Frank Kolkman

Designs For Flies

The project

Designs for Flies offers new possibilities for research into rare illness. It is often not cost-effective for pharmaceutical companies to develop medicines for them. This is a real problem for patients and calls their healing process to a halt. With this toolkit it is possible to transfer the research to the patients. Using fruit flies as ‘Guinee pigs’ large-scale tests can be performed that are adapted to the personal characteristics of the patient.


A designer as a catalyser for an entirely new approach to pharmaceutical research: that is impressive. Kolkman worked with renowned scientific institutes, but also involved patients in the research, to the advantage of all parties. Designs for Flies breaks open a field and accelerates research methods. Although it is still in a preliminary phase, the committee sees a promising and pioneering project here that can effectuate great advances.


Frank Kolkman’s Designs for Flies demonstrates the added value of involving designers at an early stage in the development of new medical products or services. One of the project’s strengths is the way it involves patients, restoring their sense of value, and giving them a degree of control over their treatment and progress. Designs for Flies is a promising prototype that, in collaboration with scientists and patients, spotlights the need for new approaches to drug research.

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