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Central Saint Martins Launches World’s First MA in Biodesign

London’s Central Saint Martins is launching the world’s first postgraduate course in biodesign, a burgeoning field that marries design with biological systems.

Commencing in September, the two-year master of arts (MA) program will introduce designers from multidisciplinary backgrounds—including product design, architecture, textiles, jewelry and fashion—to tools and methods related to the study of biomimicry, biology and synthetic biology.

These include whole-systems thinking, bio-computational simulation and digital and bio-fabrication techniques to help students “articulate alternative and innovative new design propositions for the emerging bio-circular economy” and redefine the use of energy, water, air, waste and materials, according to Central Saint Martins, a constituent college of University of the Arts London.

“Students will apply these principles to design new sustainable materials, products, services, systems or architectural propositions,” the school wrote on its course page. “There will be a strong emphasis on ethical issues and on learning through making, whilst the theoretical and global cultural and socio-environmental context will inform the development of a personal biodesign agenda.”

Besides learning biology protocols from a dedicated lecturer in biology, students will have the opportunity to trade knowledge with industry partners and collaborate on research-oriented projects. They will also have access to the school’s new “Grow Lab” bio-facility, along with full technical support.

“I am delighted that Central Saint Martins is leading the way by setting up this groundbreaking MA in biodesign,” Jeremy Till, head of Central Saint Martins and pro-vice-chancellor of research at University of the Arts London, said in a statement. “This builds on the college’s long-standing reputation for using design to intervene in other disciplines and producing innovative hybrid outcomes.”

The course, he noted, will develop a “rigorous practice-led research approach” by equipping students with a broad range of skills and processes.

“I am confident that the graduates from the course will emerge as pioneers in this developing field,” Till said.