The 48 hours long hacking marathon proved to be an innovative way to find solutions for some of the most pressing smart health and digitalisation challenges Europe faces today. 520 participants from all over Europe signed up for the hackathon, from which TOP20 teams from 26 countries got a pass to the finals to compete for the winner’s position of Data 4 Healthy Recovery hackathon.
With an emphasis on smart health solutions, this hackathon was brought together to help European companies and organisations reshape their business models, products, and processes and create new business opportunities recovering from the COVID19 crisis.48 hour-long hacking marathon brought interesting solutions for 9 significant smart health challenges where the competing teams had a chance to build their innovative ideas into prototypes with the help of professional mentors and industry leaders of the field.
Preparations started at the beginning of the year
Preparations for the hackathon started early at the beginning of the year with the official launch event of the hackathon on the 27th of February opened by Ms. Maive Rute, the Deputy Director-General of the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission.
The programme searched for participants with diverse skill sets and registration was open for visionaries, developers, designers, data scientists, marketing specialists, engineers, entrepreneurs, start-ups, scale-ups, and other industry experts interested in the project.
Altogether, the hackathon gathered 520 participants from all across Europe and countries participating in the Commission’s COSME programme, providing 46 innovative smart health ideas for the hackathon.
Choosing the most pressing smart health challenges to hack about
To support the competing teams, various European companies, clusters, organisations, and universities active in the smart health sector were engaged to pick up the most pressing smart health challenges hackathon participants could help to solve.
There were TOP9 challenges chosen for the hackathon to be pursued at the final event. Read further about the details of each challenge and about the challenge partners from the links below.
#data4EUrecovery hackathon challenges and challenge partners:
Personalised predictive medicine - by Estonian Biobank
Safe workplace of the future - by Spaceti
Medical products development and manufacturing streamlining - by EuropaBio
Public space safety for customers - by Certific and Bolt
Safe use of medical data - by Digital Pharma Lab
Smart mental health solutions for employees - by Janssen and Minddistrict
Well-being in the remote work era - by Psious
- Real-time health monitoring and remote care - by Roche
It was great cooperation with all the challenge partners above who provided hands-on guidance and mentoring in the business and technical aspects of the solution development. Many of them will also support the teams with post-hackathon support either with further mentoring or helping the teams to pilot their solutions in real life.
Darren Kinsella (
Manager, Healthcare Biotechnology at EuropaBio) being one of the challenge partners and jury members commented on the hackathon as following:
“If I could sum up the whole experience in one word, that word would be REFRESHING. We often talk about funding and supporting innovation, but nothing quite beats witnessing so many talented entrepreneurs in action, all gathered in one digital environment, working on really great projects that can turn into real game-changers.”
Hackathon and the winners
On 18 June the hackathon was officially kicked off with the Opening Ceremony and the teams were sent to build their ideas into the prototypes with 2 days of heavy workshops. 48hours full of brainstorming sessions, interesting talks, mentoring from top-notch industry players, and heavy teamwork culminated on 20 June where the teams had to submit their demos for the jury members.
An international jury of the hackathon selected the winners from among the TOP20 projects meeting 4 main criteria: the strength of the team, prototype development process, the impact of the idea, and the sustainability of the business model.
One of the jury members, Roman Savchenko (Chief Strategy Officer at VITech) pointed out that further development of tech solutions within the healthcare domain will be crucial for humankind to survive. The COVID-19 was just the beginning as our world has become truly global during the recent few decades. He was also impressed with the level of the projects pre-selected for the Final competition and that all the teams were solid and focused throughout the hackathon.
The Awards Ceremony on 20 June was opened by Zuzana Dutkova, Unit Industrial Forum, Alliances, Clusters, DG GROW, stating the following:
“COSME project Data4Healthy Recovery hackathon provided a unique opportunity to European start-ups, SMEs, industries, universities, and other stakeholders to develop innovative ideas to address challenges relevant for European recovery and resilience. It was yet another opportunity to co-create solutions and contribute to the twin (green and digital) transition of the EU economy.”
🏆 TOP 5 winners
1st place - NoStressTrial - a platform for planning, running, and reporting on clinical trials. It is specifically designed for small biotech and pharmaceutical companies that often lack the financial and human resources needed to bring new innovative products to market.
2nd place - Migrevention - interdisciplinary headache treatment solution consisting of digital headache diary and evidence-based remotely monitored migraine treatment with headache specialist team diagnostic support.
3rd place - Mental Pin - is a gadget for tackling destructive compulsive acts and bringing one's body out of the state of anxiety (using an interoceptive awareness method - the user being in tune with the inner changes).
4th place - Cell-Culture Simulator - a web-based cell-culture simulator that uses past cell-culture datasets to predict future ones.
5th place - Synthetic genetic data generation and analysis software platform - a synthetic data generator to generate synthetic gene sequence data sets using machine and deep learning models.
The overall winner NoStressTrial was also selected as the winner of the category - Medical products development and manufacturing streamlining. The team had previous experiences with hackathons, but this intense weekend brought them the first-ever winning title. Overwhelmed by the success, Paula Petcu from the winning team commented:
“Participating in the hackathon is a great way to quickly stress test an idea and to develop new skills. Being challenged to deliver not only a sales pitch but a working prototype, as well as gathering feedback from mentors and potential future customers, is a great boost. We now have a more refined idea, something to show, and planned meetings with potential customers”.
🏆 Each challenge had also the CATEGORY winners who were the following:
Safe workplace of the future - team Demosat
Safe use of medical data - team Health Pass
Real-time health monitoring and remote care - team SIA - Social Intelligent Assistant
Public space safety for customers - team UV-C Sanitization Pendant
Personalised predictive medicine - team Healthcard
Medical products development and manufacturing streamlining - team NoStressTrial
Data extraction and centralisation for better decision making - team MyVitale Data & AI PaaS
Well-being in the remote work era - team Dobe systemic
Smart mental health solutions for employees - team Mental Pin
Category winners Mental Pin and MyVitale Data & AI PaaS highlighted the benefits of the hackathon to get to validate your idea by specialists, to get learnings about possible business directions and strategy, to receive advice for creating a timeframe and an action plan, to create a valuable network and to kickstart your project.
🏆 12 teams that got a straight pass to the acceleration programme were the following:
An intensive 3-month long acceleration programme will be full of interesting workshops, one-on-one coaching sessions with industry experts and technical mentors and a unique chance to develop the initial prototypes into a working product or service.
We will be impatiently waiting till September to inform you about the results and present the outcomes of the acceleration programme. And who knows, perhaps we will be seeing new unicorns rising from the hackathon?
#data4EUrecovery hackathon turned out to be so much more than “just a hackathon”. And it is only the beginning of the journey.
We would like to thank everyone who joined and got involved, all the mentors, challenge and community partners who helped to make it happen.
We will build the future of healthcare in Europe together!
You have a chance to relive the events:
The project was undertaken on behalf of the European Commission, Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs and the Executive Agency for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (EISMEA) by Civitta and Garage48.