Introduction to Biomimicry

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  • Janine Benyus was the first person to use the phrase biomimicry in the late 1990s and in this TED Talk she talks about her work and there are interesting examples of biomimicry. 

Note: The pace is a little slow in places, and at 17 minutes it is quite long, so this resource might be more useful for A level students. The video below is a very short summary of biomimicry by Benyus. 

In her books Benyus advocates 9 basic principles of biomimicry. These are:

  • Nature runs on sunlight
  • Nature uses only the energy it needs
  • Nature fits form to function
  • Nature recycles everything
  • Nature rewards cooperation
  • Nature banks on diversity
  • Nature demands local expertise
  • Nature curbs excesses from within
  • Nature taps the power of limits

Read a document we created for the National STEM Learning Centre introducing Biomimicry 

Screenshot 2021-04-09 at 14.52.05

To see examples of biomimiry visit the main menu on this website


  • Research the products mentioned in the videos above and investigate how they are inspired by biomimicry
  • Visit which collects information on every organism and how it might link to design and engineering. The aim is that a designer or inventor can type in a question or design problem to get ideas on how they might get inspiration from biology. What question would you ask?
  • Use the 9 basic principles of biomimicry to evaluate a product against.
  • Use the principles to help you design a product (or use them to evaluate something you have already designed)
  • Visit the biopolymers section of this website to find out about how materials can be engineered using nature and biology.

Resources to download

Download this FREE set of editable resources on biomimicry from our shop. 

The resource includes information slides as well as activities to test your learning. 

Inspired By - Biomimicry 3

Other links  

Return to the Biomimicry page to see all resources  

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