Get up to $500 Environmental Charity Donation and YDC Awards for Middle and High School Students in the U.S. in the Biomimicry Institute Youth Design Challenge 2020/2021

Join the Youth Design Challenge 2021 for access to a free hands-on, project-based learning experience. 

Aligned to Next Generation Science Standards for both middle school and high school, the program combines nature and design to provide transformative STEM Learning.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2021.


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Each winning team in the challenge will receive the following benefits:

  • An award certificate.
  • A $500 cash gift to be made to an environmental charity in honor of the team.

Teams may select from a list of approved US-based charities provided by the Institute, or designate another qualifying organization of their choice to receive the funds.

In addition, Projects selected for awards will be publicly displayed and recognized in a gallery on the Youth Design Challenge website, on the Biomimicry Institute website, and in media and outreach from the Biomimicry Institute.


The Challenge is open solely to 

  • Middle (US equivalent grades 6-8) and high school students (grades 9-12).
  • Student teams consisting of between two-eight individuals and one to two adult coaches affiliated with a school, educational organization, or homeschool.


  • Individual entries are not accepted. Students must participate as part of a team. 
  • A team consists of 2 – 8 student members with 1 or 2 adult coaches who will communicate with the Institute on behalf of the team. 
  • No student may be on more than one Team, however Coaches may advise multiple Teams.
  • Coaches may be educators, volunteers, or parents/guardians working with the team’s affiliated organization.
  • Coaches must be age 21 or older.
  • Only one entry is permitted per Team. Coaches working with multiple Teams may submit up to three entries.
  • All entries must be the students’ own original work.
  • Entries from schools outside the USA are welcome. 
  • To prepare a competitive entry, its recommended that students devote 25-30 class hours to complete the project. 

Free Worksheet and Checklist

Here at Camberene, we go the extra mile to make sure you win. So we have designed a beautiful checklist to help you keep track of your progress and make sure you’re doing things correctly.

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Application Instructions

Before signing up for the challenge,

  • Refer to the Program Handbook for more information. 
  • Click here for complete details about requirements and Submission Guidelines.

Submit your entry in English 

  • with the following details:
    • Written project overview 
    • Project image
    • Two-minute video pitch
    • Project portfolio
    • Team photo
  • Click here to Apply.

About the Biomimicry Institute Youth Design Challenge 2020/2021

The 2021 Biomimicry Institute Youth Design Challenge combines nature and design to produce free transformative STEM Learning for students.

The program will help students explore the wonders of the natural world and apply what they learn to create innovations that support a healthier planet. 

The Challenge is a project-based learning experience hosted by the Biomimicry Institute.

Teams will take on the role of innovators and work together to apply biomimicry (nature-inspired innovation) to address a social or environmental issue related to climate change adaptation or mitigation. 

The challenge also provides the YDC Awards that are designed to recognize student achievement in several aspects of the design project, correlated to the Challenge Rubric.

The following awards will be given in both the middle school and high school categories to the teams that best exemplify these qualities-

  • Problem Definition Award: For systems thinking, thoroughness, and creativity in researching, identifying, and defining a problem to solve.
  • Naturalist Award: For comprehensive research into biological models, thorough explanations of their natural history and strategies, and selection of appropriate models to inform the design.
  • Design Cycle Award: For perseverance in the iterative design cycle including exploration of multiple design ideas, using creative techniques to test potential solutions, and/or getting feedback from diverse experts and interested community members to inform design revisions.
  • Changemaker Award: For an innovative design proposal that could potentially move forward in future research and development and/or would have a significant impact if implemented.
  • Storyteller Award: For an engaging presentation of the required application materials that creatively and accurately captures the team’s innovation process and learning journey.

Discover more opportunities from the Biomimicry Institute.

Key Dates and Order of Program

The deadline for registration is March 1, 2021.

The Submission Deadline for entries is April 1, 2021

Awards will be granted by May 2021.

Coaches will be asked to participate in the judging process during a preliminary review period in which they will rate a selection of student entries against the rubric.

Award winners will then be selected by a panel of expert judges from among the top-scoring entries

Multiple awards will be given in each category. 

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Babajide is a content writer and site admin at Camberene. He majored in zoology and is also a tech enthusiast proficient in the use of python, R and other data analytics tools.

Babajide is looking into using machine learning and artificial intelligence in the near future.

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