Biomimicry Institute Youth Design Challenge 2023-2024

Deadline: 28th of March, 2024

The Biomimicry Institute Youth Design Challenge 2023–2024 is now accepting applications. The Youth Design Challenge (YDC) is a project-based learning opportunity offered by the Biomimicry Institute that challenges middle and high school teams to come up with bio-inspired solutions for pressing problems in the real world. It offers a framework for introducing biomimicry as an engineering design technique, integrating pertinent and meaningful STEM experiences, and delivering engaging education that is in line with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for both official and informal educators.

Design Brief: Goals for Sustainable Development (SDG) Implementations

Your Challenge:

Explore the wonders of the natural world and create a nature-inspired innovation that addresses any global or local problem by:

  • Helping communities solve a local challenge and/or reversing or slowing the advancement of an issue that is negatively impacting the community.

What will your team do?

Your team will take on the role of innovators and work together to apply biomimicry (nature-inspired innovation) to address a social and/or environmental issue related to a chosen Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). Suggestion: Work on an issue that affects your local community!

As a coach, you will guide your students as they study how organisms in nature have adapted to similar problems and challenges, and you will support them in applying what they learn to innovative solutions. Final projects can then be entered into the competition for prizes awarded by the Biomimicry Institute.


  • The YDC Awards are designed to recognize student achievement in several aspects of the design project, correlated to the project rubric. Winning teams will have their work featured online.


  • Open to students in middle school (grades 6–8) and high school (grades 9–12).
  • A team consists of a pair of students or a group of up to eight students and one to two adult coaches affiliated with a school, educational organization, or homeschool.

Judging Process:

  • Coaches are asked to participate in the judging process during a preliminary review period in which they will rate a selection of student entries against the rubric. Award winners are then selected by a panel of expert judges from among the top-scoring entries.


Entries are submitted online and include the following elements:

  • Written project overview
  • Project image
  • Video pitch
  • Project portfolio
  • Team photo

For complete details about the requirements, visit the Submission Guidelines page.

Click here to apply

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