1. Introduction
We invite designers and artists interested in the Life Sciences to propose projects for collaborative work across disciplines. The Bio Art & Design Award (previously called the DA4GA) is a € 25.000 award for successful applicants to fully realize a new work of art or design that pushes the boundaries of research application and creative expression.

The Bio Art & Design Award highlights and explores exciting new intersections among design, artistic practice and the Life Sciences. The award is a product of collaboration between ZonMW, NWO, MU, BioArt Laboratories, TU/e and Waag Society. The selection procedure will be organized by ZonMw.

To be eligible for the award you must have graduated no longer than five years ago from a design or art program (at either the Masters or Bachelors level). Applicants are encouraged to relate their proposals to recent advances in the Life Sciences, including those within specialties such as ecology, biomedicine and genomics. Please be sure to read all information about the call, deadlines and requirements detailed here before submitting an application.

2. Deadline
The deadline for applications is Monday 1 February 2016.

3. Objectives
The Award aims to stimulate emerging designers and artists to delve into the world of bioart and biodesign, and produce new work in close collaboration with prestigious Dutch Life Science institutes working in numerous fields such as sustainability, food, health, biotechnology and horticulture.

The Award aims to:

  • Ignite interest, excitement and debate about the Life Sciences through high-quality, original artistic practice.
  • Examine the social, cultural and ethical contexts of the Life Sciences through the arts.
  • Promote high-quality interdisciplinary practice and collaborations between art/ design and science/technology.

Funded projects must be true collaborations between artists/designers and researchers. Projects proposed for the Award must be new and not yet underway or fully realized.

4. Who can submit an application?
Young artists and designers with a keen interest in the Life Sciences and who graduated within the last five years in the field of art or design (at either the Masters or Bachelors level) and who are EU citizens may submit an application. Non-EU citizens can also apply, but due to practical considerations (travel expenses, visa rules) the preselection rules are somewhat different: see under 9.

Artists and designers that are winners of previous Designers & Artists 4 Genomics Awards or Bio Art & Design Awards are not eligible for this competition.

5. What do you submit?
Each participant can submit only one application for this call. The applications consist of a completed Bio Art & Design Award 2016 application form (including project idea) and CV and a portfolio of previous work. The application must be written in English.

Note that the application is a preliminary idea that, if a match is found with one of the participating Dutch Life Science institutes, a more detailed proposal will need to be developed jointly. A list of the participating Dutch Life Science institutes can be found on the website This list will be updated. There will be a maximum of 12 participating institutes.

6. What can you win?
Depending on the quality of the proposals, ZonMw may decide to grant three Awards of €25.000 each in 2016.

Some artists and designers who submit a proposal but who do not win an Award may still be invited by MU art space to exhibit their work in 2016 or later (at their own expense).

7. Procedure
The procedure is as follows:

  • Submission of applications by designers/artists by 1 February 2016;
  • Check on completeness of applications by ZonMw;
  • Preselection of maximally 16 applications in February. Selected applicants are invited to participate in the matchmaking event in The Hague, at their own expense. Applicants that are not selected will be informed about the reasons, but there is no possibility to object and make a formal appeal against the decision;
  • Matchmaking event on 11 March, in which max. 16 applicants pitch their ideas and have speed dates with the scientists from max. 12 Life Sciences institutes. Only non-EU residents may choose to participate in the matchmaking using Skype, but also have to prepare a self-explanatory slideshow or video.
  • Successful matches (when researchers and designers/artists clearly indicate a preference to collaborate with each other) are made known by ZonMw on 14 March. The participants without a successful match will be informed as well;
  • Between 15 March and 27 April matched artists/designers and scientists write a joint full proposal for the Award;
  • Deadline for joint full proposals is 28 April;
  • Jury meeting and interviews with the applicants (artists/designers/scientists) takes place on 20 May.
  • All applicants (EU and non-EU residents) must be present (pitch and be interviewed) at their own expense;
  • Award winners ceremony takes place on 20 May, the same day as the Jury meeting. All finalists pitch again for the audience. The director of ZonMW will use the prioritisation by the Jury and will grant maximally 3 Awards. The applicants who do not win an Award will receive the Jury reports later, but there is no possibility to object and make a formal appeal against the decision;
  • From June till November 2016 the Award winning proposals are realized by the artist/designers and scientists;
  • On 25 November the Bio Art & Design exhibit will be opened at MU art space, Strijp-S location Eindhoven (for 2 to 3 months);

8. Jury
The international Bio Art & Design Award jury consists of independent experts from the bioart & design world and the Life Sciences. In 2016 the chairman of the Jury will be William Myers (author of Biodesign and Bioart).

