Essential Info

  • January 20, 2015 — Registration opens.
  • April 15, 2015 — Online submission form becomes available.
  • August 3, 2015 — Submissions are due.
  • August 4 – September 7, 2015 — Preliminary judging.
  • September 11 — Open category finalists are notified.
  • October 4-7, 2015 — Open category finalists pitch to experts; Open and Student category winners named at awards ceremony during the SXSW Eco conference in Austin, Texas, USA.
  • October 2015 — The 2016 Food Systems challenge begins; first prototype round begins for finalists from the 2015 Open category.

When does registration open?

Registration for the 2015 Food Systems challenge opens on January 20, 2015.

Is there a fee to register?

No, there is no fee to register on the challenge website. If you decide to submit an entry to the challenge and compete for any of the awards, there will be a small submission fee for both the Open and Student categories. (See details at end of this section.)

Do I have to register to begin working on the challenge?

You do not have to register to begin working on the challenge. However, by registering for the challenge, you will get access to our Biomimicry Design Challenge Toolbox and other resources, access to educational events and online sessions where you can engage with experts, and the ability to connect to others in our design challenge community, including mentors and potential teammates.
Ultimately, you will have to register for the challenge in order to submit a design and compete for awards.

When will the Challenge begin accepting submissions?

The Challenge platform will open for submissions on April 15, 2015.

When are submissions due?

Submissions for both the Open and Student categories are due August 3, 2015, at 11:59 pm PST.

What time is midnight PST in my location?

Use this time zone converter to find out. Enter all of the required information, using U.S.A. – California – San Francisco as your location. Then enter your location and convert time.

Where do I submit?

All entries must be submitted electronically via the BGDC website ( Team leaders can access the submission form from the team profile, or "My Activities" menu. (My Activities is accessed by clicking on your user icon at the top of the site after logging in).

Will late entries be considered?

The submission platform will not accept late entries. We recommend submitting your materials at least a day in advance of the deadline in order to avoid last minute issues with bandwidth or other technical glitches.

How do I know if I am eligible for this competition?

The Biomimicry Global Design Challenge is open to teams of independent professionals, college and university students, and high school students (equivalent to grades 9-12 in the U.S.) anywhere in the world. (See next section for more details on eligibility for specific categories.)
Ultimately, Challenge program staff reserve the right to make a final determination of a team's eligibility.

Can I submit to the challenge as an individual?

You may not submit to the challenge as an individual. We only accept submissions from teams. Create or find a team to join here.

What is the required team size?

Teams that choose to submit a design may include two to eight team members.

Can I register for the challenge as an individual?

Yes, you can register for the challenge and get access to our resources as an individual. However, in order to submit, you will have to either lead a team and add/recruit teammates or become a member of a new or existing team.

Can I participate on more than one team?

No, you can only participate on one team for the challenge, regardless of category.

Can a team submit more than one entry?

No, eligible teams may submit only one entry per team.

Is there a submission fee for the Challenge?

Yes, there is a submission fee for the design concept round. The fee is $100 for Open category submissions, and $40 for Student category submissions.

How can I pay the submission fee?

When you are ready to submit your design, you can pay by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or via PayPal.

The Open category is open to teams of independent professionals, students, or combinations thereof. Any team with a parent organization or entity that has generated more than $1 million in revenue during the past calendar year is not eligible to participate. Individuals who are associated with or employed by such entities are eligible to participate, provided the parent entity or its subsidiaries will not have ownership over any intellectual property being developed by the team.

If your project has already generated commercial revenues exceeding $100,000, you are not eligible to participate in either category.

The Student category is open to high school students (equivalent of grades 9-12 in the U.S.) and college and university students under the age of 35, including associate degree students, undergraduates, MBAs, MD candidates, JD candidates, other masters degree candidates, and PhD candidates. Post-docs and university students older than 35 must submit in the Open category.

Students must be enrolled at the time of submission or have graduated just prior to submission. (See next questions for more detail.)

I will graduate between January 1, 2015 and August 1, 2015. Am I eligible to submit to the 2015 Challenge as a student?

Yes. However, anyone who graduated prior to January 1, 2015, will not eligible to submit as a student.

If I graduated before August 1, 2015, and continue to work on my solution for the 2016 Challenge, will I still be eligible to submit my concept as a student in 2016?

No, but you may submit in the Open category for the 2016 Food Systems Challenge.

I am a student, but I am working on a team with my teacher/professor/Mom/other professionals. Can my team submit to the Student category?

No. Any team that has work being done by an adult who is not a student must submit in the Open category. However, faculty and mentors can work with student teams in advisory roles without jeopardizing a team's ability to submit to the Student category.

If I serve in an advisory role (as faculty or mentor, e.g.), can I advise more than one team?


How do I form a team?

Once you have registered as an individual, you may then create a team profile on this site. Doing so allows you to share your team information with other registered users in the Team Directory, recruit new members, and connect with mentors and advisors in our community. You may edit your team page and team membership at any time prior to submission.

How do I join an existing team?

You can use the BGDC Team Directory section to search for and contact existing teams who need or want additional teammates. Once you have found a team you would like to join, you may send a message to the team leader by clicking the "Actions" button on the team's profile page and selecting "Contact..." from the dropdown menu.

How can our team recruit additional members?

When you create your team profile you will have the opportunity to indicate whether you are looking for new team members. This information is searchable in the Team Directory and you may be contacted by individuals looking to join a team. You can also recruit additional teammates from within your network, community, or school, using these materials.

How does our team add new members to our team profile?

The team leader can add new members to the team profile by clicking the "Actions" button on the team's profile page and selecting "Invite Members" from the dropdown menu. You can invite new members by name if they have already registered on the BGDC platform. You can also enter the person's email address and they will receive an invitation email with information about how to register and joint your team.