Today was the first meeting for the 2021 Biodesign Challenge. To get started, we watched the videos of the winning teams from last year. We discussed our thoughts on their projects and took notes on winning qualities they had in common. After learning about what the Biodesign Challenge entails, we discussed the meaning of concepts and terms relevant to our project topic. We broadly defined biodesign as ‘mimicking a biological process to synthesize a product.” We also connected the terms biomimicry (using a biological process as a model to produce materials) and biophilia (designing something with biology and nature in mind) to biodesign. These issues include social norms, environmental issues, and sustainability. Then, we developed a process to evaluate our future project/design at every stage. These steps include doing the research, identifying the groups we want to serve, identifying the critique, understanding our project’s shortcomings, and reflecting upon our experience. Lastly, we split off into groups and read about the UN sustainable development goals. We pinpointed which goals are more closely related to biology/nature, which goals are a ‘peripheral goal’ that is only slightly linked to biology, and which goals interest us the most.

Looking ahead, we want to finalize the UN sustainability goal that we want to focus on. Each of us were tasked with evaluating a team’s project from last year. Next Friday, we will share our findings as a group to gain a better sense of what successful and unsuccessful projects look like. Overall, the team is happy with how we’ve started, and look forward to exploring the problems and solutions of our topic.

© 2020 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy Statement