Three innovative projects picked to represent Ukraine in global biomimicry contest

June 1, 2021

Ukraine’s finalists created projects on generating energy from trees, getting caterpillars to eat waste plastic, and using biodegradable cords to support plants growing in greenhouses

Kyiv, 1 June 2021 – The three winners of Ukraine’s national selection round of the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge were announced today after demonstrating their projects, which were inspired by natural systems and organisms that solve the problem of waste.

The three winning projects in the National Biomimicry Challenge are:

 -  Generating alternative energy from tree branch oscillations - a project by a team led by Olena Kovalenko (Kyiv and Rubizhne);

 -  MOL - a project inspired by Greater wax moth, the caterpillars of which have shown the ability to digest polyethylene plastic, to solve the problems of plastic recycling. The team is led by Lyubomyr Matsekh-Ukrayinskyy (Lviv);

 -  A project on supporting greenhouse crops with new biodegradable cords – created by Nataliia Figurka (Lviv).

According to the results of the public voting during the biomimicry Pitch Day, Ulyana Lumey's project "Eco-canalization" was also noted to have good prospects. This project reproduces the nanostructure of lotus leaves for coating the inside of sewer pipes so that they repel waste.

Manal Fouani, the United Nations Development Programme’s Deputy Resident Representative in Ukraine, said the Biomimicry challenge harnessed solutions ready evolved by nature.

"After all, there is no waste in nature – it is in harmony with itself,” she said, “With the help of the National Challenge to find Innovative Solutions in the Logic of Biomimicry, we’re sowing the seeds of nature-based solutions in Ukraine. Let's learn from nature so we can keep living on a better planet."

The National Biomimicry project started in April 2021 with an open online course in biomimicry and a series of webinars that attracted more than 800 participants. As a result of the course, 50 participants submitted ideas to the National Biomimicry Competition, 10 of which were selected by the jury as semi-finalists.

The projects of the ten teams came from seven cities of Ukraine: Kyiv, Lviv, Ternopil, Rubizhne, Oleksandriya, Khmelnytsky, and Odesa.

The three finalists will receive mentorship and support from the UNDP Accelerator Lab in Ukraine and partner company Synchro Space to prepare their projects for submission to the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge.

They will also take part in the Ukrainian Future business incubator of the National Centre of the Junior Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and will have the opportunity to scale-up their inventions and find international partners via the global network of 92 UNDP Accelerator Labs. 

The event is supported by the Plastic Waste Management at the Local Level project implemented by UNDP Ukraine in 2020-2021 funded by the Global Water Challenge programme.


The National Biomimicry Competition was organized by UNDP Accelerator Lab and the Biomimicry Institute (USA), in partnership with the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Future business incubator of the national committee of the Junior Academy of Science of Ukraine. 

Other partners include the Biodiversity Foundation, NGO "Plato", NGO "Tarilka", NGO "Innovative University", Synchro Space, Change Agency Responsible Future, as well as Ukraine’s business community, local authorities and universities.

Follow this link find out more about the Biomimicry Challenge and innovations inspired by nature.