Nature could hold the key to reversing or mitigating the effects of climate change — a concept that the Biomimicry Institute and Ray C. Anderson Foundation are banking on. The two organizations have issued a call to action for entrepreneurs to look to the planet’s living systems to create viable solutions to the global climate crisis.
Select teams will be invited to join the world’s only Biomimicry Accelerator to help them develop their innovations and bring them to market. During the 2017-18 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, teams will have access to a robust collection of biomimicry resources, advice from experts and mentors, a biomimicry and business bootcamp, and partners and investors who can provide technical support, seed funding and incubation support. Each year, one Accelerator team is awarded the $100,000 Ray C. Anderson Foundation Ray of Hope Prize.
“Having partnered with The Biomimicry Institute on this Challenge for several years now, I’ve learned that the most remarkable designs and ideas can come from the most unexpected people,” said John Lanier, Executive Director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. “If you think that you don’t have what it takes to enter this Challenge, or that all of the valuable innovations have already been made, I’m going to bet that you are wrong. Nature can inspire us all.”
In October 2017, the Ray of Hope Prize was awarded to NexLoop, which developed a water management system for urban food producers inspired by the way living systems capture, store and distribute water.
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The current Accelerator cohort includes innovations such as a reforestation system inspired by winged seeds, bromeliads and forest leaf litter, a device inspired by baleen whales and African violet leaves that collects fine particulate matter in dense urban environments and a circulatory system-inspired heating and cooling system.
“We all have the ability to learn from nature by observing the world around us. We help participants in this Challenge hone this innate ability through training, tools and mentorship and apply it to solving one of the many issues we face due to climate change,” said Megan Schuknecht, Director of Design Challenges at the Biomimicry Institute.
The Ray C. Anderson Foundation has pledged $1.5 million over four years to support the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, a multi-year effort to crowdsource, support and seed promising innovations inspired by nature. Each year, the Institute and Foundation together will award the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize to the most viable prototype that embodies the radical sustainability principles of biomimicry.
Registration is now open for the 2017-18 round of the Biomimicry Global Challenge. Interested teams can submit their design proposals until April 30, 2018.