Study Programme

Bio Inspired Innovation (BII) is a two-year Master’s programme of 120 EC, combining research, innovation and design. BII offers a tailor-made programme to suit your personal interests.

Programme scheme Life Sciences Master's
EC = credits (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System)


BII starts with an introduction week with all other Life Science Master’s students (Introducing Life Sciences, part 1 of Life Sciences Academy). The introductory week can help you select your Major Research Project (51 EC). During this internship you will be part of a research team and learn how to design and execute experiments and how to report research outcomes. The mandatory theoretical course (Bioinspiration & Value creation; 7.5 EC) in year 1 deals with multi-disciplinary innovation, business modelling, joint design and communication to a wide audience.

The second year of the Master’s programme starts with the course Integrative Bio Inspired Design: dealing with nature inspired innovation and core concepts of bio inspired design at the systems level. You will learn to apply specific nature inspired design techniques to a system design and use the results to develop a system solution. 

Major Research Project (51 EC)

Most students within our programme  choose one of the following research themes for their Major Research Project:

  • Fungal Biology (microbiology)
  • Ecology
  • Molecular Plant Physiology
  • Plant Eco Physiology

It is important that your Major Research Project fits within your area of expertise and takes place within Utrecht University or UMCUtrecht. Please discuss the possibilities with the programme coordinator. 

Elective courses (12 EC)

Elective courses enable you to increase your knowledge within your field of interest, or (in part) to address educational deficiencies. We advise our students to participate in our challenge based elective course. Contact the programme coordinator how to use the electives in your programme.

Life Sciences Academy (1.5 EC)

During the course of the Master’s programme, you are required to attend the Introducing Life Sciences week, at least seven Life Sciences seminars, and three workshops of the Navigation Towards Personal Excellence programme.

Writing Assignment (7.5 EC)

You will write a review presenting a literature overview including a discussion/evaluation of hypotheses and a personal view. Alternatively, you write a research proposal using the format of the open programme of NWO-ALW.
This writing assignment may consist of either a clear and thorough overview of recent literature, concluded by an in-depth discussion or a PhD grant proposal. 

Educational Methods

  • Internships (research projects): individually oriented
  • Lab work, including lab meetings, data analysis and interpretation of results
  • Planning, scientific reading and writing, and presentation of results

Examination Methods 

  • Courses: Written exam, group assignments, papers, presentations, assignments, exams, and professional attitude.
  • Internships: Research (lab skills, planning, contact with colleagues, and professional attitude), scientific writing, and presenting.

Profiles (33 EC)

As part of your study programme you have to select one out of 9 profiles, to deepen your education in a specific field. You can choose between either a Research- or a Science profile.

Research profiles (4): focus on in depth research skills and aim to deepen your experience in a research field, by being part of a research group.

Science profiles (5): focus on broader skills and have a practical approach.

  • Science Communication and Education consist of theoretical courses followed by practical work in the specific field.
  • The Management profile combines skills in the life sciences with courses in business and economics.
  • Life Science and Society (new) and Translational Sciences (new), are profiles with a capstone project throughout the profile, supplemented with (compulsory) courses. This will give you a broader view on the life science to society and how to translate problems (and solutions) to society.