This first ECI Conference on Nature-Inspired Engineering will bring together practitioners and researchers from academia, national laboratories and industry, with interest in nature-inspired solutions for engineering. Nature-Inspired Engineering (NIE) is the application of fundamental scientific mechanisms, underpinning desirable properties observed in nature (e.g., resilience, scalability, efficiency), to inform the design of advanced technological solutions. As illustrated by the many applications, from energy technology, catalysis and reactor engineering, to functional materials for the built environment, electronic or optical devices, biomedical and healthcare engineering, NIE has the opportunity to inform transformative solutions to tackle some of our most pressing challenges, as well as to be a pathway to innovation. Most work employing NIE is inherently cross-disciplinary, and builds on progress in fundamentals, analytical and computational tools, additive manufacturing and novel synthesis routes. Unlike “biomimicry” in the narrow sense, the nature-inspired engineering approach advocates a methodological, thematic approach that incorporates an identified, superior natural mechanism into a nature-inspired design that is specifically adapted to suit a practical application, rather than imitating nature out of context or succumbing to superficial analogies. Because underpinning mechanisms are so crucial to systematize the approach, the same mechanism-based themes of the Center for Nature Inspired Engineering (CNIE) will be used as a backbone, linking presentations in the conference: “Hierarchical Transport Networks”, “Force Balancing” and “Dynamic Self-Organization”. These themes are explained in more detail on the CNIE website (http://www.cnie.org.uk), which includes a link to the CNIE brochure. They were chosen because they lead to so many desired, but underutilized properties we observe in nature. Of course, some work may well employ a combination of these mechanisms, while other applications could borrow from still different mechanisms in nature that do not fit any of these three categories, so other mechanisms will be explored at the conference as well.