blog

  1. How nature inspires the material world

    30 Jun 2019
    Civilisations have been looking to nature for unique solutions to problems for thousands of years but it’s only since the mid-20th Century that this approach has started to become mainstream, explains Richard MacCowan. With Millions of species on the planet, Earth could be considered one big research and development lab. And…

  2. Planes, trains and automobiles

    28 Jun 2019
    Engineers and designers can learn a lot from the way that nature utilises diverse materials in complex ways. We lived in harmony with the natural world before the Industrial Revolution. That changed with the advent of new manufacturing processes in the mid-eighteenth century.  We are now seeing a change whereby science…

  3. New Arrival - Lewis Charters

    06 May 2019
    We are delighted to introduce Lewis Charters.  Lewis is our latest intern joining us while he is completing his MSc. Climate Change and Environmental Policy at the University of Leeds. During his time with us in York, Lewis will be working on some research into academic experiences of Nature Inspired…

  4. British Standards Institute

    01 May 2019
    Richard has been invited to work with the British Standards Institute (BSI) on as the UK representative for the ongoing international ISO standards on Biomimetics.  This will allow us to help shape the next stage in the development of new standards focusing on an ontology (organisation of knowledge) enhanced thesaurus,…

  5. Edinburgh Science and Biomimicry

    25 Apr 2019
    On the 13th April, we spoke to a full house at the Pleasance for our Design by Nature event as part of Edinburgh Science. Alongside Veronika Kapsali and Naomi Nakayama and the amazing host, Kathryn Harkup, we shared our stories about how we use biomimetics as part of our work Our discussions…

  6. TEDx York Summary

    02 Dec 2018
    Richard was delighted to be asked to be one of the speakers at TEDx York on the 16th of November. The event hosted by Heather Niven was focusing on Blurred Realities. With noted speakers such as Kim Arazi, Tim Leigh and Catherine Allen, the topics were as varied as VR and…

  7. BBC Countryfile Autumn Diaries

    14 Nov 2018
    Richard spent time with BBC Countryfile team filming a segment marking 100 years since the end of WWI. Filmed at the presenter, Paul Martin’s house, they played around with sphagnum moss, sycamore seeds, camouflage, spider webs and pine cones whilst discussing what technologies were inspired by nature that has been used…

  8. Be The New Normal

    01 Mar 2018
    Nature as the Technology of the Future “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”, said Albert Einstein. Well, this is what we are going to do. Biomimicry is (or any other related terms) about how we can look to the natural world to find solutions…

  9. End of Year School Report

    23 Dec 2017
    Hello,Here is our end of year school report.  January and February saw us focus on EU funding proposals. Long and painful, but worth it in the long run. We ran workshops to students from Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences and The Royal College of Art as well.March was a busy month with presentations to…

  10. Disruptive Innovation Festival 2017

    30 Nov 2017
    Richard had the pleasure to broadcast a live studio session from the Disruptive Innovation Festival on Tuesday 7th November.   Here is a short summary of the discussions. The full interview can be found on Youtube. Talking with Marko Brajovic a talented Montenegrin architect living and working in Brazil, they discussed…

  11. “Behind the Science”

    12 Nov 2017
    The preview for the “Behind the Science” interviews beginning this month.

  12. join the club, the circular economy club

    29 Sep 2017
    We are delighted to announce that we are now local organisers for the Circular Economy Club in the York region This will connect us to a global network to share insights at the local level with organisations. Stay tuned for our first events. As a CEC Local Organiser, we manage the…

  13. Winners of the Design Competition

    01 Aug 2017
    Eleven Magazine Competition - Design Innovation Inspired by Nature Having judged all the entries from the design competition (hosted by Eleven Magazine) through the various rounds, the jury decided to award the overall prize to Karina Ashrapova from Russia with her entry titled, “Symbiotic Architecture: Space of Emotional Saturation” Her summary…

  14. ecophon interview

    01 Jul 2017
    Following on from Richard’s talk at the Workplace Trends conference he was interviewed by Ecophon for their regular blog posts on workplace design.  You can visit the interview on their pages and here from Sarah Welton the Well Building Institute.

  15. plastic + packaging

    09 Jun 2017
    As part of the OpenIDEO Circular Design Challenge, we ran a number of workshops in York to discuss how can shift away from a linear economy to a circular economy A number of unexpected things came out of the discussions. Firstly, that teabags are coated in plastics and that waxed lemons…

  16. water in edinburgh

    06 Jun 2017
    We were invited to the Circular Economy Leaders Summit 2017 in Edinburgh held at Dynamic Earth.  150 emerging and existing leaders from in and around Scotlands water sector came together in the nation’s capital for a summit specifically designed to accelerate the pace of collaboration and innovation across the sector. This…

  17. in the footsteps of d’arcy thompson

    05 Jun 2017
    We were invited to speak to the School of Life Sciences Research Staff Association at the University of Dundee. This well-attended event saw Richard explain how biomimetics has been used in the life sciences with examples taken from social insects through to ocean wanderers. The full presentation can be found here.

  18. genoa travels…

    12 Apr 2017
    We are active members of the European Biomimicry Alliance. Our latest trip was organised by our colleagues in Italy and sunny Cogoleto, just to the west of Genoa. More than a dozen nationalities were represented.  The regular meetings give us the chance to share our best practices from our respective…

  19. workplace design

    25 Mar 2017
    Richard spoke at the Workplace Trends Spring Summit 2017 in London. The summit focused health and wellbeing in the workplace with a range of amazing speakers from across Europe.  We especially enjoyed the presentions by Vicki Lockhart and Sarah Welton from the International Well Building Institute. The team from D/Dock…

  20. How does nature manufacture?

    25 Jan 2017
    Much of our work in the past year has been investigating how the natural world manufactures. Working with Heriot-Watt University we are developing workshops for industry to tackle the pressing issues faced with manufacturing innovation in the 21st century. For a flavour of the work, this TEDx Heriot-Watt University talk by…

  21. global biomimicry network

    21 Dec 2016
    We are delighted to announce that we are part of the Global Biomimicry Network. This gives us to reach a wider audience and connects us to colleagues around the world Regional and professional networks are independent organisms, not legally affiliated with the Biomimicry Institute, or each other. Together, we are

  22. Biomimicry Design Competition

    27 Nov 2016
    Richard is a jury member of the recently launched Biomimicry competition by Eleven Magazine. The closing date of the competition 11th February 2017. For more information and to enter the competition, please follow the link here.

  23. Disruptive Innovation Festival 2016

    25 Nov 2016
    Hosted by Alex Scott-Tonge, Jack Barrie (PhD Candidate, Schmidt-MacArthur Fellow and Co-Founder of HakySak) and Richard discussed the sharing economy, regenerative cities and natural systems. The full talk can be found at the DIF website - thinkdif.co.

  24. Mimicking with Superyacht designers

    30 Jun 2016
    SuperYachtNews write-up of our event at SuperYacht Design Week 2015 by Angela Audretsch. “Biomimicry, the approach to innovation that looks to find sustainable solutions to human challenges by mimicking nature, is a realm that designers across all industries have frequently looked to for inspiration and development. A technical workshop at the Altfield…

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