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The Biodesign Challenge (BDC) is an innovative educational program and global student competition fostering the future wave of biodesigners. This competition unites students with science, art, and design backgrounds to conceptualise cutting-edge biology applications in design. The scope of the competition spans speculative ideas to actual implementations, represented via models and functional prototypes.

MArch winter term seminar, 2019.

Masters Architectural Technology Studio at Newcastle University in the School of Architecture. 


4th Order: Casting with living materials at the Bio Design Lab, Devonshire building.


Led by dr. Martyn Dade-Robertson, Thora H Arnardottir & Dilan Oskan.


Students: Tori Ellis, Sarah Hollywell, Josh Higginbottom, Sarah Rogers, Jack Ingham, Lydia Mills, Josie Foster

See more here.

Newcastle University and Northumbria University jointly facilitate the BDC module within the Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment (HBBE). This extracurricular program, guided by the HBBE, welcomes students from Design, Science, and Engineering fields. The participants receive mentorship from PhD scholars and Post-Doctoral researchers in Architectural Design, Microbiology, and Synthetic Biology.

The program's curriculum emphasises biotechnology applications for the built environment and the unique challenges microorganisms pose. It specifically explores HBBE's core themes: engineered living materials for building construction, treatment of building waste for energy and resource generation, and cultivating healthy microbiomes in indoor and urban settings.


The program, which runs from January to June, consists of weekly sessions combining presentations, practical lab and workshop sessions, and design reviews, culminating in the development of teams. The Biodesign Summit in June selects a winning team to present their project in New York. The two-day summit invites artists, designers, scientists, and entrepreneurs to evaluate the finalists' designs.

In 2020, our program featured two teams, Volteria and Culina, comprising students from both Newcastle and Northumbria, specialising in various biology and design disciplines.


Mycelium growth

The mycelium growth in different substrates was monitored and photographed. Here two different substrates are used: cardboard and coffee and agar with malt and beef extract.

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