Nature-Inspired Engineering

An ECI Conference

September 8-13, 2019
Grand Hotel San Michele
Cetraro (Calabria), Italy

Register Now!

Call for Poster Abstracts!   Deadlines:  Oral-  Closed   Poster-  August 7, 2019         

Preliminary Program                       Visa for Italy

List of Posters

Please send this link to colleagues who may be interested in the conference topic.

About This Conference

This first ECI Conference on Nature-Inspired Engineering will bring together practitioners and researchers from academia, national laboratories and industry, with interest in nature-inspired solutions for engineering. Nature-Inspired Engineering (NIE) is the application of fundamental scientific mechanisms, underpinning desirable properties observed in nature (e.g., resilience, scalability, efficiency), to inform the design of advanced technological solutions.

As illustrated by the many applications, from energy technology, catalysis and reactor engineering, to functional materials for the built environment, electronic or optical devices, biomedical and healthcare engineering, NIE has the opportunity to inform transformative solutions to tackle some of our most pressing challenges, as well as to be a pathway to innovation. Most work employing NIE is inherently cross-disciplinary, and builds on progress in fundamentals, analytical and computational tools, additive manufacturing and novel synthesis routes.

Unlike “biomimicry” in the narrow sense, the nature-inspired engineering approach advocates a methodological, thematic approach that incorporates an identified, superior natural mechanism into a nature-inspired design that is specifically adapted to suit a practical application, rather than imitating nature out of context or succumbing to superficial analogies.

Because underpinning mechanisms are so crucial to systematize the approach, the same mechanism-based themes of the Center for Nature Inspired Engineering (CNIE) will be used as a backbone, linking presentations in the conference: “Hierarchical Transport Networks, Force Balancing” and “Dynamic Self-Organization”. These themes are explained in more detail on the CNIE website (, which includes a link to the CNIE brochure. They were chosen because they lead to so many desired, but underutilized properties we observe in nature. Of course, some work may well employ a combination of these mechanisms, while other applications could borrow from still different mechanisms in nature that do not fit any of these three categories, so other mechanisms will be explored at the conference as well.

The conference will focus on the following application areas:

  • Scalable Manufacturing & Process Intensification
  • Built Environment: Construction, Architecture & Urban Design
  • Functional Materials
  • Biomedical & Healthcare Engineering
  • Energy & Environmental Technology
  • Robotics and Other Applications

NOTE:  The conference will include a moderated panel discussion and workshop, focusing on applications of nature-inspired engineering and translation to practice, which will involve industrial participants and engage industrial-academic exchange.

We look forward to your participation at the conference!

Keynote Speakers

(Please click on the name to view a research profile.)

Prof. Wilhelm Barthlott                                          
University of Bonn
Nees Institute for Biodiversity of Plants
Conference Topic Area:  Functional Materials
Presentation Title:  The Secret of Sacred Lotus: Superhydrophobic Surfaces as a Challenge for Novel Biomimetic Technical Applications

Prof. Bharat Bhushan                                       
Ohio State University
Dept. of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Conference Topic Area:  Functional Materials
Presentation Title:  Bioinspired mechanically durable superliquiphilic/phobic surfaces

Prof. Marc-Olivier Coppens                                       
University College London
Dept. of Chemical Engineering
Conference Topic:  Nature-inspired Chemical Engineering,
a Transformative Methodology for Innovation

Prof. Mark Cutkosky                                                        
Stanford University
Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
Conference Topic Area:  Robotics/Other Applications
Presentation Title:  Nature-Inspired Robotics for Physical Interaction with the World

Prof. Eugene Goldfield                                                         
Harvard University
Wyss Institute
Conference Topic Area:  Biomedical & Healthcare Engineering
Presentation Title:  Developmental Bioengineering

Prof. Klaus Lackner                                                   
Arizona State University
School of Sustainable Engineering
Conference Topic Area:  Energy & Environmental

Prof. Achim Menges                                              
University of Stuttgart
Inst. for Computational Design & Construction
Conference Topic Area:  Built Environment:
Construction, Architecture & Urban Design
Presentation Title:  Nature Inspired Architecture: Integrative Computational Design and Fabrication for Filamentous Structures

Prof. Yongmei Zheng
Beihang University                                                    
School of Chemistry
Laboratory of Bio-Inspired Science
Conference Topic Area: Functional Materials
Presentation Title: Bioinspired Micro/Nanostructured Surfaces with Wettability from Design to Functions

Conference Organization


Marc-Olivier Coppens, University College London,  Website 

Bharat Bhushan, Ohio State University  Website

Abstract Submission

One-page abstracts should be submitted as soon as possible and no later than the deadlines noted below.  The abstract should include both the significance of the research as well as results that will be discussed to allow a scientific assessment of the work by the organizers. Please indicate if the abstract is for an oral or poster presentation. Only a limited number of oral presentation slots are available.  Thus all submissions for oral presentations will be considered for both oral and poster.

