bioinspired education

NEW COURSES FOR THE YEAR 2017./2018.    :D!!!!!

Bioinspired approaches to engineering BIO-460 (2 ECTS) – for Master students of Life Sciences and Bioengineering

Nature inspired Architecture (2 ECTS) – for Master students of Architecture and IDEAS Minor



Bio-inspired thinking is often challenging due to its interdisciplinary nature. It is a field where dense knowledge of life sciences meets domains of physics, engineering and computation. Being an expert in one field is a challenge by itself, and good understanding of several ones is a life time path. Nevertheless, future research relies almost completely on the multidisciplinary competences and interdisciplinary collaborations.

In order to help you acquire knowledge and skills necessary for high quality bio inspired thinking we’ve made a list of: 

EPFL Courses that teach Bio-inspired thinking

Courses are grouped according to their section of origin. Most of the courses are interdisciplinary and are part of multiple Master and Minor programs. If interested by some of the courses check if they are part of your curriculum.


NEW COURSES FOR THE YEAR 2017./2018. !!!!!

Bioinspired approaches to engineering BIO-460 (2 ECTS) – for Master students of Life Sciences and Bioengineering

Nature inspired Architecture (2 ECTS) – for Master students of Architecture and IDEAS Minor


Life Sciences and Bioengineering

Biomaterials (BIOENG-442)

Analysis and modelling of locomotion (BIOENG-404)

Cellular biology and biochemistry for engineers (BIO-105)

Introduction to life sciences (for IC) (BIO-109)

Microbiology for engineers (ENV-202)

Neuroscience for engineers (BIO-382)

Biomineralization: from nature to application (ENV-406)


Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering

Biomechanics of the cardiovascular system (ME-481)

Biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system (ME-482)

Numerical methods in biomechanics (ME-484)

Multi-body simulation (ME-475)


Chemical Engineering

Biomimetic membrane systems and their applications (CH-727)

Artificial photosynthesis (CH-426)



Self-assembly of Microsystems (MICRO-620)

Artificial evolution (MICRO-515)

Mobile Robots (MICRO-452)

Evolutionary Robotics (MICRO-515)


Computer Science

Unsupervised and reinforcement learning in neural networks (CS-434)



Sustainable development B (HUM-328)


Student Projects

Bio-inspired Food Challenge – PAST Project

evolvable packaging

How lotus leaves and bananas can help us make better food packages?

The goal of this challenge is to give students the opportunity to tackle important issues related to food systems by using creative problem solving and Nature as a library of knowledge.


Biodesign for the real world – PAST Project

biosensors for water

Biodesign for the Real World is a project that aims to enable crowd sourcing water quality data as empowered citizen scientists.

This interdisciplinary and collaborative project will define, build, and field-test prototypes that require the integration of wetware, hardware, and software to address  real world water problems. The project can be offered as a  bachelor or master’s project, with a distinct open-source approach to make a field-robust bio/chemical/electronic sensor elements and crowd sourced mapping of results. The project is partnered with design students from the Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology, Bangalore, India, and the LifePatch citizen initiative in art, science and technology. The protypes built during the project will then be field tested in Switzerland, India and Indonesia.

For more information visti the project webpage: and

Online Courses

Biomimicry: A Sustainable Design Methodology – 1-month online course

Bio Inspired Design, online course from TU Delf

Nature, in Code: Biology in JavaScript, EPFL MOOC by prof. Marcel Salathé


Educational programs outside EPFL

Biomimetics in Energy Systems, Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, Austria

Bio Inspired Innovation Master, University of Utrecht, Nederlands

Biomime Graduate School, Swedish Center for Biomimetic Fiber Engineering, Sweden

Ecological Design Thinking, Schumacher College, UK

Biodigital Architecture Master, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

Master Neural Systems and Computation, ETHZ and University of Zurich, Switzerland

Master of Science in Chemistry and Physics of Soft Materials, Adolphe Merkle Institute, Switzerland

Masters of Science in Biomimicry – ONLINE PROGRAME, Arizona State University and Biomimicry 3.8

Graduate Certificate in Biomimicry – Online Programe, Arizona State University and Biomimicry 3.8

Biomimicry PhD Felowship, University of Akron, USA

Bionics/Biomimetics Master, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Bachelor in Science Communication and Bionics, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Bachelor and Master program at the Biomimetics-Innovation-Centre, Bremen University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Konstruktionsbionik Master, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft des Saarlands, Germany

Bachelor in Bionics, Westfälische Hochschule, Gelsenkirchen Bocholt Recklinghausen University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Bachelor in Functional Morphology and Biomechanics, Christian-Albrechts Universität zu Kiel, Germany

Curious for more: Resources & External Links

This is a modest list of inspiring websites and talks and existing literature on the subject that will get you hooked on and encourage you to continue exploring.


Online Library of Nature’s Solutions

AskNature – AskNature is the world’s most comprehensive catalog of nature’s solutions to human design challenges. This curated online library features free information on more than 1,800 (and growing!) natural phenomena and hundreds of bio-inspired applications.


Ask Nature Nuggets – a series of short videos that present natures solutions


TED(x) talks:


Web Columns



EPFL Library has a very nice collection of books on the topic. Just type “biomimicry” or “bio-inspired” in the search window and you will be taken to the univers of bio-inspired knowledge.

Clever Algorithms: Nature-Inspired Programming Recipes by Jason Brownlee: Free online read