Melissa Sterry Design Scientist, Systems Theorist, Biofuturist | The Dots

Melissa Sterry

Design Scientist, Systems Theorist, BiofuturistUnited Kingdom
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Melissa Sterry

Design Scientist, Systems Theorist, BiofuturistUnited Kingdom
About me
Design scientist Dr. Melissa Sterry is recognised as a world leading authority on the science, technology and thinking that could help build a brighter future. A design practice graduate, her career has been spent working with leading-edge researchers and practitioners, of which the past twenty years have been at executive board-level. She is a recipient of several national and international innovation, creativity and enterprise awards, including the Mensa Education and Research Foundation International Award for enhancing intelligence that benefits society, Melissa is listed in the 'Libertine 100’ women with complex, beautiful and potentially world-changing ideas. Her past and present academic activities include visiting lecturer, visiting fellow, assembly member, workshop host, Masters thesis supervisor, and guest critic at several leading European architecture and design research institutes, including The Bartlett, Ravensbourne, University of Innsbruck, University of the Arts London, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, AA School of Architecture, and University of Salford. The culmination of a several-year transdisciplinary study at the Advanced Virtual and Technological Architecture Research [AVATAR] group, London, her PhD posits the potential for developing urban resilience to wildfires through the creation of complex adaptive architectural systems that mimic the biochemistries, behaviours, and relationships of fire-adapted flora and fauna species. The thesis and its legacy research and publishing works are shared through digital open access project Panarchic Codex® [est. 2018]. Melissa is the founder/director of London-based biofuturism consultancy Bioratorium® [est. 2019], and its lab Labioratorium®, and of Bionic City® [est. 2010], which asks “how would nature design a city?” and explores the potential of biomimetics, biotechnology and biology in the built environment in the now, near and far future. Developing original research, concepts and creative works, Bionic City® has attracted a global community of interest and has collaboration and co-creation partners worldwide. Her earliest interrogations dating to the early 90s, Melissa has 25+ years experience in researching and developing original biodesign, biomimetic, biofabrication, and biotechnology concepts across fields including textiles, fashion, architecture, construction, urban planning and infrastructure. Melissa is published in 60+ international scientific, industry and consumer journals, magazines, and books, including the Global Innovation Science Handbook, for which she authored the chapter on Biomimetics. Melissa has contributed as a scientific committee member, peer-reviewer, and editorial board member to several leading scientific, sustainability, and built environment journals, conferences, and societies worldwide. She is a jury member of several international design, architecture, and arts awards including the International Design Awards and The Rookies International Awards. Her previous works include founding the award-winning sustainability think tank and collaborative laboratory Societás [2004 - 2010]; co-founding award-winning catalyst for rapid innovation in sustainable design, New Frontiers [2009 - 2010]; co-founding the world's first online digital visual arts awards, Creative Graduate Prize [2004-2010] and Iconique Societás Awards [2007-2010]. Having founded her first creative business in her early 20s, she has also served as an executive/non-executive director, board-level advisor, and founder mentor to several first-to-market start-ups in fields including digital publishing, marketing, comms, media, music, and events, amongst others.
  • Societás
    Founded in 2004 as a creative catalyst, Societás comprised a multi award-winning sustainability innovation think tank, collaborative laboratory and strategic consultancy, which brought together world-class international creative and intellectual talent to co-create groundbreaking projects in design, media and the visual arts.
  • Iconique Societás Awards
    The world's first online fashion arts awards, co-founded by Melissa and Dutch creative director Joost van Gorsel, Iconique Societás Awards brought the global spotlight to the very best emerging international talent in fashion photography, illustration, and styling. A joint venture between top-10 fashion zine Iconique and Societás, the awards attracted entries from several continents and coverage in China, Japan, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, USA, Canada and Europe.
  • Creative Graduate Prize
    The world's first online visual arts awards, Creative Graduate Prize kick-started the careers of talented emerging visual artists worldwide, bringing their work to the attention of international leaders in the creative industries. Categories spanned photography, painting, illustration, installation, short film and digital media. Supported by pioneering visual arts magazines, institutes, networks and galleries globally, the prize attracted entries and media coverage from several continents. Winne
  • New Frontiers
    New Frontiers was an award-winning interdisciplinary collaborative innovation programme that provided opportunities and stimulus for new sustainable design, running a number of seminars on the subject and facilitating online conversations through social media. Its 20 knowledge-sharing partners included Royal Society of Chemistry, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Centre for Construction Innovation, Chemicals Northwest and the universities of Manchester, Loughborough and Salford. The initiativ
  • Bionic City®
    Bionic City® seeks to answer the question “how would nature design a city?” and examines the potential of biomimetics, biotechnology and biology in the built environment in the now, near and far future. Bionic City® creates its own original research, concepts and creative works, while also serving as an platform for collaborating and co-creating with leading interdisciplinary scientists, designers, architects, technologists, and artists worldwide. More information can be found at www.bioniccity.
  • Panarchic Codex®
    Positing the potential for developing urban and peri-urban resilience to wildfires through the creation of complex adaptive architectural, material, and information systems that mimic the biochemistries, behaviours, and relationships of fire-adapted flora and fauna species, and the ecosystems they form.
Work history
    Founder/DirectorBioratorium® / Labioratorium®
    London, United KingdomFull Time
    Biofuturism consultancy Bioratorium® and its lab Labioratorium® serve to interrogate the possible future potentialities of bio-informed, bio-inspired, and bio-enabled science, technology, engineering, and design both within and beyond the built environment. Helping clients to identify possible opportunities and risks, including new products, markets, and business models, Bioratorium® offers services including scenario planning, horizon scanning and trend identification, analysis, and extrapolation; speculative design and design fictions; workshops and lectures; strategic advisories, and project mentoring.
  • Design Research
  • Academic Research
  • Research
  • Creative Research
  • Architectural Research
  • Design
  • Architectural Design
  • Biology
  • Environment
  • Enviromental Design