Do you ever wonder..

  • What we can learn from blood vessel systems in relation to crowd control and solutions for traffic jams?

  • What can we learn from the compound eyes of insects to reduce light pollution?

  • How we can make a building function like a living organism or ecosystem?

  • How to make the world more circular and sustainable by learning from nature?

Then the Master’s programma Bio-Inspired Innovation is for you! 

Learning from Nature: where science meets sustainability 

Bio inspiration design and biobased research are used for innovations that support a transition to a sustainable, circular economy. The Master’s programme Bio Inspired Innovation (BII) offers a unique blend of knowledge and skill training that will support the search for and development of circular business-models and bio inspired research and innovations. 

Scientist aiding designers   

We live in a society that places great trust in technology and science to solve our problems and fulfill our needs. However, science and technology alone cannot provide us with a society that nourishes rather than destroys its surroundings. We need to switch to a more circular society. As a science professional, you will be able to inform designers and industry professionals of the value of nature and how to use nature to enhance their designs. We will introduce you to the grand challenges that need to be tackled to become a circular society and to the Life’s Principles that are of use in the scoping and evaluation phases of a biomimicry design cycle. 

Bio Inspired Innovation (BII) is aimed at students with a Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences, who are interested in research, sustainability and systems change. You will use your biological perspective to innovate in key sectors on principles that have evolved in nature. You will be the professional that contributes to the transition to a circular economy with Bio Inspired Innovations.  

After 3.8 billion years of evolution, nature, humans, and animals are naturally full of solutions that are inherently sustainable. The evolution is a continuous experimental process in which the better solutions are preserved and passed on.

Working like an ecosystem and sharing lessons from nature is crucial in today's challenging times.

Innovation, research and design 

This Master’s programme equips you with research, design and collaborative skills that will make you a bio inspired expert. BII builds on the excellent research at the Faculty of Science and links research findings to solve societal and business challenges. The first year is research based, while the second year focuses on the use of research knowledge in innovation. 

Potential General Research Profiles  

Examples of General Research Profiles include exploring the use of microbes to clean silver. Acidithiobaccilus ferrooxidans is a bacterium which is commonly found in mines, and can be used for bioleaching to harvest energy from metal sulfides. These bacteria can be used to clean the silver (sulfide) from the centerpiece by Wenzel Jamnitzer (1549, Rijksmuseum). 
Other projects include using Azolla as next-generation cash crops. Azolla can reduce today's atmospheric concentrations of CO2, produce livestock feed, food and serve as a bio fertilizer and biofuel. Furthermore, other projects aim to increase food production and change the set up how consumerschoose their fresh attributes (the supermarket as living organism). 

Bio Inspired Innovation in the media 

Although BII is a relatively new Master's programme, it has already attracted a lot of interest. For example, the introduction of the programme was covered on Dutch television. See the press release with the item (in Dutch). Our Master's student Brigit van Brenk won the 'Changemaker Challenge' with her research on using fungi to breakdown waste in wastewater. Furthermore, the fact that over the last years, several teams of BII students (2018, 2019, 2020) have made it to the finals of the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge attracted a lot of attention as well. View more student-projects and outcomes of challenges.

Why in Utrecht

  • Follow a unique programme, combining science and inspiration from nature with design and innovation to come up with sustainable processes and to ensure future food supply. 
  • As part of the Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS) you get an interdisciplinary approach. The GSLS brings together the research expertise and facilities of the faculties of Science, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, in cooperation with UMC Utrecht.  
  • Enjoy our mandatory introduction week Life Sciences, covering all aspects of academic education, including science integrity, career development,  valorization, and industry. 

Key facts

Biosciences (MSc)
Language of instruction: 
Mode of study: 
Study duration: 
2 years
Tuition fees: 
Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee, full-time) 2023-2024: € 2,314

Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee) 2023-2024: € 21,736

More information about fees
Croho code: 
Accredited by the NVAO
Graduate school: 
Life Sciences
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