Biomimicry Fellowship FAQ

This page contains answers to common questions posed by IB applicants seeking Biomimicry Fellowships. If you don't find your question here, or if the answer provided still doesn't satisfy your query, don't hesitate to contact Peter H. Niewiarowski. Also, you might want to consult the FAQ for the IB program.


How does PhD training in Biomimicry work?

The IB program is designed to train PhDs at the interface of biology with other disciplines and serves as a perfect framework for earning a PhD in the emerging area of Biomimicry. Because we can partner with faculty and other professional resources through our collaboration with The Biomimicry Institute, Biomimicry Fellows will be able to have a PhD committee composed of individuals from appropriate disciplines, including Design, Engineering, Business, Art, and Biology (as well as other Natural and Social Sciences). Core coursework will be tailored specifically to Biomimicry training.


What costs does the Biomimicry Fellowship cover?

Biomimicry Fellowships provide an annual stipend in the amount of $20,000 and a tuition allowance to cover a full-time course load in the IB Program. Fellows will be required to carry out one of three types of tasks, all requiring a time commitment of approximately 16-20 hours per week working:

  • with one or more K-12 teachers to help bring biomimicry into the local K-12 curriculum
  • with personnel from companies on design challenges related to their R&D projects
  • as a teaching assistant (TA) in undergraduate classes at UA

Each type of Fellowship will be matched to students based on background and interest, as well as recommendations of the admission committee and program personnel.


Where will my classes be held and where will I do my research?

Biomimicry Fellows will work on the campuses of UA and academic partners including CIA and Baldwin Wallace, spending time in research design as appropriate to their PhD goals and the goals of their sponsors. The specific balance of design and research will be determined by each student and their PhD committee as the specific design of their PhD takes shape during the second year in the program. 


I don't have an undergraduate degree in biology, will I be competitive for a Fellowship?

Students admitted to the IB program enter with degrees in various fields including biology, chemistry, engineering and computer science. We are particularly interested in expanding the disciplinary areas of students who will become Biomimicry Fellows to include design, art, business, and the social sciences among other fields. Such backgrounds represent critical areas of inquiry for Biomimicry as a paradigm and as an emerging discipline. Your qualifications for admission to the IB program and for a Biomimicry Fellowship will depend upon your general GRE score, undergraduate academic record, letters of reference, research statement, fit in terms of area of interest as they match those of participating faculty, and any other evidence that speaks to your ability to thrive in an intellectual environment that demands collaborative interactions with others that come from a wide variety of disciplines.


How many students are currently enrolled in the program?

In September 2013, we admitted our  seventh cohort of PhD students.  We now have over 40 students enrolled full time. Biomimicry Fellows started in the Fall of 2012, and new cohorts will be added each year, entering alongside other students who will be pursuing other areas of interest in IB. We are accepting applications for January and September cohorts in 2014. The application deadline for the spring 2014 semester is November 30. 


Who are the partners in biomimicry training?

Biomimetic research is ongoing in many research labs of faculty participating in the IB program. By partnering with faculty and other personnel from a variety of organizations we can provide a unique and unrivaled platform to train PhDs in this emerging field. The organizations below bring expertise and resources that complement basic bioscience research in areas including but not limited to biological materials (silk and keratin), structural colors, biofilms, tissue engineering, alternative fuels, medical devices, biogeochemistry and more. Links to the institutions that some of our collaborating personnel call home are found below:

The Biomimicry Institute

Baldwin Wallace University

Great Lakes Biomimicry Collaborative


What are the active areas of research in biomimicry in the IB program?

Many faculty across the IB program are engaged in research that has direct or indirect biomimetic applications. Areas include but are not limited to structural coloration, silk and keratin as biological high performance polymers, biofilms, biogeochemistry, and more. A partial list of faculty doing biomimetic research can be found here


Submit your own question

Please email with a question you would like to see added to the FAQ. Send your email to Peter H. Niewiarowski