University of Edinburgh students to take part in ‘hackathon’ to tackle Covid-19

Students from the University of Edinburgh are to help develop computer-based solutions to address Covid-19 in a ten-day “hackathon” next month as part of a tie-up by eight of Europe’s leading research-intensive universities.

Edinburgh is one of eight of Europe’s leading research-intensive universities taking part. Picture: Jane Barlow.

The UNA.TEN (Transform Emergency Now! 10 Days for Change) project involves more than 100 students, working in small teams, to find answers to challenges linked to traveller safety, minimising food waste, ensuring privacy in a digital world, and rethinking entertainment and culture in societies where Covid-19 means restrictions on normal human interaction.

The teams at Edinburgh will work with local partners The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Festivals Edinburgh, and PosiFest. The university’s own art gallery, the Talbot Rice, will help rethink how entertainment and culture will need to adapt in a world grappling with Covid-19.

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The initiative will use an open-innovation design process, with teams of five masters students and early-career professionals collaborating. While their primary focus will be local, the students will interact with European colleagues through virtual idea boards to share and understand global perspectives.

The hackathon will conclude on 8 May, the day before Europe Day.

Arno Verhoeven of the University of Edinburgh said: “The Covid crisis presents each of us with new challenges. This UNA Europa event will allow our students to showcase their creative abilities and find design solutions by working with our European partners.

“The problems being addressed by our teams are already having significant impact on the local community here in Edinburgh. We hope that together, we can find innovative ways to adapt to what is the new normal.”

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