‘Evolution Nailed It’ Seed Funding Competition

The BioInspiration Seed Funding Competition is designed to have teams develop creative, nature-inspired solutions to global/ practical/ human technological and design challenges. The natural world reflects 3.8 billion years of ruthless developing and refining form, function and process that offers insights for creative solutions to problems ranging from nanoscale challenges to global issues.

The Challenge

The competition, which has three categories, will award $10,000 seed funding to the top three entries.

Category 1: BioInspired direct replacement

Demonstrate a biologically-inspired replacement for an existing synthetic object, material, process or service

Category 2: BioInspired design or technology innovation

Demonstrate how biology can be used to achieve something in a way that has not been done before

Category 3: BioInspired improved performance

Demonstrate how natural systems and materials provide superior performance

Other Criteria

  • You must be part of a Team of two or more members
  • Teams must be genuinely interdisciplinary – preference will be given to Teams with representation from different academic divisions, and/or external/ industry organisations
  • Each Team must appoint a Coordinating Investigator holding a salaried academic position at the University of Melbourne of at least 0.5 EFT for the duration of the project and the reporting period
  • All entries must involve a technology, product, service, or process that addresses a challenge related to one of the three Categories. The entry must show a clear connection between a biological mechanism, process, pattern, or system, and the proposed solution. The entry should indicate the potential market/need


The top three proposals will each receive a one-off seed fund of $10,000 towards their research. Prizes are not restricted to one per category, but depend entirely on the distribution and calibre of submissions.

We allow substantial flexibility in how the funds are used, including prototype development, equipment purchase, attending or hosting workshops, travel costs (for conference attendance, or collaboration). However, funds cannot be used for salary top-ups to existing UoM staff, extension of UoM staff contracts, retainer fees for consultants, or extensive overseas travel by UoM staff.


The BioInspiration Hallmark Research Initiative is funded by the University of Melbourne, with the aim of transforming bio-inspired ideas into tangible outcomes, by supporting interdisciplinary collaborations between the biological and physical sciences, engineering and architectural design.


Applications must include the following items (5 page maximum):

  • Project title
  • 200 word pitch
  • Names and email addresses for all team members, affiliations, and indicate the Coordinating Investigator. Any industry members, and existing funding. Briefly describe the role and contribution of each named team member
  • Description of your bio-inspired project – Overview, research aims and innovative aspects of the project, including a description/depiction of your biological inspiration
  • Research approach and methodology, including a timeline for the project development
  • Expected outcome and impact of the project, including capability to attract further funding, and potential market
  • Design concept images, photograph or illustrations can be included in the sections above
  • Project budget, indicating how funds will be spent, and associated justification
  • A list of all references and sources, including experts consulted

Submissions for 2019 (first round) have now closed. Guidelines for the second round will be uploaded in early 2020.