http://www.scidev.net/objects_store/thumbnail/F35830A83D5BCA82C76B2A44B5B51995.jpg

The developing world is not far behind

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Marcus Rose/Panos

Nature pitched as source of innovation in poor countries

by Barbara Axt

“The developing world is not far behind — and may even be further ahead in dealing with some problems.” George Whitesides, Harvard University

Speed read

  • ‘Bioinspiration’ means taking ideas from nature and turning them into technical innovation
  • This way of doing science could help poor countries be more competitive in research
  • But bioinspiration may be impractical to approach some problems

Scientists in developing countries should look for inspiration in their unique environments instead of trying to replicate European and US methods, a meeting at the United Kingdom’s Royal Society has heard.

George Whitesides, a chemistry professor at Harvard University in the United States, told the London meeting on 27 May that systems and structures in nature can be starting points for technological innovations that are both efficient and useful. Whitesides said that his own work on soft robotics was inspired by observing octopus and other invertebrates, and that developing countries have access to a wealth of similar sources of innovation.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.