18 May 2020 Sustainable Development News

First technology e-marathon

CityHack will take place entirely online on 30 and 31 May in order to comply with the public health rules imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

© DR

Through its Hack for Good initiative, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation continues to support a network of hackathons in Portugal that has incorporated solving social problems into the challenges posed to its participants.

This is the second year that the Foundation supports CityHack, a 24-hour technology development marathon focused on solutions to help improve quality of life in cities. The initiative is promoted by the Polytechnic Institute of Tomar, which this year accepted the challenge from the Foundation to join forces with other polytechnic institutes to broaden the impact of the initiative. A partnership was thus forged with the polytechnic institutes of Castelo Branco, Guarda and Portalegre, taking the initiative to the interior of the country and reaching a much greater number of students.

The pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus has, however, transformed the event into a fully online marathon, and people can now participate by using a computer from anywhere in the country. “City Hack was always going to be innovative in 2020 given the plan to run a hackathon simultaneously in four different cities, from the various partner polytechnic institutes. It is just more so now, as it will be taking place in a fully online format that will certainly be an example to everyone,” explains Luís Jerónimo, Director of the Gulbenkian Sustainable Development Programme and coordinator of the Hack for Good initiative.

Luís Jerónimo also states that, in the fight against the current crisis, “the role of technology has been key, revolutionising the way we study, work and engage with one another. We believe that technology can also play a decisive role in solving the different problems that are now reaching new and worrying proportions, such as unemployment or mental health issues. Hackathons light the way, demonstrating, in a short space of time, the potential of new technologies for achieving sustainable development goals.”

CityHack aims at offering participants the necessary conditions to transform their ideas into concrete and viable solutions, which include access to a network of mentors from different areas of expertise – managers, engineers, teachers, marketers and third sector professionals. To participate, simply put together a team of 3 to 5 members, preferably higher education students from technological areas. The teams with the most impressive skills will receive prizes of up to EUR 2,000.

Hack for Good Gulbenkian was created in 2016 to promote the role of technologies in addressing social and environmental challenges and has since evolved from a single annual event (between 2016 and 2018) to supporting and promoting a national network of hackathons that incorporate social and environmental concerns into their challenges (since 2019).

 

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