A new innovation that enables the creation of healthier soils by retaining nutrients and preventing runoff from fields has won the first Living Product Prize in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge. The $10,000 prize was awarded to the University of Oregon design team in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

The system’s entire design was inspired by mimicking earthworms, which create natural filtration systems. The goal of the system is to reduce the amount of nutrients that are lost from the soil in runoff, improving the overall health of the soil and reducing the amount of fertiliser used. It is designed to be a direct replacement for conventional agricultural drainage, more closely emulating the natural environment.

The team’s research exemplifies the biomimicry design approach, which was in full display as part of the Global Design Challenge, an annual competition hosted by the Biomimicry Institute and Ray C. Anderson Foundation.

Find out more about the innovation here.

Biomimicry content on Circulate

Listen to this podcast where Michael Pawlyn, a biomimicry expert and director of Exploration Architecture, talks with Colin Webster about the potential opportunities for nature-inspired design in cities. This short interview took place as part of the A New Dynamic 2 series, and in it Pawlyn explains why ecosystems thinking is a critical component of the circular economy.

Podcast: Michael Pawlyn – Ecosystems as a unifying model for cities and Industry

We’ve also had a previous contribution from Biomimicry 3.8 founder and the original author of the concept, Janine Benyus. In Learning from the information network of life, Benyus connects the Internet of Things and emerging digital trends with natural systems and explains how the combination of the two can enable the transition to a circular economy.

Learning from the information network of life

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