• Best female speaker in the “Top 50 of the best female speakers list”, the Drum, January 2018
  • One of the “Top 50 Creative Leaders driving change in the world at large”, Creative Review, June 2017
  • One of the “Top 50 inspirational women in architecture and design”, Dezeen, March 2017
  • Nominated 3 times as one of the “150 Female Creative Leaders 2017, redefining the creative industries”, The Dots, March 2017
  • Dr. Ben Hayoun has a Barbie doll and a Lego made of herself
  • Director and founder of the postgraduate University of the Underground- world’s first tuition free university and charity based under the urban space teaching unconventional research practices; Design of Experiences and connecting ‘dreamers of the day’
  • Research Director at the design institute A/D/O in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NYC since 2017
  • Dr. Ben Hayoun has two dopplegangers who work with her to appear at multiple places at the same time
  • Indiewire SXSW Highlights Women filmmaker, 2015, Indiewire
  • Nominated for a VISION Award at SXSW 2015, SXSW
  • WIRED Innovation Fellow 2014, WIRED
  • United Nations Advisor since 2015
  • Chief of Experiences at WeTransfer since 2013
  • Member of the Space Outreach and Education Committee at the International Astronautical Federation since 2013
  • Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London Teaching Award, 2016
  • Woman of the Year Achievement Award, finalist 2015
  • SETI Institute Designer of Experiences since 2013
  • Best of The Year 2016 and 2017 by the Metropolitan Museum (MET), 2016 and 2017
  • Advisory board member at AIGA (American Institute for Graphic Arts) in Los Angeles since 2015
  • Director and founder of the International Space Orchestra in NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute since 2011
  • One of the 50 international designers ‘shaping the future’, ICON 2013

Dubbed the ‘Willy Wonka of Design and Science’, award-winning Director and Designer of Experiences Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun is a critical explorer and activist. In 2014 WIRED magazine awarded her with a WIRED Innovation Fellowship for her work to date and its ‘significant impact on the world’ whilst in 2013, Icon Magazine touted Dr. Ben Hayoun as one of the 50 international designers ‘shaping the future’. Additionally, in 2015, she was nominated for a Women of the Year Achievement Award which rewards, since 1955, women ‘who have made a significant achievement’ and ‘are being recognised for their strides in making the world a better place’. Nelly is Designer of Experiences at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, Chief of Experiences at WeTransfer, a member of the Space Outreach and Education Committee at the International Astronautical Federation, a United Nations Advisor to the UN VR (Virtual Reality) labs, an advisory board member at AIGA (American Institute for Graphic Arts) in Los Angeles, she is the Research Director at the Design Institute A/D/O in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and a visiting professor at the Royal College of Arts and the Architectural Association. In 2016, she was awarded with Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London Teaching award. 

Nelly assembled and directs the International Space Orchestra (ISO) – the world first orchestra of space scientists and astronauts from NASA and through this has collaborated with Grammy award-winning musicians such as Beck, Damon AlbarnBobby WomackThe Prodigy, Penguin Café, Ed Banger Records, Savages and most recently Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós.

She is a keynote speaker and has spoken worldwide about the value of experiential design practices in the context of outreach, community and education. Her work has been exhibited at the National Museum of China, MOMA, V&A and other leading design institutions.

Dr. Ben Hayoun is the author and director of two feature length movies. She was awarded one of the UK largest artistic awards, The Arts Council England Exceptional Award for her feature-length movie Disaster Playground. Disaster Playground is following the chain of command in place in the event of hazardous asteroid impacting the earth. It was nominated for a Vision Award at SXSW 2015 and is distributed worldwide on Netflix North America and other digital platforms.

Nelly and her studio have also worked and consulted for the likes of world-class clients including NASA, BBC, Lego, the Guardian, XL Recordings, AIGA (American Institute for Graphic Arts) and Mattel amongst many others. Her latest project; The Life the Sea and the Space Viking, bringing together space scientists and Vikings in a boat to collect form of life for outer space colonisation was selected as one of the Best of The Year series 2016 by the Metropolitan Museum in NYC.

In 2017, Dr. Ben Hayoun has launched with academic partner the Sandberg Instituut, the University of the Underground, a tuition free postgraduate university based in the underground of the urban spaces in London and Amsterdam, composed of dreamers of the day and supporting unconventional research practices. 

Nelly received her MA with distinction from the Royal College of Arts in Design Interactions, she holds a PhD in Geography (Human geography and political philosophy) from Royal Holloway, University of London. Dr. Ben Hayoun and her dopplegangers currently split their time between Mountain View, London, Amsterdam and New York City.