30/03/2020

Hack from Home event brings together global health technology leadership to develop COVID-19 pandemic solutions

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Dataswift has launched Hack from Home, a global virtual hackathon to find technology solutions to fight the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate against its economic and societal impact.

The event will be organised by HAT-LAB and held remotely on Saturday 4th April and Sunday 5th April in partnership with NHSX and a consortium of major international partners: Case Western Reserve University’s xLAB, the Cleveland Clinic’s Hwang Lab, WMG University of Warwick, University of Surrey, University of Exeter, the Ethical Tech Alliance, Samsung Medical Center, AITRICS, and the Yonsei Severance Medical Center, one of Korea’s most prominent healthcare centers covering the disease.

This UK-launched initiative joins the global movement of hackathons taking place around the world.

Teams of technologists, creatives, activists and experts will be launching up to 25 new applications over the weekend, as they work to help solve some of the greatest challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The innovative projects will center around three themes:

  • Citizen science – solutions to empower individuals to help healthcare and the government tackle the disease faster
  • Community health – technology or applications that help the vulnerable or ensure communities have the resources to make it through the crisis
  • Mass coordination – solutions that unlock the power of personal data to help mobilisation and coordination of resources

Mentoring, resources, and support from experienced technology and product leaders will guide each project as they compete to make the biggest impact on the virus and its effects on society. Viable solutions will be offered funding and professional developer support, and the entrepreneurs leading them will be encouraged to continue development and bring the solutions they have created to market to help communities, patients, and healthcare services.

“We’re giving people a chance to respond with action, by working together to improve the lives of everyone affected by COVID-19,” said Professor Irene Ng, CEO of Dataswift and main sponsor of the Hack from Home initiative. “Our goal is to band together to help communities, patients, and their families using what we know best – technology. We need to ensure that in these difficult times opportunistic app makers aren’t hoovering up our data, and to avoid a scenario where the world ends up worse than it was before. This collective action will prove that the ethical data economy can trump the surveillance economy.”

Hack from Home are actively looking for participants, mentors, and sponsors. Anyone interested in getting involved or who wants to make a difference is warmly invited to register online or get in touch. “Let’s roll up our proverbial sleeves with the research, technology, and business communities and demonstrate how much public value we can create when we’re working together,” says Prof. Ng.

Youngjin Yoo, Professor of Design & Innovation at Case Western Reserve University and Faculty Director of xLab has highlighted that “the fight against the pandemic is not just a medical problem – it is a behavioural problem, and a social problem. Our economy, our social lives, and our community are all affected by the pandemic. A multi-disciplinary, multi industry approach to this struggle is required. And the market failure of the ethical use of personal data is one of the challenges. The Covid19 pandemic is demonstrating in real time why the society desperately needs a scalable ethical technology infrastructure. This hackathon will bring bright minds together to address this complex and rapidly evolving problem.”

There is no limit on the number of people who can join the hackathon – participants can sign up here.

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