9. Criteria
>> Preselection of maximally 16 promising applications for the match making event.
The chairman of the Jury will make a decision after hearing representatives of NWO, ZonMw, MU and Waag Society

The decision is based on the following criteria:

  • quality of idea (originality and feasibility), varying from ++|+|+/-|–
  • quality of artist/designer (based on cv and portfolio), varying from ++|+|+/-|–
  • likelihood of finding a match with one of the participating Life Science institutes, varying from +|+/-|–

To limit unnecessary travel expenses only the most promising proposals are selected and the minimum scores for non-EU applicants are somewhat stricter than for EU-applicants. The minimum scores for preselection of non-EU applicants are: quality of idea +, quality of designer/artist ++, likelihood of match +. The minimum scores for EU applicants are: quality of idea +, quality of artist +, likelihood of match +/-. Only the top ranked applications will be selected.

>> Final selection of maximally 3 projects for the Bio Art & Design Award.
The Jury will make a prioritisation based on the written proposals, the pitch presentations by the artists/designers and the interviews with the teams. There are four criteria, each scored from Excellent| Very Good| Good| Mediocre:

  • quality of final plan (artistic/esthetic quality, originality and feasibility)
  • quality of artist/designer (competence, based on cv and portfolio, pitch and interview)
  • collaboration with science group (technological competence, interaction, availability of support staff and infrastructure)
  • societal impact artwork (potential public engagement)

The top ranked proposals will be selected, with an average score of minimally Very Good.

10. Special conditions
Special conditions that apply to the award:

  • The Award of € 25,000 is sufficient to realise the project.
  • A time frame of 6 months is sufficient to realise the project.
  • Working with genetically modified organisms is in general not possible. A permit to exhibit genetically modified organisms may take 6 months or more. Therefore a GMO permit must not be crucial for the realisation of the project.
  • New (still to be developed) biotechnology must not be crucial for the realisation of the project. Backup solutions should be available.
  • All applicants are available for the matchmaking event on Friday 11 March, at their own expense. Only non-EU residents may choose to participate in the matchmaking using skype, but also have to prepare a self explanatory slideshow or video.
  • All (EU and non-EU) finalists are available for the jury meeting and award ceremony on 20 May, at their own expense.
  • If awarded, the designer/artist is available for the Bio Art & Design Award project from June 2016-November 2016, at the expense of the project.
  • Any visa requirements are to be dealt with by the designer/artist.
  • The end result is ready before the MU exhibit opening on 25 November and exhibited there.
  • The applications are made known to the representatives of the collaborative partners involved (ZonMW, NWO, MU and Waag Society) as well as the Jury but they are treated confidentially. The artists and designers are the owners of the ideas.

11. Time table
A time table with events related to the award:

27 November 2015 Opening call Bio Art & Design Award
1 February 2016 Deadline applications artist/designers
February 2016 Preselection
11 March 2016 Match making event in the Hague
28 April 2016 Deadline full (joint) proposals
20 May 2016 Jury meeting and award ceremony
June 2016-November 2016 Project realisation
25 November 2016 Exhibit opening MU

12. Submission of application
The Bio Art & Design Award 2016 application form can be downloaded on the website Also find here the list of the twelve participating Dutch Life Science institutes.

Information about prior winning projects can be found in the Bio Art & Design magazine on this website as well.

The applications can be submitted starting 27 November 2015 (ultimately 1 February 2016) by online registration system at You will receive a confirmation of receipt no later than Tuesday 2 February 2016.

If you have questions, please contact .