Please indicate which application area is the best fit for your contribution on nature-inspired engineering:

  • Scalable Manufacturing & Process Intensification
  • Built Environment: Construction, Architecture & Urban Design
  • Functional Materials
  • Biomedical & Healthcare Engineering
  • Energy & Environmental Technology
  • Robotics and Other Applications

Deadline for abstracts for oral presentations:                     Closed
Deadline for abstracts for poster presentations:                 August 7, 2019

Please prepared your abstract according to this template: docx or doc.

All abstracts should be submitted electronically and submissions must follow the template provided at this link.

ECI will sponsor a poster competition for the Best Student Poster and Best Overall Poster.

Selected papers will be featured among world-leading research in a dedicated virtual issue of the molecular engineering journal MSDE, published on a not-for-profit basis by the Royal Society of Chemistry”

Major Sponsors

19AB MSDE Logo IF_EiC_Chair_540x200_ME

Sponsor Opportunities

Please click HERE to view the various opportunities to be a sponsor.

Conference Venue

Cetraro and Grand Hotel San Michele

Cetraro Marina, a pleasant seaside resort is about two km from the Cetraro Commune of which it is a part.  The ancient Citrarium (name derived from the abundant citrus cultivation in the area) was a center of the Bruzi rising between Paola and Capo Bonifati.  Its coast location offers many interesting boat excursions.

The picturesque Grand Hotel San Michele ( is situated on the Tyrrhenian Coast, 120 meters above the Mediterranean Sea, with a fantastic view of Calabria’s southern coast.  It offers visitors one of the prettiest locations Southern Italy has to offer and is considered by many to be one of Calabria’s finest hotels.  Its beach (120 meters below the cliffs) is accessible only by a private special elevator.  The hotel has a swimming pool, driving range, tennis court, minigolf, piano bar and billiard room.

The hotel is surrounded by an organic farm that provides the hotel with fresh organic food.  Vegetables, fruits, olive oil, wine, milk, cheese, daily laid eggs, lamb, veal and pork meat, homemade jams and preserves are all produced on San Michele Hotel’s premises.

The acreage upon which the hotel is situated is also a bird sanctuary, where bird lovers from around Italy come to observe migratory patterns.

The maximum number of people that can be hosted in the hotel is about 80; however, there are other hotels in the area and the hotel can arrange pickups.


Cetraro (Calabria), Italy

Air: The Lamezia Airport (SUF) is 75 km from the hotel.  The hotel can arrange for pick-ups.  The airport is served by Alitalia, Delta, Lufthansa and many others.

The hotel can arrange transportation from the Lamezia Airport.  The costs are:

  • Car (up to three passengers) – 90 euro each way (shared by the passengers)
  • Minibus (up to eight passengers) – 122 euro each way (shared by the passengers)

Please note that for night shuttle services (between 1.00 am and 5.00 am) there is a 30€ supplement.

More details will be posted in mid-July.

Train: The Paola Railway station is about 21 km from the hotel by ItaliaRail.

Auto: Use the Motorway Roma – Caserta Sud – Salarno – Lagonegro Nord – Fondo Valle Noce.  (293 km)

Conference Fees and Registration

Conference Fees

All conference fees are inclusive. They include registration, accommodations (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights), all meals and taxes from dinner on Sunday through breakfast on Friday. The hotel will bill Incidental fees (minibar, laundry, etc.) to your personal account.

ALL PARTICIPANTS (including members of the organizing committee and invited speakers) ARE REQUIRED TO REGISTER.

The conference fees are:

Register on or before August 1, 2019 Register after August 1, 2019
Participant (single occupancy or sharing room with a guest; guest fee additional) US $1,825.00 US $2,025.00
Participant (sharing a room with another participant) US $1,675.00 US $1,875.00
Bona fide Graduate Student (sharing a room with another student) (Those in this category must send proof of current status – copy of current Student ID can be faxed to 1-212-514-6030 or emailed to US $1,260.00 US $1,460.00
**Fees for Guest/accompanying person sharing bedroom with single occupancy participant. (A guest badge will be issued and this fee includes all conference meals.) US $670.00 US $670.00

If you plan to bring children to the conference, please contact ECI ( for pricing.

Conference Registration

You will need a login name and password to register for ECI conferences through our online system. If you have been a recent participant at an ECI conference or have submitted an online application or request for information about an ECI Conference, you may already have an account with us. If you know your login information, please use it.

If you are not certain if you already have a login and password, please click on automated password retrieval and enter your e-mail address before creating a new account. If we do not have a valid email address on file for you, a pop up window will appear stating that no records were located. Click “OK” and then follow the instructions to create a new account.

If you have any questions or experience any difficulties, please email

Pre-and Post-Conference Reservations

If you are planning to arrive early (before September 8 or to stay after the conference (after September 13), you MUST make hotel reservations directly with the hotel.  Use the appropriate form on THIS PAGE to make your reservations.

