About the Residency

Spend three months at Ginkgo working at the intersection of your creative discipline and synthetic biology.

At Ginkgo, we’re continually looking for innovative ways to design with biology. Multidisciplinary thinking has the power to catalyze critical insights into our shared futures on this planet and beyond, and so, as biology becomes easier to engineer, it makes sense to open up our foundry to creative collaboration. A joint initiative spearheaded and curated by Ginkgo Bioworks and Faber Futures, the Ginkgo Creative Residency (GCR) provides an experimental platform for creative thinkers to explore both the potential and implications of synthetic biology. That’s where you come in!

Visualization of a Biosensor Protein, 2018

What if we could re-design a world without waste?

When it comes to waste, nature remains a remarkable teacher. Even in the most complex of ecosystems, biology wastes nothing. How then do we learn from biology to re-design everything? For the 2019 Ginkgo Creative Residency, we are seeking proposals that explore how to re-design a world without waste.

An approach to synthetic biology that integrates whole systems thinking will play a pivotal role in a transition from a linear culture of produce/ consume/ discard, to one that is circular by design. Re-imagining waste might mean designing materials able to transform, industries without pollution, responsible business models, hybrid supply chains, renewable energy systems and economics working within planetary boundaries. Where integrating biology and design helps us to think holistically in systems, synthetic biology can equip us with the tools to design systems that are living. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, we’d like Ginkgo’s next creative resident to explore the problem of waste through the lens of biology.


We’re looking for creative individuals with a unique vision of the future based on original thinking. You’re someone who’s able to apply critical thinking to design-driven problem-solving, using our Foundry as your new context. You have experience collaborating with scientists, technologists and experts outside of your field. Be prepared to adapt to a new environment and to push the boundaries of your disciplinary expertise.


Through an open call process, we invite designers to submit a project proposal at the intersection of design, biology and society. But unlike our previous residencies, where proposals covered wide-ranging topics, we are focusing the 2019 residency on a vital question: How do we re-design a world without waste? We invite you to submit a design project proposal that explores this territory through the lens of biology.


Residents will retain copyright and ownership over work created at Ginkgo during their residency, sharing image usage rights with Ginkgo Bioworks.

Residents will receive a $5000 monthly stipend.

Project development budget will be based on project scope.

The Team

Your application will be evaluated by our core GCR team. If you are shortlisted you will be interviewed by the whole team. Each member of our team will provide mentorship during the shortlisting phase, and interact with you by way of crits and weekly check-ins throughout your time at Ginkgo. The GCR team is here to help you successfully develop and execute your design brief.

External Jury

This year, we have invited a panel of external jurors to contribute to the program. From urban materials flows to food waste, the jurors will offer critical perspectives on the complex and multifaceted topic of waste. Each member will take part in our shortlist evaluation process and provide mentorship during your residency.


  • We want to hear from you if you are a futures-oriented practitioner of materials, processes, products, interactions or systems. We welcome creative perspectives across analog, digital and biological realms. If you find it difficult to define your practice, we get it, so don’t be afraid to apply!
  • A well-developed understanding of the intersections of design and science is essential. Experience with biology and laboratory tools and processes is not required but is advantageous depending on what you hope to achieve during your time at Ginkgo.
  • You must be available to be resident at our headquarters in Boston, USA between 1st June to 31st August, 2019.
  • International applicants are welcome, and we will work with you to secure a visa if necessary, although we cannot offer any guarantees that it will be approved.
  • If you are shortlisted for an interview, we ask that you keep the week of the 15th of April free for an interview with the team and our external jurors (via Google Hangouts).
  • We also feel it’s important to point out the obvious here. There’s a serious lack of diversity in our industry, and that needs to change. Our goal is to help drive that change. We hope to continue to build an industry whose culture promotes inclusion and embraces how rewarding it is to work with people from all walks of life. We welcome proposals from people of all backgrounds, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, age, or ability.


Applications are now closed.

The residency start date is the 1st of June and the last date will be on the 31st of August.