Resources of workshop on transdisciplinarity between biology and engineering by Prof. Julian Vincent
Post: 2021-01-04 09:30  View:3586

This workshop can be used as a study file for a single person or, with more people, as a class exercise. In the latter case, I have run classes of 20-35 with 3 to 5 people in a group, each group taking one of the projects. If the mix of students is suitable, each group should have at least one biologist and one engineer.

The tutor should read all the notes and the paper by Vincent (2017). This gives sufficient information to run the workshop, but there are some extra references below. The workshop should be opened with the slide show. The Notes plus the information in Vincent (2017) is sufficient at this stage. The “Projects and sources” file contains full references to the papers included in the “TradeOff Corpus” folders.

In their groups, the students now identify the trade-offs (TOP) and their resolution (IP) using the references provided. They may search the literature to find more examples of the trade-off or to explore the principles outlined in the resolutions. They should be encouraged to generalise the resolutions and explore the connections between them. The identifications of TOPs and IPs given in the tutor notes are not necessarily definitive, but the students should be prepared to defend their choices.

In the final part of the workshop, one of the members of each group gives an account of the solution to the problem, showing how it was derived from the Inventive Principles their group identified. It is important that the IPs should be used in preference to any existing technology used in the solution of the chosen problem.

Please contact me - - for information, help, ideas, next steps, etc.

The resources are listed below in five folders. 

Folder 1 contains Word documents introducing the Workshop with basic information

Folder 2 (a or b) contains a slide show introducing technology transfer and trade-offs

Folder 3 contains all the literature you need for the Workshop

Folder 4 contains lists of descriptors of trade-offs and of the principles that resolve them


1.  Workshop Guides (Folder) 

      Projects and sources

      Tutor notes

      How to discover trade-offs

Workshop Guide (80 kb).zip

2a. Script and Slides for PC (Folder)

      Wood wasp drill trade-off.pptx


Notes and Slides for PC (8.5 Mb).zip

2b. Script and Slides for Mac (Folder)

      Wood wasp drill trade-off.key


Notes and Slides for Mac (11.7 Mb).zip

3.  TradeOff Corpus (Folder)

a.TradeOff Corpus (32 Mb).zip

b.TradeOff Corpus (29 Mb).zip

4.  TOP & IP (Folder)

      Inventive Principles (diagrams)

      Trade-Off Parameters (diagrams)

      TOPs and IPs.xlsx

      Copy of TOPs and IPs.xlsx


Trade-Off Parameters and Inventive Principles (7.5 Mb).zip

Read, M.N., K. Alden, L.M. Rose, and J. Timmis. 2016. Automated multi-objective calibration of biological agent-based simulations. J R Soc Interface. 13. Read, M.N., K. Alden, L.M. Rose, and J. Timmis. 2016. Automated multi-objective calibration of biological agent-based simulations. J R Soc Interface. 13.

Hausser, J., A. Mayo, L. Keren, and U. Alon. 2019. Central dogma rates and the trade-off between precision and economy in gene expression. Nature communications. 10:68.

Ferenci, T. 2016. Trade-off mechanisms shaping the diversity of bacteria. Trends Microbiol. 24:209-223.

Vrugt, J.A., J. van Belle, and W. Bouten. 2007. Pareto front analysis of flight time and energy use in long-distance bird migration. Journal of Avian Biology. 38:432-442.

Shoval, O., H. Sheftel, G. Shinar, Y. Hart, O. Ramote, A. Mayo, E. Dekel, K. Kavanagh, and U. Alon. 2012. Evolutionary trade-offs, Pareto optimality, and the geometry of phenotype space. Science. 336:1157-1160.

Kennedy, M.C. 2008. Multi-objective optimization for ecological model assessment and theory development. Vol. PhD. University of Washington.

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