Special Notes for Payment

We suggest that you register as soon as possible to be certain that you will have a hotel room at the conference rate.  Late registrations will be accepted on a space available basis and late registrants may be housed in a nearby hotel.

All participants are encouraged to register before August 1, 2019.  There is a discounted price for registering before this date.  Hotel space cannot be guaranteed for registrations received after this date.  Your registration is not officially confirmed until we receive payment of the amount due.  ECI reserves the right to cancel your room registration if payment is not received. Your invoice/receipt will automatically be e-mailed upon of receipt of your registration.  Should you need a signed receipt, please contact Kathy Chan (

Because of contractual guarantees made with the hotel for room and meal functions, no shows, late arrivals, missed meals and early departures cannot receive fee adjustments.  If you have a disability and may require accommodation in order to participate fully in this conference, please indicate this when you register. An ECI representative will contact you to discuss your specific needs. If you have special dietary requirements (e.g., vegetarian or a food allergy), please make a note on your registration.  The chef needs to know this information in advance if we are to accommodate you. ECI will attempt to accommodate special requests such as Kosher or Halal meals, but such meals may not be available at all conference sites. The participant must pay any additional costs for special meal requests to ECI.

Payment must be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, and Amex), check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. dollars, payable to ENGINEERING CONFERENCES INTERNATIONAL. Checks or money orders in any other currencies are NOT ACCEPTABLE.  Payment must be made on the web site except for those who are sending payment by wire transfer or have a purchase order from their company/institution.

WIRE TRANSFER PAYMENT: If you are planning to make payment by wire transfer, please contact ECI for the bank information. You must add $30 to cover ECI bank charges. Please reference your full name and the conference title.  Either fax a copy of your bank transfer papers to ECI (Fax: +1-212-514-6030) or email a scanned copy to  This is very important – otherwise it is extremely difficult to trace your payment and you may not receive a receipt prior to the conference.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation must be received by ECI in writing at least 28 days prior to the start of the conference in order for a full refund (less a processing fee) to be considered. The ECI auditors require that refunds for all conference cancellations be processed after the conference so that the necessary back-up information (e.g., hotel list of those in-house) can be attached to the refund request and ECI can verify that the hotel has not charged a cancellation fee.

Cancellation fees:

  • Cancellations received more than 28 days prior to the conference start date are subject to a processing fee of 4% of the total fee, plus any direct expenses incurred by ECI.
  • Cancellations received 15 – 28 days prior to the conference start date are subject to a $250 cancellation fee plus any direct expenses incurred by ECI.
  • Cancellations received 8 – 14 days prior to the conference start date are subject to a $500 cancellation fee plus any direct expenses incurred by ECI.
  • No refunds will be issued for cancellations received less than 7 days prior to the conference start date.
  • No refunds will be issued due to inclement weather or travel disruptions/cancellations.

Registrations may be transferred without incurring any penalty or cancellation fee.

Denied or delayed visa

If a participant is forced to cancel due to a denied or delayed entry visa, ECI will issue a full refund if ECI has been notified of a potential visa issue at least four weeks prior to the conference start date.

Change of payment method

If an attendee who has already paid the conference fee with a credit card requests that the fee be refunded to that card so that it can be paid in a different manner (e.g., charged to an alternate credit card, or paid via check or bank transfer), a processing fee of 4% of the total fee amount will apply.


It may be necessary for reasons beyond the control of ECI to alter the content and timing of the program or the identity of the speakers. In the unfortunate circumstance that an event is cancelled, ECI is not liable for any costs incurred by participants in connection with their attendance.

Smoking is prohibited at ECI conferences and conference functions.

Should you have specific questions regarding your registration, please contact Kathy Chan (

Preliminary Program

Click on This Link to view the preliminary program.

List of Posters

Register Now!

Please use THIS LINK to register for this conference.

General Information About ECI

Engineering Conferences International (ECI) is a global engineering conferences program, originally established in 1962, that provides opportunities for the exploration of problems and issues of concern to engineers and scientists from many disciplines.

The format of the weeklong research conference provides morning and late afternoon or evening sessions in which major presentations are made. Available time is included during the afternoons for ad hoc meetings, informal discussions, and/or recreation. This format is designed to enhance rapport among participants and promote dialogue on the development of the meeting. We believe that the conferences have been instrumental in generating ideas and disseminating information to a greater extent than is possible through more conventional forums.

All participants are expected both to attend the entire conference and to contribute actively to the discussions. The recording/photographing of lectures and presentations is forbidden. As ECI conferences take place in an informal atmosphere, casual clothing is the usual attire.

Engineering Conferences International
32 Broadway, Suite 314, New York, NY 10004
T: 1-212-514-6760 F: 1-212-514-6030 E: