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The University of Southampton

Learning from nature provides technology solutions

Published: 13 March 2008

With scientists and engineers increasingly turning to nature for inspiration, the University of Southampton is hosting an international conference to show how engineering and biological approaches can be combined to solve problems in science and technology.

Bio-inspired Engineering is a new and unique science-based discipline of engineering and biology that encompasses a wide range of engineering theory and practice connected to and derived from biology.

Engineering and the physical sciences are looking towards biological systems to develop solutions to scientific and technical problems in areas such as seafloor geological survey, marine preservation, ocean monitoring, robotics, computer architecture and unmanned flight. Conversely designing and building bioinspired devices or systems is providing new insight into the original animal or plant model.

With increasing amounts of time and money being allocated internationally for such interdisciplinary work, leading scientists, academic researchers, and interested parties from the defence industry and business enterprises, will be attending the conference.

The aim is to establish new collaborations, identifying strategic areas of high priority for future investigation and explore potential for development and exploitation. This will be achieved by a programme of informed plenary talks, proffered papers, discussion sessions and showcasing new technologies developed through the study of biological systems.

Professor Robert Allen, from the University of Southampton and conference organiser, comments:

“The conference reflects the University's strong interdisciplinary work and our global reputation for leading-edge research and innovation. It brings together the world leaders from both biology and engineering and will provide an ideal opportunity to look at the direction of this rapidly emerging field of research.”

The ‘Biological Approaches for Engineering’ conference takes place from Monday 17 to Wednesday 19 March at Chilworth Manor in Southampton.

For more information about the conference, visit

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