Three days of work, five thematic tracks, 15 interdisciplinary teams, as well as coaches and experts. It is for the first time that the Fahrenheit Universities organised a hackathon that not only fostered entrepreneurship and the development of ideas within the thematic tracks, but also intercollegiate collaboration and synergy.
All the members of the Fahrenheit Universities’ community including research workers, teachers and administration staff, as well as Ph.D. and undergraduate students, were able to take part in the competition.
– We come together in the spirit of competition, but such that, on the one hand, improves competence and fosters development, but also enables stronger cooperation and closer ties between the communities of our three universities. This is one of the main objectives of the Fahrenheit Universities – emphasizes prof. Adriana Zaleska-Medynska, Director of the Fahrenheit Universities in Gdańsk.
– It is a unique opportunity, with the representatives of the Gdańsk University of Technology, Medical University of Gdańsk and University of Gdańsk sitting at the same table, with different perspectives, giving a totally different context to engineering projects from the social side of the approach to solving global problems – says Marita McPhillips, Ph.D. Eng., from the Department of Entrepreneurship, Faculty of Management and Economics of the Gdańsk Tech, mentor of the first edition of the FarU Hackathon.
Academics from the three universities were able to become involved in a variety of ways: to compete, join a group of experts, and, while still at the preparation stage, to express their opinion and contribute to the content of the event owing to a survey conducted prior to enrolment.
The results of the survey contributed to the selection of five thematic tracks: FarU and Pomerania Cooperation Ecosystem, Civilisation Changes, Energy and Sustainable Development, Food Safety and Quality, and the FarU for the Sea. Participants were tasked with proposing a solution to a specific problem or issue, and the submitted projects had business or social potential or supported effective collaboration within FarU.
The work kicked off on Friday, 17 November. It was inaugurated by Prof. Krzysztof Wilde, Rector of the Gdańsk University of Technology, host of the event. The first day also included a team-building outing, which was most advantageous to the teams made up on the basis of specific applications.
On Saturday, participants gathered from as early as 8 am and worked until late evening, with an agenda that included open forum exercises, team work time, and consultations with experts and mentors. This was a group of academics as well as both local and business practitioners, offering support in developing an idea, in selecting methods or tools and in preparing the final presentation to the jury.
– We could ask questions to a lady who works with business models on a daily basis, including how we can better prepare a portfolio for what we want to do and fix prices, and also talk to an expert from the ports of Gdynia, who could explain the subtleties of the offshore industry – says one of the participants, Jakub Gnyp, representing the University of Gdańsk.
– I think the hackathon is a good idea for all those who would like to experience new impressions and broaden their horizons to include a business aspect – says Janina Kowalik, a participant representing the Medical University of Gdańsk – This is a large amount of knowledge that is hard to acquire as part of the compulsory course of study.
Such a model of activities provided the participants not only with the benefits of contacts made during the event and the ability to run a project in an interdisciplinary team, but also the verification of accepted hypotheses and the broadening of business knowledge.
– We met to help student groups, academic staff and experts in sciences to develop solutions that can either turn into a traditional or startup business, or to develop projects that can contribute to the development of an alliance between the three universities that jointly make up the Fahrenheit Universities – explains Michał Misztal, CEO of Startup Academy, a company supporting the FarU in organising the event.
The culmination of the intensive work was the Demo Day, i.e. the presentation of the concepts to have been developed. Each team had three minutes to present their results in front of the jury and then answer searching questions from its members. The jury consisted of Prof. Adriana Zaleska-Medynska (Director of the Fahrenheit Universities in Gdańsk, Prof. Małgorzata Grembecka (Head of the Department and Institute of Bromatology, Medical University of Gdańsk), Prof. Jacek Barański (Professor at the Institute of Energy, Gdańsk University of Technology), Prof. Ewa Szymczak (Director of the Centre for Didactic Improvement and Tutoring at the University of Gdańsk), Wojciech Drewczyński (co-founder and CEO of the Space3ac international accelerator), and Michał Misztal.
The awards were presented by Professor Marcin Gruchała, Chairman of the Assembly of the Fahrenheit Universities in Gdańsk and Rector of the Medical University of Gdańsk, Prof. Mariusz Kaczmarek, Vice-Rector for Education of the Gdańsk University of Technology, and Prof. Arnold Kłonczyński, Vice-Rector for Students’ Affairs and Education Quality of the University of Gdańsk.
