UCL Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering



The Nature-Inspired Solutions (NIS) methodology was developed and validated by the CNIE. It enables CNIE researchers to address a wide range of problems. It stimulates lateral thinking, accelerating not just the solution to a challenge in one area, but also facilitating translation to applications in other areas.

Our research currently focuses around four themes, corresponding to four fundamental mechanisms, which are omnipresent in nature and allow for a wide range of applications in designing and engineering solutions. The themes build a matrix with to date five application areas. The application areas are spanning the themes and disciplines.


Learn more about our nature-inspired research projects.

Nature-inspired fuel cells
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This project aims to design, construct and test a lung-inspired fuel cell with globally optimized, hierarchical structure from nanomaterial to device level. Read more.

Hierarchically structured catalysts
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Hierarchically structured catalysts include a desired distribution of active sites, and a network of broad pores that allow more facile access of the active sites and mitigate catalyst deactivation. Read more.

Bio-inspired membranes for water desalination, purification and bio-separations
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We aim to build artificial nanoporous membranes for water desalination, purification, and other relevant separation processes, that implement the fundamental principles of biological membranes. Read more.

Nano-confinement effects in catalysis and enzyme performance
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Inspired by the nano-confinement effects induced by chaperones and other biological nanopores on biological guest molecules, we design and synthesize optimized nanoporous materials as hosts for enzymes, for catalytic or therapeutic applications. Read more.

Robust, adaptive and self-healing materials
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We aim to develop self-organising, adaptive and self-healing materials that can be further used, for instance, in sensing or drug delivery. Read more.

Pattern formation in pulsed fluidized beds
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We aim to understand the origin of pattern formation in pulsed fluidized beds by combining experiments, theory and multi-scale simulations. Read more.