biodesign challenge nancy j

Strategic Planning + Operational Scale-up • Organizational Design + Governance Options
Branding + Communications Strategy • Organization Launch • Community Engagement

“When I decided to start the Biodesign Challenge, Nancy J Kelley + Associates was the natural choice as a partner. Knowledgeable and highly experienced in all aspects of start-up organizations, their team was an invaluable resource to helping launch and finance a successful organization and a successful project.”Daniel Grushkin, Founder, Biodesign Challenge


Daniel Grushkin, a journalist and co-founder of Genspace, the world’s first community laboratory, conceived of the Biodesign Challenge as a competition amongst top design schools that would offer art and design students the opportunity to envision future applications of biology. Dan needed advice, contacts and financial resources to launch his project and his organization, with just three short months to do it.


NJK+A assembled a team that met bi-weekly to plan the organization and launch of the project, including assisting in developing a work plan and budget. NJK+A recruited sponsors, offered financial and operational advice, planned marketing and outreach efforts, reviewed content and web materials, helped to promote the launch of the project and judged the final event at an awards ceremony at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


The Biodesign Challenge launched in October, 2015, at the BioFabricate Conference hosted in NYC by Microsoft, with six top design school teams, exploring future applications for engineering biology in architecture, communication, energy, food, materials, medicine, transportation and water. In 2018, 26 schools from around the world hosted more than 400 participating students in the competition. 27 student teams gathered at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC (MoMA) to showcase their projects and compete for prizes, including the Glass Microbe, Outstanding Field Research, Outstanding Science, Outstanding Presentation, and the PETA Prize for Animal-Free Wool.

Today, Biodesign Challenge is an education program and competition that is shaping the first generation of biodesigners. High school and university students are partnered with scientists, artists and designer to envision, create and critique transformational applications in biotech. In 2021, 51 schools from 20 countries on every continent (except Antartica) presented their projects to leading thinkers in academia, industry, art, and design before an online audience of over 5,000. In 2023, the competition returns to the Museum of Modern Art and Parsons School of Design, New School.

BDC has been selected for an Arts Project Grant by The National Endowment for the Arts for the fifth year in a row.

biodesign challenge-nancy j kelley

View All Case Studies   Contact Us to Get Started on Your Project

Share this Project