Buildings are integral to human life. However, the way we presently create and use the built environment causes problems that threaten not only future human prosperity, but also the very stability of life on the planet. If society is to continue to thrive and prosper, we need a better approach to creating a built environment that acknowledges, learns from, incorporates, and contributes to natural systems. BioBuild is a new doctoral program that answers this pressing societal need by bringing biology into building science, engineering, and design.
The BioBuild doctoral program will develop professionals with the interdisciplinary expertise necessary to create buildings and communities that are bio-inspired and bio-integrative. Our graduates will have an immediate impact in university and industrial settings, and will change the relationship between the built environment and our planet. We approach this through a radical shift in how we understand buildings by bringing together faculty from departments in CAUS, CNRE, COE and COS and collaborating with interdisciplinary university centers to develop a program that explores building systems and biological systems synergistically to discover innovative connections between these two fields and to better understand those that already exist. Our specific goals are to: (1) offer a PhD program at the confluence of biology and the built environment whose students will undergo a transformation as they progress from a disciplinary perspective to one where their views are naturally and inherently tied to the phenomena and tools that they have studied in an interdisciplinary environment; (2) produce graduates who obtain highly competitive academic and industry positions because their abilities to view grand challenges in the built and natural environments through an interdisciplinary lens gives them a competitive edge; and (3) place Virginia Tech as a global thought leader in this emerging area.