they prepare to offer their students the opportunity to graduate with a minor, major, or advanced degree in biomimicry. One of the requirements to become an Affiliate is that each institution must have at least two Biomimicry Fellows, champions of biomimicry who have been trained in biomimicry and design. We have seven Affiliate universities (two are co-Affiliates). We expect them to become models for the dozens of others that have contacted us as the demand for biomimicry education increases. Below you’ll find details on how biomimicry is being incorporated into each of our Affiliate institutions.

Biomimicry Affiliate Institutions

    • Arizona State University
    • Lipscomb University
    • Minneapolis College of Art and Design
    • Ontario College of Art and Design University
    • The University of Akron and Cleveland Institute of Art
    • Universidad Iberoamericana


Arizona State University (ASU) | Tempe, Arizona, USA
ASU is the largest public research university in the United States, and ASU President Michael Crow is committed to incorporating biomimicry into courses and programs throughout the campus. Biomimicry Fellows Heidi Fischer and Adrian Smith have been instrumental in integrating biomimicry into InnovationSpace, an entrepreneurial joint venture among the College of Design, Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, and W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU. innovationSpace is a two-semester program that teams up upper-division majors from business, engineering, industrial design, and visual communication design to develop new product ideas.

In fall 2008, the program undertook a major initiative to introduce biomimicry concepts into its curriculum. Adrian, a Ph.D. candidate in biology, served as the teaching assistant for the program, essentially helping bring biology to the students’ design table. Adrian is also helped organize a biomimicry symposium at ASU in February 2010 entitled Social Biomimicry: Insect Societies and Human Design.

Prasad Boradkar, ASU faculty member and Director of InnovationSpace, and Janine Benyus are featured in a news piece on sustainable design that aired on Horizon, a program on Tempe’s local public TV station, in November 2009.

Lipscomb University | Nashville, Tennessee, USA  
Lipscomb University is a liberal arts college offering over 130 programs in 66 majors including an undergraduate major and minor in Sustainability, a Master of Science in Sustainable Practice, and an MBA with a concentration in Sustainability. Biomimicry is introduced in required graduate coursework and plays a foundational role in the school’s sustainability program. Students, led by Biomimicry Fellows Sandra Dudley and Margo Farnsworth, begin addressing a wide range of business challenges, from vehicle crash avoidance to irrigation and building design, using biomimicry as a tool in Natural Resources and Water, Energy and Land Management classes.

Biomimicry was featured at Lipscomb’s 2011 Green Business Summit where Farnsworth and Dudley co-presented with The Biomimicry Institute. Additionally, the Fellows are branching out into the community by working with local architects and conducting workshops at the nature center in the Warner Parks, also located in Nashville.

Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) | Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
The Minneapolis College of Art and Design is a private art and design school that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, post-baccalaureate certificates, and continuing studies courses in a wide variety of programs, including sustainable design. Biomimicry concepts and tools are integrated into several of MCAD’s groundbreaking and fully online Sustainable Design Masters and Certificate courses including Innovation Tools and TechniquesElements of Sustainable DesignPractice of Sustainable Design, and Geometry of Thinking, and serve as the primary focus of Biomimicry for Designers and Biomimetic Design.

Biomimicry tools also play a key part in Biological Systems and Visualizing Physics, both core requirements of MCAD’s Bachelor of Science Degree. Students and faculty alike are learning and applying biomimicry principles in their courses and professional work. MCAD’s Biomimicry Fellows, Curt McNamara and Cindy Gilbert, have been biomimicry educators for several years. McNamara developed and taught the first Biomimicry for Engineers course for the Biomimicry Professional Certification Program, and recently helped orchestrate the first biomimicry education webinar for the Institute. Gilbert was the founding Director of University Education for TBI, where she developed and taught several biomimicry workshops and co-led the Biomimicry Professional Certification Program.


Ontario College of Art & Design University (OCAD U) | Toronto, Canada
OCAD U has more depth and breadth in visual arts and design programs than any school of its kind in Canada and offers its students a unique environment that combines studio-based learning with critical inquiry. Biomimicry Fellows Carl Hastrich and Bruce Hinds have been incorporating biological inspiration into their design courses since before The Biomimicry Institute came into existence in 2006. Carl and Bruce teach two biomimicry courses within the Environmental Design Major: Biomimicry 1: Points of Departure and Biomimicry 2: Application.

The Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) and The University of Akron (UA) | Ohio, USA
The University of Akron and the Cleveland Institute of Art have established a collaborative program in biomimicry to become the first joint Affiliate institutions, or co-Affiliates. UA is home to more than 29,000 students and offers over 300 undergraduate and graduate programs, including many that are recognized nationally for their excellence. Integrated Bioscience (IB), the newest of UA’s 17 doctoral programs, has an interdisciplinary focus that puts biology at the core or interface of research questions that don’t fit neatly within traditional disciplines. IB serves as the perfect platform for bringing together faculty and students in business, law, design, art, science, and engineering for advanced graduate training in biomimicry.

CIA is an independent college of art and design, with one of the oldest Industrial Design (ID) programs in the country (1933). The ID program is centered on real world problem solving with research and analysis and an emphasis on user needs. Biomimicry was introduced in 2009 in the Design Center course for special projects, focusing on the Cuyahoga River shipping channel and fish habitat, and is included with the sustainable design curriculum. The project was featured in Watercraft, a publication by the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.

Biomimicry Fellows Peter Niewiarowski (UA) and Doug Paige (CIA) began collaborating in 2010, bringing together students from Integrated Bioscience and Industrial Design to create cross disciplinary teams. Their current course combines an introduction to biomimicry methodology with real world problems to solve, working with external organizations or companies. In addition to undergraduate teaching in biomimicry, Doug and Peter are working to design and launch PhD training in biomimicry in 2011-2012.


Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA) | Mexico City, Mexico
Since it was founded in 1955, the Department of Architecture and Urbanism at the Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA) Mexico City Campus has been cutting edge as an architectural design school in Mexico. During the past six years, ecological design has become a fundamental aspect of good and innovative design. Since 2005, biomimicry has been included in different levels and courses. Today it is the closing subject for two four-month diploma courses (Sustainable Design & Construction and Sustainable Communities Design). In summer the UIA holds a nine-day Biomimicry & Design Workshop led by the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute, and participants learn directly from 10 different Mexican ecosystems.

At the Undergraduate Program, the department has 12 professors trained in biomimicry. Of those, two are Biologists at the Design Table (BaDTs) trained by the Biomimicry Guild (now Biomimicry 3.8). The program offers one unique elective course in biomimicry, and biomimicry is included in different ways in almost all semesters of the core elective cycles – construction, design studio, and environmental design.

Architect Raúl de Villafranca and Biologists Delfín Montañana and Júan Rovalo lead architecture courses with biomimicry, the most cutting edge offerings within the program in Ecological Design. UIA also is active at other universities in Mexico and across Latin America. Raúl de Villafranca and Delfín Montañana are the Biomimicry Fellows at UIA.

If you are a Spanish speaker, read more on biomimicry and UIA’s involvement in this CNN Expansion article, Manufactura ‘al natural’.