Biosphere Research Institute

What is BIOSRI?


The idea for BIOSRI came from a frustrated academic, Dr Keith Skene, who felt that the specialized, isolated and reductionist world of much academic thinking was failing to explore adequately the challenges and solution space relating to the major issues facing our world today. BIOSRI attempts to create space to think, and encourage thinkers to explore beyond their immediate neighbourhoods (see OUR AIMS for more on this).

 The Biosphere is the sum of all life on our planet.  It is not just an addition process however. The Biosphere represents an organizational unit of life, and is the largest organizational unit, the smallest being an organism (anything smaller does not constitute a life form). 

In order to solve the significant problems facing us at present, our solutions must not be isolationist, focusing only on individuals, but must be understood at every level of organization (individual, population, ecosystem, biome and biosphere).  Ultimately, it is the Biosphere that must be understood, in terms of its structure, functioning, and response, if we are to find solutions that have resonance with the systems we wish to sustain. 

Sustainability, ultimately, doesn’t operate at the individual level, but at the Biosphere level. It's a bit like a car.  You might have the most wonderful, ergonomically-designed, sustainable steering wheel in the world, but if the whole car doesn’t work then it won’t get you very far! Yet we have become focused on the "steering wheels" and forgotten about the greater context.

The Biosphere Research Institute aims to promote thinking that can fundamentally awaken us to the context of our lives, in terms of our identities, our activities and our responsibilities, allowing us to recognize the limitations we unconsciously exist within, and then to liberate us to think beyond these structures, freeing ourselves from what Francis Bacon referred to as the idols, or illusions, of the tribe, den, marketplace and theatre (

The Biosphere Research Institute is a place for thinkers to think and share thoughts, a meeting place for many different schools of thought, where you can drop by and spend as long as you want.  Whatever your individual context, student, artist, designer, planner, engineer or journalist, this is a place that you can step into, from your usual daily grind, and find some inspiration for a particular problem, share some new insight that you have gained or meet some other thinkers for a virtual coffee. Explore BIOSRI and you to see what we can offer you.  What you use it for is really up to you.

Why virtual?

BIOSRI is a virtual institute, deliberately designed without buildings, property, profit or any other symbol of power, authority or control.  This also greatly reduces our footprint on the environment, in terms of habitat destruction, carbon budget, and exploitation of the material fabric of a traditional, built environment.