Biodesign Challenge to Receive $40,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts


New York, New York—National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $25 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018.  Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $40,000 to Biodesign Challenge for their educational program pairing art and design classrooms with scientists to envision the future of biotechnology. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects, such as this one to [name of org], are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities and connections the arts bring.”

The Biodesign Challenge is a university competition that pairs art and design students with scientists to envision future applications of biotechnology. BDC’s goal is threefold: to prepare young artists and designers to work with emerging biotech; to build collaborations between artists, designers, and biologists; and to engage the public with visions for the future applications of biotechnology.

Each year, BDC organizers work hand-in-hand with instructors to prepare a biodesign curriculum that focuses on future applications of biology in design. They also connect students with a team of "expert consultants", which include biologists, chemists, life-cycle analysts, and more. At the end of the semester, the winning teams are invited to New York City to showcase their designs in front of members the academic, industrial, and design communities at the Biodesign Summit in June of each year.

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit

Alison Irvine