Intensive program for learners 2: Artificial biology - building biology and processes within a sustainability framework (A5)

The 5-day transdisciplinary workshop for students will be a shared responsibility by Aalto University and Trento University. It will be hosted by Aalto University and its Biofilia Laboratory in Helsinki. All the consortia partner organizations will send students to this workshop, which will have components of scientific and artistic research and learning. This workshop will take place in a laboratory environment. The focus of the workshop is on a topic that has a relation to all the fields present in the ABRA project. The workshop will explore the question of energy from various scientific and artistic perspectives: e.g. protocell research and energy, microbial fuel cell research and experiments, energy use and production in robotics, biofuel, energy as a concept within contemporary society and its challenges in a sustainable future, and notions about energy and post-fossil-fuel culture from the arts and humanities. The workshop will include lectures, practice-based work and project-idea development. The project-ideas will be discussed and critically evaluated from a sustainable / Circular Economy perspective - as well as their feasibility for realization for the final exhibition in Hungary will be assessed. Students will be given a day of lectures to introduce the fundamental principles of artificial biology. Historical and technical background will be presented. Interspersed with the lectures, particular discussion topics will be introduced. Students will have hands-on training in three modules: 1) making simplified actuated fluids, 2) performing experiments with 3D printed fluidic devices to produce the actuated fluids, and 3) designing, printing and testing of custom fluidic devices. Finally participants will engage in focused discussions on how the design principles of artificial biology such as dynamics and embodiment can be applied across disciplines, particularly in sustainability.


Completing this workshop participants are able: a) to understand the basic principles in artificial biology b) to apply these principles to the design of systems in a broader context c) to perform basic experiments in the field of artificial biology and 3D printing.

The activities will contribute to the Intellectual Output 2, 4 and 5:

  1. IO2 - Course guide on transdisciplinary teaching and learning.
  2. IO4 - What trans-knowledge looks like / Exhibition in Hungary.
  3. IO5 - the Joint Master Degree Curriculum for Erasmus+ application.


The workshop participants will be MA/MSc/PhD students from each of the strategic partners. The students are selected primarily based on their motivation and capacity to contribute and work with integration of the artistic and scientific aspects and perspectives. It will be considered an advantage if the selected students have already participated in the ABRA-project activities.