Podium of the FarU Hackathon
The first place was taken by the “SEA MATH” project submitted by the physicists and mathematicians of the University of Gdańsk. Laura Grzonka, Jakub Gnyp, Dagmara Kurkowska, Marcin Marciniak and Małgorzata Szczekocka developed mathematical models to optimise the design and construction of offshore wind farms.
In the second place was the “Green Large Panel” project by Amelia Dolińska (UG), Paulina Duch-Żebrowska (Gdańsk Tech), Jakub Jabłoński, Kornelia Wilk and Krzysztof Ziółkowski from the UG. The initiative involves the creation of a competence hub supporting the modernisation of large panel blocks of flats with increased energy and thermal efficiency of the buildings.
The third place was awarded to the authors of the “DepressionControlApp” project: Szymon Bierzanowski (Gdańsk Tech), Adrianna Czerwińska (Gdańsk Tech), Krzysztof Pietruczuk (MUG) and Wojciech Rusinek (UG). The app would provide comprehensive support to people struggling with depression and comprising biometric data analysis, the option to make the therapy individual and quick contact with the help centre.
Also competing for the podium were:
The teams that proposed solutions to support the ecosystem of cooperation within the Fahrenheit Universities will be invited to an additional meeting on the options to implement the selected activities at the FarU.
Special thanks to the organisers for the expert and mentor groups available over the weekend and supporting the participants' work on an ongoing basis, as well as to the Gdańsk Tech Business Club PKB+ for support of networking activities, to the Spark*Gdańsk offering consultation during conceptual work and to the Gdańsk Tech Innovation Science Club, owing to which the chill-out zone was created.
The following volunteered as experts on behalf of the universities: Agata Leśnicka from the MUG Department of Developmental Psychiatry, Psychotic Disorders and Old Age and Anna Supernat, Ph.D., leader of the EIT HEI innovAId project, Department of Translational Oncology of the UG and MUG Intercollegiate Faculty Biotechnology; of the Gdańsk University of Technology: Alina Guzik, Chief Specialist for Innovation and Development, Faculty of Management and Economics, Prof. Marek Wysocki, Gdańsk Tech, Rector’s Representative for Accessibility; Paweł Filipkowski, Ph.D. Eng., Department of Chemistry, Technology and Biotechnology of Food, the tutor of science clubs collaborating within the FarU, Anna Kuczyńska-Łażewska, Ph.D. Eng., Department of Energy Conversion and Storage, Faculty of Chemistry; Adam Inglot, Ph.D. Eng., Department of Geodesy, Faculty of Electrical and Control Engineering; Sebastian Cygert Ph.D. Eng., Department of Multimedia Systems, Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics; Marita McPhillips, Ph.D. Eng., Faculty of Management and Economics, Prof. Marcin Łuczak, Director of the Offshore Wind Energy Center, Institute of Naval Architecture, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Ship Technology, as well as Prof. Dorota Kamrowska-Zaluska, Department of Town and Regional Planning, Faculty of Architecture. From the University of Gdańsk: Prof. Sylwia Mrozowska, Vice-Rector for Cooperation and Development, Sylwia Badowska, Ph.D. Eng., Department of Marketing, Faculty of Management, and Prof. Dorota Burska, Department of Chemical Cartography and Marine Chemistry, Faculty of Oceanography and Geography.
Among the experts were also the following: Wojciech Drewczyński, co-founder and CEO of the Space3ac international accelerator, professionally linked to the Investment Division in the Black Pearls VC fund; Michał Daczuk, Project Manager, Port of Gdynia; Justyna Ratajczak, Managing Director of TBC Investment; Michał Gajda, project specialist at the Development Project Centre of the Warsaw University of Technology and Bogna Lesner, patent attorney, expert in support of innovation and entrepreneurship involved in innovation policy implementation in the Pomerania Region.
The conference strives to create new perspectives and develop partnerships, especially in the Baltic Sea region.
For the first time, applications were accepted in two categories and the number of winners has increased. Prizes were awarded to as many as six teams!
Hackathon FarU not only fostered entrepreneurship and the development of ideas within the thematic tracks, but also intercollegiate collaboration and synergy.
Our universities will support the young people's education in secondary schools run by the Wejherowo County.