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Hackathons

What is it?

In response to the emerging CoVID-19 situation, the MedTech Foundation saw an opportunity to help, by organising a virtual Hackathon to generate solutions to a wide range of CoVID-associated needs. A total of 15 questions were formed following submissions from clinicians and members of the public, covering 5 themes: community, education/training, mental health, public health, and hospital. 123 participants from diverse backgrounds were sorted into 18 teams based on their expertise and preferences. Experts from healthcare, engineering, and computer science were on hand throughout the weekend event to advise teams on their ideas. Following the combining of some teams working on similar projects, 12 unique solution concepts were submitted at the end of the event. After submissions, each team was assigned a mentor from the MTF team who connected them to industry or research partners where necessary, gave them coaching on idea and strategy, and helped compiled grant applications or business pitches where appropriate. 3 teams have linked with companies working in a similar area to explore how their ideas may be integrated into existing solutions; 3 teams have created beta versions of their digital solutions. One team, medwise.ai, was supported in their successful application for a large Innovate UK grant, and now provides an AI-curated platform to provide clinicians with evidence-based responses to their CoVID-related questions.

Since that first Hackathon event, we have been in demand for organising and mentoring at similar events. Some of these have been educational and formed part of conferences (for example a short Hackathon we ran at the Global Anaesthesia, Surgery and Obstetric Collaboration Conference in the Summer), and some have been focused on developing real solutions (for example a Hackathon run by Imperial College in June, at which we provided hands-on mentoring and detailed advice following final submissions). Please contact operations@medtechfoundation.org if you would like to hear more about how we can support your event.